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Dale Center for the Study of War and Society

Current War & Society Graduate Students

 

 James Berry

James M. Berry

(Ph.D., U.S. History)  MA in Military History, Norwich University, 2016; MEd in Education, Anderson University, 2011; BA in History, Pensacola Christian College, 2008.
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James is a PhD student focusing on US Army history, specifically Army logistics between the Spanish American War and the First World War. He is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.  James' previous graduate research focused on the military history of South Carolina. His MA thesis was entitled “The Surrender of Charleston in 1780” and examined the American defense during the siege of Charleston and effect of the surrender on the outcome of the American War for Independence. He is a native of South Carolina and an active duty U.S. Army logistics officer with previous assignments in Fort Stewart, Fort Lee, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq.  James has traveled extensively through Europe and speaks French proficiently. Following his graduate coursework at USM, James is currently serving as an academic instructor in the History Department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Prior to joining the U.S. Army, James was a high school history and geography teacher.

Christopher Bishop

Christopher Bishop

(MA, War and Society) BA, History and Religion, Huntingdon College, 2021.
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Christopher is a native of Fairhope, Alabama and a combat engineer in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve. He graduated cum laude from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama where he earned a Bachelor's degree in history and religion. His senior capstone project focused on the School of Salamanca during the late middle ages and its contributions to the American conception of socio-economic liberty in the modern world. He is currently researching the German experience on the eastern front during World War II.

Emily Cloys

Emily Cloys

(MA, War and Society) BA, History, Mississippi College, 2020.
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Emily graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi College in the fall of 2020 with a BA in History and a double minor in English Literature and Psychology. She received the Edward L. McMillan Award for Excellence in History, awarded to an outstanding senior in the field. As an undergraduate, Emily completed a thesis exploring how the concept of national prestige helped catalyze the outbreak of World War I. She intends to further her study of World War I at USM, with particular emphasis on the nexus between ideology and action.  Emily is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.

Oscar Coles

Oscar J. Coles

(PhD, US History) MSc American History, University of Edinburgh (UK), 2018 ; BA Hons, Contemporary Military and International History, University of Salford (UK), 2015. 
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Oscar is an international student from the United Kingdom. His research interests span numerous themes of 20th century military history. His previous research focused on military psychiatry and the psychological experience of combat during the Second World War. His other research interests include the Vietnam War, conflicts in East Asia and contemporary U.S. military culture.  He is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.  Oscar has a fascination with travel and recently spent two years in China teaching English.

Bearington Curtis

Bearington Curtis

(PhD, US History) MA, History, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, 2020; BA, History, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, 2013.
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Bear is a PhD student whose primary interest in history is the U.S. Army, with a focus on how the Army has historically prepared for future conflicts. His MA thesis, "A Sisyphean Task: Reevaluating Reconstruction in Texas," examined the U.S. Army's role in Texas during Reconstruction. Bearington is currently interested in the development and changes made to the National Guard and Army Reserve in the period between the World Wars.  He is working under the direction of Drs. Kevin Greene and Andrew Wiest. 

Daniel Driss

Daniel Driss

(Ph.D., U.S. History) MS, Organizational Leadership, Columbus State University, 2019; BA in History, Northern Arizona University, 2012.
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Daniel is a PhD student focusing on US Army history, specifically army cavalry and armor formations. His previous graduate research focused on the practical application of Servant Leadership while serving as a Commanding Officer in a Combat Arms formation. He is a native of Arizona and an active-duty U.S. Army armor officer with previous assignments at Fort Stewart, Fort Riley, Fort Benning, Fort Irwin, the Republic of Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Daniel served as an enlisted infantryman for ten years, including three combat tours; while serving he pursued his undergraduate degree and was admitted to Officer Candidate School, where he was commissioned as an armor officer and subsequently assigned to a series of tank units. Following his graduate coursework at USM, Daniel will serve as an academic instructor in the History Department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


Nicholas Garrett graduate photo

Nicholas Garrett

(MA, War and Society) BA, History, Arkansas Tech University, 2021.                                  Email 

Nicholas was born in Wyoming, Minnesota, but spent most of my life in Judsonia, Arkansas. He graduated summa cum laude from Arkansas Tech University in 2021 with a BA in History and a minor in German. His senior research project compared the experiences of British and Commonwealth medical personnel and soldiers on the Salonica Front of World War I. Nicholas’ primary interest is World War I, but he also enjoys studying World War II, the Napoleonic Wars, and the American Civil War.

 Hayley Hasik

Hayley Michael Hasik

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, Public History, Stephen F. Austin State University, 2017; BS, History and English with a minor in Astronomy, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2014.
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Hayley is a PhD candidate at USM whose interests include 20th century U.S. history with an emphasis on war and memory, the Vietnam War, veterans' experiences, and cultural history. Hayley’s current research focuses on examining the legacy of the “Helicopter War” in Vietnam. Her project seeks to uncover how and why helicopters became such an integral part of Vietnam War history and memory. Hayley has extensive oral history experience and co-founded the East Texas War and Memory Project in 2012. Her previous scholarly research focused on the American POW experience during WWII and the Vietnam helicopter experience using the life history of a Warrant Officer as a case study.

