Biographies of Current Graduate Students

Masters Students

Tracy L. Barnett (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2014 Millersville University of Pennsylvania.  A native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Tracy Barnett is currently a MA student at the University of Southern Mississippi.  She is studying the Civil War Era under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural.  Her current research project examines state troops and militias in the Deep South during the American Civil War.  More specifically, she seeks to explore the interaction between state forces, political leaders, and Confederate commanders.  She was the 2015 recipient of the Colonel W. Wayde Benson Fellowship from the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society and the Thomas S. Morgan Memorial Scholarship from the national chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.

Robert Farrell (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2011 Spring Hill College. Robert is a native of Mobile, AL. His undergraduate thesis focused on President Lyndon Johnson’s response to the Civil Rights movement, and his influence on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Currently, he is studying antebellum politics under the supervision of Dr. Susannah J. Ural.  His current research project focuses on nativists and the Know-Nothing Party in Alabama and South Carolina during the 1850s.

Lisa Foster (MA, War & Society) BA, History, summa cum laude, Honors College, 2008 University of Southern Mississippi. Lisa is a native Mississippian and her interests lie in Mississippi and Civil War history. Her Senior Thesis focused on the Jefferson Davis Beauvoir Soldiers’ Home.  She also has over ten years museum experience at both Beauvoir – The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library (post-Katrina) and the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby.  Working under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, Lisa is continuing her exploration of the Civil War Era. 

Dawn Klos (MA, History and Anthropology) BA, History, 2015 University of New Orleans.  Dawn Klos is a native of Waveland, Mississippi. She is a Dual Master’s student in History and Anthropology, studying under the direction of Dr. Lee Follett. She received a BA in History from the University of New Orleans in 2015. Her research interests include the Celtic British Isles and the Irish Civil War. She is primarily interested in the role of religious specialists in Celtic Ireland. Dawn represented Valencia College on an Honors Study Abroad to Paris in 2013. She will be returning to Ireland in 2016 to take part in the Centenary Celebration of the Easter Rising. 

Richard Lovering (MA, War and Society) BA, Latin American Studies, 2007 Ohio State University.  Richard comes from Columbus, Ohio and is a military student from the U.S. Army.  He is interested in examining the role of U.S. and Australian military advisors to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, particularly during the Vietnamization period. He is working under Dr. Andrew A. Wiest.

Guido Rossi (MA, War & Society) Laurea, History, University of Milan (Italy). Guido is an international student from Milan, Italy. His undergraduate thesis was an overall strategical and battle analysis of the conduct of the Italian campaign in World War II by the Allies, from the landings in Sicily until the conquest of Rome. Guido is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.  He is currently interested in the history and development of the U.S. Army and U.S. Armed Forces in World War I and World War II.

Nicholas Schaefer (MA, Modern European History) BA, History, 2015 Spring Hill College. Nick is a native of Slidell, Louisiana and is currently studying under the direction of Dr. Allison Abra. Nick’s research interests include early twentieth century Europe and the World Wars. He plans to look at the First World War and the interwar period as the source of unresolved problems whose aftermath resulted in the Second World War. His broader interests include life in Britain, France, and Germany from the late nineteenth century through the end of the era of the World Wars and War and Society issues. 

Emily Smith (MLIS and MA, American History) BA, cum laude, 2015 Mississippi State University.  Emily is a native of Grenada, MS.  Currently, she is working on her dual master’s in History and Library Science with a Graduate Certificate in Archives.  Her primary research interest is the Civil Rights movement and the Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982.  She plans to focus on race relations during the 1980s, and examine how the Act changed racial dynamics during the 1980s. She is working under the direction of Dr. Rebecca A. Turri. 


PhD Students

Hunter Boyd (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History 2010 Southeastern Louisiana University; BA, History, 2008 Southeastern Louisiana University. Studying under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, Hunter is focusing on American War and Society issues in the nineteenth century. Hunter’s interests include how party politics, demographic diversity, and underlying social/class tensions in Southern society contributed to both sectionalism and fierce inter-regional conflict during the Civil War Era. A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Hunter currently resides in Hammond.

