Students

Sandra Arnold: Public Humanities MA StudentSandra Arnold: Public Humanities MA StudentAs a public historian, my interests center on the memory and legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow era. As an artist, I am interested in telling stories that contribute to a broader understanding of the Black experience, and underrepresented narratives. I founded the Periwinkle Initiative, a public humanities nonprofit to preserve cultural heritage associated with enslaved Americans. The Initiative’s core project is the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans - a repository that will document individual burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans. At Brown, I will explore utilizing public art and media in preserving the memory of slavery and Jim Crow. I also plan to examine public engagement initiatives and their role in creating spaces for transformative dialogue on issues of race and reconciliation.
Emily Esten: Public Humanities MA StudentEmily Esten: Public Humanities MA StudentAs a public historian, I work to examine the theoretical and practical implications of public history on a national and international level.  Combining my interests of digital humanities, new media, and American studies, I am focused on how historical scholarship can be reinterpreted and reconstructed for and by the public.  Prior to coming to Brown, I interned in a range of departments at large and small institutions across New England.  In addition to my studies, I currently serve as an NPS volunteer at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.  Moving forward, I plan to use the methods of the historical discipline and digital technologies to make powerful and relevant interpretations across new mediums to engage audiences with the past. 
 Julieanne Fontana: Public Humanities MA StudentJulieanne Fontana: Public Humanities MA StudentJulieanne comes to the Public Humanities program hoping to explore the connections between history, community, and the environment. Her past experience includes working in interpretation and education with the National Park Service, data collection for environmental organizations, and a curatorial internship with the New Bedford Whaling Museum. At Brown, she will continue to study the intersection between communities and the environment, particularly analyzing the ways in which we use place to remember the past. On a more practical level, she aims to utilize outdoor recreation initiatives, community gardens, and public space to connect communities, especially youth, to the environment and history.  Julieanne enjoys learning about maritime history, hiking, traveling to explore new foods and cultures, and finding all the farm animals she can along the way!
Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera: Public Humanities MA StudentMaria Paula Garcia Mosquera: Public Humanities MA Student Since I graduated from my B.A. in History in Bogotá (Colombia), I have been interested in working as a Historian in the practice (or as a Public Historian as I later knew). This interest has taken me to work in a range of cultural organizations and government institutions, such as the Colombian National Public Radio, the Bogotá’s Office of Culture, Recreation and Sports, and the Museums of the Central Bank of Colombia. From these experiences, I found the importance of historical heritage and cultural practices for Colombians as citizens, but they are not as accessible as they should be. My mission at Brown is to explore ways to narrow the gap that exists between institutions working with heritage and a broader public. I am looking forward to learning more about notions of public engagement and how to engage non-museum audiences to this kind of institutions. I also plan to start a research project in which I envision ways to make, historical research, public collaboration, and exposure, converge. For this, I am designing a digital archive to house the records of my grandfather, who was among the first Afro-Colombians to reach prominence in the Colombian government between the 1940s and 1970s.
Thaddeus Gibson: Public Humanities MA StudentThaddeus Gibson: Public Humanities MA StudentThaddeus Gibson comes from Vermont, where he previously worked for the State Curator and the Vermont Arts Council. He received a BA in Anthropology from Williams College in 2011. His interests include American art, history and culture as well as arts advocacy, exhibit design and curation.
Amelia Golcheski: Public Humanities MA StudentAmelia Golcheski: Public Humanities MA StudentAs a public historian I am dedicated to listening to and telling stories. Growing up in the American South I know that stories are not merely stories--instead they're memories that collectively create a complicated history of the region. I am interested in memory, identity, its tie to place, and the effects of these themes on communities today. At the core of these themes are individual stories. Combining my interest in history, folklore, and new media I plan to focus my studies on recording stories for the future while examining how the public's understanding of the past is reinterpreted and reconstructed in public spaces. Prior to coming to Brown I worked with these themes first hand as a museum educator at Monticello.

Kenna Libes: Public Humanities MA StudentKenna Libes: Public Humanities MA Student

As a graduate in History with a passion for archaeology, my interests lie in historic material culture and gender in context. My professional goal is to work in a museum environment and to engage the public with the history of dress and the modern replication of historic garments. I'm a firm believer that handling replicas increases understanding and relatability - and it's more fun than just looking at something through the glass! While in undergrad, I did collections and curatorial work for the Smithsonian at several different museums, and prior to coming to Brown I worked in historic wardrobe at Plimoth Plantation. My hobby is sewing, so yes - I've put my money where my mouth is!