Hayley has presented at numerous academic conferences and has published several articles in the Sound Historian and War, Literature, and the Arts. Hayley is also a recipient of the 2019 Russell Weigley Travel Grant from the Society for Military History. She was the Dale Center Graduate Fellow for 2020-2022.  Hayley is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur.

Sarah Hogue

Sarah Anne Hogue

(PhD, U.S. History)  MA in U.S. History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2021. BA in History, BA in English Writing, minor in Public History, summa cum laude with honors, Mississippi College, 2019.                            Email

Sarah is a first-year PhD student at USM. Her interests are on 17th- and 18th-century colonial American history with a specific focus on gender. Her research examines how and to what extent the legal doctrine of coverture—a legal classification that severely limited married women’s legal rights to own property—functioned in the colonial period in New England. She is working under the direction of Dr. Kyle Zelner to expand on the research in her Master’s thesis, “Women Under Colonial Coverture: Divorce, Property Rights, and Inheritance in Early Massachusetts, 1630-1690.” Specifically, Sarah wants to examine the effect that various colonial wars had on coverture, women’s property rights, and the availability of divorce. In 2020, Sarah won an American History Education Award from the Mississippi Chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America for her work on colonial American history. 

Joseph Jarrell

Joseph Jarrell

(MA, War and Society) BA, History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2021.
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Joseph graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in Spring of 2021 with a BA in History. His senior research project examined emerging ideas of southern nationalism during the Civil War. Joseph's current research interests lie in the medieval period where he plans to explore the relationship between a medieval king's popularity, personality, and effectiveness in war, particularly centered around Henry II of England. After graduate school, Joseph would like to work in a museum or researching position.

 Brennan Kuehl

Brennan Kuehl

(MA, War and Society) BA History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2016.
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Brennan graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2017 with a BA in history and a minor in English. He was awarded the John E. Wallace award for outstanding history major for the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus in 2017. He is interested in the differential treatment of  European and Japanese POWs held in the United States during World War II. He is working under the direction of Dr. Douglas Bristol.

Justin Major

Justin Major

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, U.S. History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2020; BA, History and Film and Media Arts, magna cum laude, Louisiana State University, 2017.
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At LSU, Justin won the McCormick Prize for the best undergraduate paper in military history at the 2018 Missouri Valley History Conference. His research focuses on the Vietnam War, particularly the history of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in the early 1960s. For his MA at USM, he examined the effectiveness of ARVN combat operations from 1962-1963, arguing that ARVN was more successful than previously believed. For his PhD, he will continue his research into ARVN under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.

 Lindsey Peterson

Lindsey R. Peterson

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, The University of South Dakota, 2015; BA, History and Political Science, Buena Vista University, 2013.
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Lindsey R. Peterson is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Dr. Susannah J. Ural in the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at Southern Miss. Her dissertation project examines how Unionists remembered and celebrated the American Civil War west of the Mississippi River. In their Civil War commemorations, she argues, western veterans and their families celebrated white expansion and supremacy and constructed a narrative of the Civil War that bolstered Anglo-American hegemony in the West.

She currently serves as the Senior Editor of the Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project and on the Graduate Student Connection Committee for the Society of Civil War Historians. She also teaches the U.S. History sequence and upper-level history courses as an instructor at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. To learn more visit lindseyraepeterson.com.

 Ted Racicot

Ted Racicot

(PhD, European History) MA, History, Worcester State, 2019; BA, History, Worcester State, 2017.
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Ted grew up in a military family and, despite moving around most of his childhood, he considers Monument, Colorado to be his hometown. He attended Worcester State University, where he earned both his BA and MA in History.  He is interested in the intersections between popular culture and warfare. For his master’s thesis, he explored popular songs produced in Great Britain during World War I and how they fit into Britain's larger propaganda apparatus.  As a doctoral student at USM, he plans to continue with this topic, looking beyond the songs themselves and focusing on British music halls as a location where British citizens of all backgrounds could hear about the war and understand their place within the war effort.

Jerra Runnels

Jerra Boatner Runnels

(MA, War and Society) MS, Criminal Justice, University of Southern Mississippi, 1997; BA, Criminal Justice, minor in Political Science, University of Southern Mississippi, 1995.
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Jerra, a native of Collinsville, Mississippi, recently retired from the State of Mississippi after a career as a court administrator for the 12th Circuit Court in Hattiesburg. Jerra is pursuing her MA in War and Society with an interest in race, sexuality, gender, and women’s issues during wartime, under the direction of Dr. Rebecca Tuuri.  Jerra research focuses on the role of Black women in Hattiesburg during the remobilization of Camp Shelby in World War II.  Jerra serves on the Board of Directors for the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter and volunteers with the Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention. Jerra is married to James Runnels, and they have four children and one grandson.

Travis Salley Military Photo

Travis Salley

(PhD, U.S. History) MM in Music History, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2015; BA in Music (in cursu honorum), University of Nevada-Reno, 2013).                                     Email

Travis is a PhD student focusing on US military cultural history, specifically regarding US military marching cadences and their impact on military culture through a racial and gendered lens. He is studying under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur. 