Allan Branstiter (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2012 The University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, 2010 Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Allan is a third year PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi working under the supervision of Dr. Susannah Ural. His research asks how local people negotiated the complexities of postwar life and politics in their attempt to “win the peace” after the Civil War— or how the actions of local people shaped the history of national Reconstruction. In 2014, Allan received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to attend a workshop exploring the use of digital research methods. Since then he has been exploring the use of digital maps, online exhibits, and data analysis in historical research and publication. Such work includes a mapping project he is working with Dr. Ural entitled “The Long Road Home” that traces the routes veterans of Hood’s Texas Brigade took home after their surrender. Future projects include the use of short podcasts and videos as a bridge between public and academic history. Allan is currently in Los Angeles, California, studying for his comprehensive examination and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with his fiancé, Callie (a social work librarian at the University of Southern California). Those who know Allan best also know that he enjoys studying popular performances in America (especially wrestling) as a manifestation of working-class culture and ideology. Allan was a recipient of the 2013 Wayde Benson Fellowship, and a runner-up for the 2015 USM College of Arts and Letters Graduate Student of the Year Award. He is also a veteran of the Iraq War.

Sean Buckelew (PhD, U.S. History 1867-Present) MA, History, 2015 San Diego State University; BA, Theater, University of Southern Mississippi. Sean's research interests include popular culture and sporting culture in late twentieth-century America as well as left-wing theater movements in interwar America. He is studying under the direction of Dr. Andrew P. Haley. Sean is currently working on preliminary research into race and gender dynamics in southern professional wrestling. Sean is also interested in museum design. His previous experience includes participation in the design of the 2014 Sunshine and Superheros exhibition for the Oakland Museum of California.

Kelly Cantrell (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2006 University of Southern Mississippi. Kelly is currently writing her dissertation “Consuming Victory: American Women and the Politics of Food Rationing During World War II,” which is advised by Dr. Andrew Haley. After completing her coursework at Southern Miss, Kelly became a faculty member at East Mississippi Community College. In her tenure there, she has won the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award (2009), been named a William Winter Scholar (2013), and was honored as the Golden Triangle Development Link’s Post-Secondary Educator of the Year (2013). Finally, she is the director of the EMCC Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa sponsor for the campus.

Colin M. Colbourn (PhD, U.S. History) MA, War and Society, 2009 The University of Southern Mississippi; BS, History, 2007 Ball State University. From 2006-2009, Colin interned with the U.S. Marine Corps History Division in Quantico, Virginia, aiding the Chief Historian as well as Reference and Historical branch historians in researching and writing official Marine Corps history. Now ABD, Colin’s dissertation will combine social and institutional history in an analysis of the U.S. Marine Corps’ employment of public relations from the turn of the twentieth century through the Second World War. During his time at Southern Miss, Colin has presented his research at conferences such as the SMH’s Annual Meeting, the Naval History Symposium, and the Meeting of the American Journalism Historians Association. Other conference work included both chairing and organizing the 2009 Regional International Security and Internal Safety Conference, hosted at USM. Colin also had the opportunity to participate in battlefield tours and studies of Italy, Sicily, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Vietnam. He is studying under the direction of Dr Andrew A. Wiest.

Dennis Cowles (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2006 University of New Orleans; BA, French, 2002 University of New Orleans. Research interests center on the intersections of imperial history and social history, specifically during eras of regime change. Other interests include ethnohistory, colonial Latin America, and the Atlantic world. Dennis worked for several years as an adjunct instructor of history in New Orleans and in the Boston area. He also has nearly 20 years' experience working in museums, including running a planetarium and working at the Paul Revere House. Dennis is an amateur astronomer and an avid reader of eighteenth-century English novels. His dissertation project, “The Ministers’ Coup: Communities, Networks, and the Glorious Revolution in Massachusetts,” is directed by Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.

Lynn Cowles (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2012 University of New Orleans; BA History, 2010 East Texas Baptist University. Lynn, a fourth-year PhD student, is the Baird Fellow in Southern History for 2015-2016. Working under the direction of Dr. Pamela Tyler, Lynn is pursuing her degree in the field of US History, with minor fields in Race & Ethnicity, and Gender. Her research interests include women and families of the late 19th and early 20th century, and how they negotiated the shifts in American society that occurred after the Civil War. Her Master’s thesis, titled “‘They was Things Past Tellin’: A Reconsideration of Sexuality and Memory in the Ex-Slave Narratives of the Federal Writers’ Project,” explores the centrality of struggles over enslaved people’s sexuality and reproduction to the experience of enslavement and the long-term effects of these struggles on the attitudes of slavery’s survivors. Her doctoral dissertation explores how African American families taught their children to negotiate the threat of violence in Jim Crow South. Lynn has recently published an article in the Journal of Mississippi History, “Absconded: Enslaved Women, Escape, and Mississippi Runaway Slave Advertisements.”