Rica Maestas: Public Humanities MA StudentRica Maestas: Public Humanities MA StudentI’m just a post-modern New Mexican with a soft spot for inappropriately placed religious iconography and a passion for making connections between things that don’t seem related. While this compulsion keeps my mental gymnastics in tip-top shape, it more importantly brings together those who love topics that have generally been considered separate. My interest in the Public Humanities is embedded in my desire to foster this intersectionality in informal, interdisciplinary, and ideally innovative learning environments (also, I’m a fan of alliteration). I’ve had the pleasure of doing so in Los Angeles, coordinating public, free, and incredibly varied academic events and I look forward to experimenting with alternative forms of educational public engagement at Brown.


Liz Malone: Public Humanities MA StudentLiz Malone: Public Humanities MA StudentWhile earning my B.S. in Urban Studies from Worcester State University, I have always been fascinated in studying people and their connection to community and how their education molds that unique relationship. We learn through peoples’ individual and collective stories and connecting those stories to policy and practice within cultural and educational institutions. In my three short years working at Brown University, I have learned that this institution thrives on building and maintaining community. My interests involve learning how cultural and educational institutions, such as Brown, connect and relay information in effective methods to their community and beyond.
Maddie Mott: Public Humanities MA StudentMaddie Mott: Public Humanities MA Student

I am an administrative historian, fundraiser, and small museum advocate from Portland, Oregon. I’ve done work in development, grant research and planning, and exhibit development at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Clackamas County Historical Society, but no work gets me more excited than realizing the potential of a small history museum. I think that small museums are the backbones of a community, the preservers of its heritage, and just as valuable as the Field or the Met, but they often face a unique set of constraints that make change feel like an impossible task. While at Brown, I plan on studying innovative methods to make smaller institutions more inclusive, accessible, and most importantly, sustainable. After graduation, I will start my own consulting firm that takes these strategies to small museums in order to relieve some of the burdens they may carry. Besides changemaking, my other passions include quiche, video games, and Instagramming pictures of my taxidermy duckling.  Check out my website, maddiemott.com, for a complete resume and project list!  

Robin Ness: Public Humanities MA StudentRobin Ness: Public Humanities MA StudentI work on linking the past to the present through public history projects, digital storytelling, curatorial and creative practice. My scholarship in the Public Humanities MA program builds upon my BFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design and 25 years of experience in Brown University’s Library System. After 12 years serving as Digital Production Specialist in the library's Digital Technologies Department, my current role, in Special Collections at the John Hay Library, is aiding researchers and contributing to exhibit planning. Merging a fascination with historical inquiry; objects; interpretation; and engagement, the projects I develop tend to utilize technologies in order to expose stories previously hidden in archives to a new and wider audience. My academic work in the Public Humanities program, in conjunction with my work promoting Brown University’s Special Collections and Archives materials, allows me to continually find new opportunities in creating, interpreting, preserving, and transmitting the cultural heritage record.
Alexandra Peck: Certificate in Public Humanities Program (Anthropology PhD Student)Alexandra Peck: Certificate in Public Humanities Program (Anthropology PhD Student)I’m Alexandra Peck, a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Brown. My research interests include material culture, tribal museums, and public art displays on Coast Salish reservations in the Pacific Northwest. I hold a B.A. in Anthropology from Seattle University, as well as a M.A. in Anthropology from Brown, where my research emphasizes Native, feminist, and collaborative anthropologies. Recently, I have held a proctorship at Brown’s Haffenreffer Museum and worked for RISD as an assistant curator of their Native American collection. Currently, I am earning a Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities.
Bryn Pernot: Public Humanities MA StudentBryn Pernot: Public Humanities MA StudentAs an evaluator, researcher, and program developer, I am a staunch advocate for museums playing an active role in engaging their communities. I strongly believe that these institutions have the responsibility to make their exhibits and programs relevant and thus transformative. In my graduate studies, I seek to integrate fields like anthropology, education, theater, and design to investigate how museums can integrate diverse backgrounds and perspectives, as well as provide a space for public participation. These interests are inspired by my personal dedication to equity and social justice and are also informed by my professional background and training. Prior to coming to Brown, I worked on education evaluation and research at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, educational programming at the Smart Museum of Art, and curatorial projects at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and exhibit spaces throughout Chicago. In all of these places, I have sought to understand what a museum is, can be, and should be in the contemporary world. I look forward to continuing this inquiry and applying new types of critical thinking and theoretical frameworks to address the role of museums today, to initiate and sustain positive social change. 
Brigitte Santana: Public Humanities MA StudentBrigitte Santana: Public Humanities MA StudentI aim to make museums more accessible and equitable places to work and visit (online and IRL).  My areas of academic interest include: digital humanities, information science, social psychology, ethnic studies, and visual culture.  Professionally, I am interested in curation, digital engagement, and museum education.  From 2016-2017, I was the Brown University Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) Curatorial Fellow.  Other previous experiences include working for LA Plaza de Cultura Y Artes and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, teaching a class on comics and graphic novels at Art Division, and earning my bachlor's degree at Columbia University.  Some of my joys include portaiture, cherimoyas, and the occasional outer space metaphor.

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