Travis is a classical pianist and musicologist. His master’s thesis, “Sound Off! An Introduction of the Study of American Military Marching Cadences,” was featured in the NPR radio show "A Way with Words" and has been referenced in an article from the U.S. Embassy Japan official magazine. He has also presented a paper at the American Musicological Conference. 

Travis is active-duty Army Signal officer, with past assignments in Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, Korea, Fort Stewart, Fort Jackson, and Fort Huachuca. Upon finishing his coursework, he will be assigned as History Instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

 Brian Valimont

Brian Valimont

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, Salem State University, 2018; MA, Anthropology, The University of Alabama, 2002; BA, Anthropology, West Georgia University, 1997; Certificate in Law Enforcement, Northern Essex Community College, 2013.
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Brian was an active field archaeologist for over two decades. His specialization is the archaeology of North America, especially that in the southeast, northeast and central plains states. His work included surveying to locate and conducting archaeological excavations, analyzing artifacts, and writing reports of investigations. Areas of special interest include Native American coastal adaptation, as well as 19th Century New England farmsteads. For four and a half years, Brian taught introductory anthropology and archaeology at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He also worked for three seasons as a Park Ranger in both Minute Man National Historic Park and Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Brian is intrigued by the historical interrelationship between war and home fronts. He is presently focusing on a series of riots that occurred in the Union as a result of the military draft during the U.S. Civil War, under the direction of Dr. Susannah Ural.

 Daniel Ward

Daniel Ward

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, SUNY University, 2019; BA, History and Political Science, SUNY Fredonia, 2015.
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Daniel is a PhD student from Buffalo, New York. His area of study is war and society in the 20th Century United States. As an MA student at the University at Buffalo, his master’s thesis, “Armed Services Unification on Trial: The 1949 National Defense Program Hearings and the Development of Cold War Defense Policy,” analyzed civilian-military relations in the Truman administration and the development of the modern national security state.

Daniel's current research examines marriages between American GIs and Vietnamese women throughout the Vietnam War. His project concentrates on the development and implementation of marital policy in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Daniel has presented research at many academic conferences. Most recently, he organized the panel, “Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth Century American War and Society,” for the 2022 Society for Military History Conference. Daniel is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur and he is the 2022-2023 Pat and Jean Welsh Dale Center Graduate Fellow.

 Brian Washam

Brian Washam

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2022; BA, History, University of Oklahoma, 2019.
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Brian is from Vinita, Oklahoma and studied for his BA in History at the University of Oklahoma. There, Brian’s research focused on war, memory, and modern Europe. Brian’s senior capstone project was on the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and focused on how the occupation of post-World War One Turkey by the Greeks and the Entente powers led to the creation of the modern nation of Turkey. As an undergraduate, Brian worked at the Oklahoma Historical Society as an intern in the manuscripts department, and was also the recipient of the 2019 Stephanie Dahlem-Pounds Award for outstanding History major at the University of Oklahoma.

Brian is working with Dr. Andrew Wiest on a thesis examining the motivations for Vietnam veterans returning to Vietnam as tourists. Brian’s research interests are the Vietnam War, war memory, and Vietnam battlefield tourism.

Sarah West Grad Photo

Sarah West

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, California State University, San Bernardino, 2022; BA, History, University of Riverside, 2020.                     Email

Sarah graduated from the University of California, Riverside with her Bachelor of Arts in history in the fall of 2020. During her undergraduate years, Sarah received the James W. Hill Memorial Scholarship, the Cecil E. Stadler Memorial Scholarship, and the Thomas M. Johnson Scholarship. She participated in numerous research conferences where she presented on various topics including the distribution of anti-abolitionist tracts in the decades preceding the Civil War.  Sarah earned her MA in the summer of 2022. Her MA thesis, “The ‘Honorable’ Woman: Gender, Honor, and Privilege in the Civil War South,” examines the concept of Southern honor and its application to women during the Civil War.

Sarah furthered her research on Civil War-era women in the South during an  internship with the University of Southern Mississippi's Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project (CWRGM), where she digitized, transcribed, and annotated documents from Mississippi’s governors’ offices. Sarah is excited to work under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural with whom she hopes to further explore gender and class in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Jimmy Witkoski

Jimmy Witkoski

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, Rowan University, 2022; Certificate of Graduate Studies in Holocaust and Genocide Education, 2022; BA, History, Rowan University, 2017. Email

Jimmy is a PhD student from Marlton, NJ. He attended Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ where he earned both his BA and MA in History, as well as a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Holocaust and Genocide Education. Most of his research has focused on Polish-Jewish relations during World War II under Nazi rule.

As a doctoral student, Jimmy plans to research  the disconnect in the chain of command in the US Army from a bottom-up perspective during the Vietnam War, and how after-action reports and other intelligence was altered as it went up the chain of command (preferably from the company level upwards). Based on this flawed intelligence as it went up the chain of command, Jimmy will research to see if divisional and other military commanders were hindered in their ability to adequately plan and respond to what was happening in the field at the tactical level. Jimmy is studying under the direction of Drs. Heather Stur and Andrew Wiest.

 

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