Michael Doidge (PhD, U.S. History) Michael is currently researching his dissertation “An Army Worth Fighting For: Doctrinal, Strategic, and Bureaucratic Transformation in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1963.” Dr. Andrew Wiest advises his dissertation. The work argues that the Army’s post-World War II relationship to national security policy was the primary driving force behind the sweeping transformations it underwent during the early Cold War. A 2008 fellow at the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History, Michael was also awarded travel grants to the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Presidential Libraries, a George Marshall/Baruch Fellowship from the George Marshall Foundation, The Harry J. Carman Fellowship, and the U.S. Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship. In addition to working on his dissertation, Michael co-edited, with Professor Andrew Wiest, Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War, which examines the current state of Vietnam War historiography. Michael is currently an historian for the U.S. Army’s Combat Studies Institute of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Michael is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.

Jason Engle (PhD, Modern European History) MA, Norwich University. Jason, working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest, is specializing in Modern European History with concentrations in War and Society and Social History. His current research interests include the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War. More specifically Jason is interested in experiences and mentalité of soldiers and field-grade officers over the course of the Great War. He is also interested in the residual effects of Habsburg militarism and the Great War on Austria's First Republic. Jason's dissertation is a microhistory of the Tiroler Heimatwehr, which he uses as a lens into the organizational culture of the broader Heimwehr movement. His project expands the conventional periodization, suggesting that the continuity of Habsburg and Tyrolean militarism informed the Tiroler Heimatwehr to a much greater degree extent than historians have acknowledged. Jason received his master’s degree in Military History from Norwich University (Northfield, Vermont) in 2008 and his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Union College (Barbourville, Kentucky) in 1997 and worked as an application developer for Nationwide Insurance and JPMorgan Chase before deciding to pursue his doctorate. Jason has published numerous encyclopedia articles and book reviews, as well as an article entitled "'This monstrous front will devour us all:' The Austro-Hungarian Soldier Experience in World War I, 1914-1915" in Contemporary Austrian Studies 23. When not reading books, writing, teaching, or grading, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, home improvement projects, making homebrew, and rooting on his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and Seattle Seahawks.

John Fitzmorris (PhD, U.S. History) MA, Religious Studies, University of New Orleans; BA, Political Science and Religious Studies, 1989 Louisiana State University. John is a resident of New Orleans and a doctoral candidate in War and Society. During his M.A. in History from the University of New Orleans, he was awarded the George F. Windell Prize for Outstanding Thesis in History. The father of one daughter, Mr. Fitzmorris was a high school and middle school teacher before returning to finish his doctorate. Under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Wiest, Mr. Fitzmorris has begun work on a dissertation examining combat chaplains in the Vietnam War. He has conducted research at the U.S. Army Chaplains’ Archives at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and made the USM Study Abroad trip to Vietnam in 2009. He wrote three entries in James Willbanks’ America’s Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan. In both 2011 and 2012, Mr. Fitzmorris was named Outstanding Graduate Instructor by the History Department. He currently serves as President and Historian of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in New Orleans, an organization for Irish Catholic men, and is an advisor for the Girl Scouts of America.

Jeremy George (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2006 University of New Orleans; BA, History, 2008 Louisiana State University. Jeremy is a PhD student studying early colonial New England. His MA thesis examined the early Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies and their different policies and beliefs regarding land use. Jeremy’s dissertation will look at the Pequot War and its affect on different New England colonies.

Kevin Grubbs (PhD, U.S. History) BA, History, University of Texas-Arlington; MA, University of Southern Mississippi. Kevin is a second-year PhD student focusing on American History, as well as examining Latin American history as a minor area of concentration.  His dissertation, which is directed by Dr. Max Grivno, explores the relationship between the Gulf South and the Caribbean as promoted by sailors and stevedores on trading ships during the nineteenth century.  His work has appeared in the Journal of Mississippi History.  Other interests include class and power in the American South during the Early Republic.

Shane Hand (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, & MLIS, 2011 University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, 2009 University of Alabama. Shane’s research interests include culture, race, and literacy during the early-twentieth century. His master thesis, “Transmitting Whiteness: Librarians, Children, & Race, 1900 – 1930s,” demonstrates how New Orleans public librarians facilitated the transmission of a white racist ideology of superiority and privilege through the collecting of children’s books for young readers. His current dissertation topic, an intellectual biography of Curious George, seeks to explain how H.A. and Margret Rey adapted racialized advertisements from Germany’s colonial period for American children readers during the mid-twentieth century. He is advised by Dr. Andrew P. Haley.

Jonathan Harton (PhD, Early American History) MA, Military History, 2012 University of North Georgia; BA, History, 2009 University of Georgia. Jonathan is a second year PhD student interested in the various ways local communities respond to and remember armed conflict, particularly in early North America. Jonathan’s MA thesis investigated how combining historical archaeology and documentary history could augment narrative creation and local memory for northwest Georgia’s U.S. Civil War history. His current research focus examines the martial culture of southeastern militias during the mid to late 18th century. Jonathan investigates how colonial warfare affected militiamen’s agrarian communities and how the South’s agricultural environment shaped militia behavior. Jonathan is working under the direction of Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.

Wesley Hazzard (PhD, US History) MLitt, Battlefield and Conflict Archeology, 2012 University of Glasgow, Scotland; BA, History, 2011 University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. His MLitt thesis examined Prisoner of War camps during World War II.  At Southern Miss Wes’s research interests are in U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean and Latin America during the twentieth century, and his current research analyzes the memory and legacy of the 1965 U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic.  Other areas of interest include U.S. occupations in the Caribbean during World War I, and U.S.-Latin American foreign policy.

John Mangipano (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2011 University of New Orleans. John Mangipano’s master thesis examines how a family of Mexican artists “whitened” themselves through the depiction of racially-themed artwork in New Orleans over a period of several decades, beginning at the end of Reconstruction. For his dissertation, John is currently researching how late-antebellum attitudes about health and identity encouraged people throughout the Gulf South to participate in illicit military activities known as filibustering missions.  Dr. Deanne Nuwer is directing John’s dissertation.  

Hayden McDaniel (PhD, U.S. History) MA, U.S. History since 1865, 2012 Auburn University; BS, English and History, 2009 Troy University.  Hayden McDaniel is from Dothan, Alabama.  She took her comprehensive fields in U.S. history with minor fields in gender history and Latin American history.  Her research interests include the American South since the New Deal, focusing on agriculture, politics, economics, and southern identity.  She is also interested in environmental history, public history, oral history, and Alabama history.  Her thesis, “Managing the New Deal:  Administration of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942,” challenged the notion of the CCC as a cohesive and cooperative agency by investigating bureaucracy, federal departmental cooperation, and the work of mid-level administration in the southeastern Fourth Corps Area.  Her dissertation, conducted under the direction of Dr. Max Grivno, focuses on the development of the southern peanut industry during the twentieth century, tracing its growth from a minor, local subsistence commodity to an agribusiness contributing to mass consumption. 

John J. Mortimer (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2013 Indiana University of Pennsylvania; BA, European History, 2010 Framingham State College.  John Mortimer is a second-year PhD student and his research interests focus on contemporary U.S. diplomatic and civil-military relations during the Cold War.  He is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur. John’s current research includes comparatively analyzing the geopolitical consequences of “enemy-centric” and “population-centric” counterinsurgency.  Additional interests include drone and green military technology and the role these applications have in creating a more mobile and energy independent expeditionary force.  Also of interest is the use of green technology in counterinsurgency operations and the manner that unconventional warfare is manipulating regional perspectives.  This past summer, John attended the prestigious West Point Summer Seminar in Military History.  As part of the seminar, John took part in workshop pedagogy sessions led by Drs. Clifford Rogers and Sam Watson and presented his research on drone use in unconventional warfare.  He also toured Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam battlefield, and played the role of General George G. Meade during the three-day Gettysburg Staff Ride. 

Olivia Moore (PhD, U.S History) MA, History, University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History and Politics, University of Exeter (UK). Olivia is an international student from Plymouth, England. Her undergraduate thesis examined the experiences of local women in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, particularly in the Hattiesburg area. Working under Dr. Kevin Greene, Olivia is focusing in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.  More specifically, she is currently focusing on the contributions made by southern white activists within the state. In this, she explores the ways that these neglected accounts alter our understanding of activism during this period. Olivia’s interest in civil rights history began after interviewing local activist, Raylawni Branch, during her study abroad placement at Southern Miss in 2012.

Lindsey R. Peterson (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2015 The University of South Dakota; BA, History and Political Science, 2013 Buena Vista University. Lindsey is a first year PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi working under the supervision of Dr. Susannah Ural. She is currently studying how women in the trans-Mississippi commemorated the American Civil War. Examining the Woman’s Relief Corps, Daughters of Union Veterans, and Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Lindsey’s research analyzes how gendered Civil War memory developed in regions that served as frontiers during the war. On the side, she is also interested in gender and women’s studies. In her free time, Lindsey enjoys running after her Weimaramer puppy named Mosby (named for a Civil War general of course). Lindsey was a recipient of the 2015 Margaret Boone Dale Fellowship from the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society and the 2015 Russell F. Weigley Graduate Student Travel Grant Award from The Society for Military History.

Adam Rock (PhD, U.S. History); MA, History, 2014 University of Central Florida; BA, History, 2008 University of Central Florida. Adam is a second year PhD student specializing in race and the Second World War.  His research interests include the all-Japanese American 442nd regimental combat team who trained in Mississippi, and specifically how the circumstances of war changed perceptions of Japanese Americans within the United States during and after the conflict. Additionally, Adam is interested in the story of Japanese POWs held in the United States from 1941 to 1945 and how their treatment compared to racially different German and Italian prisoners also in American care. Adam is studying under the direction of Dr. Douglas Bristol.

Tyler Rotter (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2010 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; PBS, Museum Studies, 2010 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; BA, History, 2007 University of Missouri. Tyler is a PhD candidate specializing in the cultural history of seventeenth-century New England with minor areas in War and Society and Latin America. His research interests include the way in which clergy used their leadership and influence to create propaganda in support of war, how this promotion differed from the religious language utilized by New England’s civil and military leaders, and how the overall conception of religiously prescribed warfare evolved as New England became increasingly integrated into the larger British Atlantic and played an greater role in imperial conflicts with other European states. Additionally, he is also interested in the religious characteristics of colonization in Latin America and how they compared to those of British North America. Tyler was awarded the department’s McCain Fellowship for 2015-2016 and also currently serves as an editor for H-War. Tyler is studying under the direction of Dr. Kyle F. Zelner.

Samantha Taylor (PhD, U.S. History 1867-Present, Modern European History, and War and Society) MA, History, 2009 East Tennessee State University-Johnson City; BS, History, 2007 Lander University-Greenwood.  Samantha Taylor’s research interests include the long twentieth-century America and Europe, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.  Other interests include Cultural History, Popular Culture, and twentieth-century American Diplomatic History.  Her current dissertation topic, advised by Dr. Heather M. Stur, is a comparison of post Cold War nationalism in the United States and Germany from 1989 to 1993.

Robert Thompson (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2007 Wilfrid Laurier University; BA, History, 2006 Virginia Wesleyan College. Rob’s dissertation is a study of pacification in Phu Yen Province, Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. To show that continuity, not change, best characterized the Vietnam War, Robert uses examples from Phu Yen to present a war in which pacification always transpired.  He has presented some of his findings at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 SMH Annual Meetings. Robert is working under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest and Dr. Heather Stur.

Eve Wade (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2008 Roosevelt University, Chicago. Eve is a third-year PhD student whose major field of study is U.S. History with minors in Latin America and the Atlantic World. Working under the direction of Dr. Bo Morgan, Eve’s research interests include Chattel Slavery in the Americas, the African Diaspora, and black urbanization in the wake of the Civil War.  Eve’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Becoming Bronzeville: The Origin of the Black Metropolis in Southern Cities,” explores the connection between the Southern Black Metropolis and its offspring in Northern cities. To compliment the study of history, she is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public History. In addition to guest lectures, conference presentations, and tutoring duties, Eve has experience as a co-curator with the McCain Library & Archives and as an Interviewer for the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage. 

Rebecca Zimmer (PhD, U.S. History), MA, History, 2009 University of North Carolina Wilmington; BS, Biology, 2002 Elon University. Rebecca Zimmer is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Southern Mississippi. She was the 2008 and 2010 as the George M. Nethken Fellow at the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War. This permitted her the opportunity to work on the seminars "Gettysburg: Retreat and Pursuit" and "Siege of Petersburg," the latter of which was presented in conjunction with Pamplin Park. During the 2009 - 2010 academic year, Becky was an adjunct lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. She is currently a sixth year Ph.D. student, and Graduate Assistant. Her research interests include the South in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the American Civil War. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “Temperance and Woman Suffrage: Success and Struggle in Mississippi at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” and considers the relationship between the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the woman suffrage movement in Mississippi.  She is working under the direction of Dr. Bo Morgan.