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.
Arielle Julia Brown: Public Humanities MA StudentArielle Julia Brown: Public Humanities MA Student

As a graduate fellow with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, I am interested in exploring how cultural institutions and arts initiatives can inspire social justice and community engagement through the presentation of work by artists from Africa and the Diaspora.  I began my career at 7stages theatre in Atlanta, Ga where I first became interested in how art and performance can instigate civic dialogue. Radical performance experiences in Jamaica, Senegal and East Africa have greatly shaped my aesthetic and social interests as a cultural producer, theatre practitioner and curator. After returning from a transformative trip to Rwanda in 2010, I founded The Love Balm Project, a workshop series and performance based on the testimonies of women of color who have lost children to systemic violence. The Love Balm Project has been developed at cultural institutions throughout the SF Bay Area and in Atlanta. Other impactful experiences include work with Theatre Without Borders, SF Emerging Arts Professionals and The Encuentro Mellon Artistic Leadership Fellowship with the Los Angeles Theatre Center. I received my B.A. in theatre from Pomona College in 2011.

Leah Burgin: Public Humanities MA StudentLeah Burgin: Public Humanities MA StudentCultural heritage sites fascinate me. Currently, I am most interested by how meaningful access to places, objects, and stories from the past has the potential to shape a person's perspectives on important issues, both historical and contemporary. As an MA candidate, I hope to learn how to better craft meaningful connections between people and heritage sites through education and interpretation. I bring experience from institutions including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT, the National Park Service, and the United States Capitol, among others. 
Jonathan Cortez: American Studies PhD StudentJonathan Cortez: American Studies PhD Student

My name is Jonathan Cortez and I am a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of American Studies also completing a Master’s in Public Humanities. My research interests lie in the areas of transnational rural social movements, educational policy, and Latina/o Studies. Specifically, I am interested in disseminating knowledge in public spaces in ways that reaches broad audiences and sparks discussions around contested histories, practices, and existing knowledges.

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!
Tyler French: Public Humanities MA StudentTyler French: Public Humanities MA StudentArts and humanities organizations should be attentive to, held accountable by, and enmeshed in the lives of the community members they serve. I believe the arts are a vehicle through which we can learn about ourselves, each other, and our relation with each scale of community in which we participate. Every community member should have access to the arts, to spaces for sharing our commonalities without diminishing our differences. I hope to create, foster, and allow these spaces for sharing through cultural policy work, community participatory design, and critical dialogue between artists and the communities in which they live. At Brown I will explore the question of how arts and humanities can be central and attentive to the needs and resources of a community and equitable to all within that community, while awakening interest in, inspiring response for, and paying witness to social inequity.
Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera: Public Humanities MA StudentMaria Paula Garcia Mosquera: Public Humanities MA StudentSince 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 accesible as they should be. My mission at Brown is to explore ways to narrow the gap that exist between institutions working with heritage and a broader public. I am looking forward to learn more about notions of public engagement and how to engage non-museum audiences to these 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 during the 1940s.   
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.
Maggie Unverzagt Goddard:: American Studies PhD StudentMaggie Unverzagt Goddard:: American Studies PhD StudentFrom the American flag to thong underwear, my research starts with an object. I'm especially invested in material, cultural, political, and spatial readings of how people interact with things. I previously worked on digital humanities at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, educational programming at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and research and exhibition development at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. My interests include cultural studies, feminisms, race and race making, and the built environment. I focus on issues of citizenship, representation, and labor, mediated through material culture, and how objects of popular culture shape political space and interpellate the body. I received my B.A. from Haverford College in Religion and Philosophy and my M.A. from the George Washington University in American Studies.
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.

Christina Ho: Public Humanities MA StudentChristina Ho: Public Humanities MA StudentMy focus of interest is at the intersection of art and conflict. The two have had a longstanding dialogue, mutually impacting one another in many situations, and through a study of visual culture and curating exhibitions with a conscience for social justice, I hope to shed light on some of these issues in a new way. As an artist, and having engaged the art world from a few different angles, I believe art has the potential to tell especially compelling stories and educate the public in a way that does not adhere to censored knowledge structures. I am also interested in addressing the hegemonic implications within "the art world", art in developing countries, religious art, controversial art, and counter-hegemonic discourse. Through this interdisciplinary graduate program, I am looking forward to learning about new methods of providing opportunities for viewers and audiences to create their own paths of understanding and education. www.christinamayho.com

Andrea Ledesma: Public Humanities MA StudentAndrea Ledesma: Public Humanities MA StudentI always love a good story. As a public historian, I constantly find myself drawn to the characters and themes of the past, as well as exploring how these experiences resonate with contemporary communities and issues. At the same time, I am intrigued by the ways in which we share these stories with others. Technology only moves forward, and with it comes an exciting array of means for retelling—or rather reinventing—history. So as an MA candidate, I will study the intersections between history, technology, and the public narrative in order to create exhibits that are as enriching as they are collaborative. With previous experiences at the National Archives and Newseum in Washington, DC, I know that museums possess the unique power to educate, inspire, and challenge its audiences. And so, I hope that the spaces I create will not only inform and entertain visitors, but also help them understand that they are both a product and producer of a shared history.

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.
Cherise Morris: Public Humanities MA StudentCherise Morris: Public Humanities MA StudentI am a queer Black (with a capital B) feminist-dream-worker interested in community education for liberation, Black women's legacies of resistance, abolitionist futures, urban agriculture, independent media, and Black folkloric traditions among other things. I recently graduated from Brown University with a degree in Africana Studies, and began a publishing internship at Truthout in July. During my undergrad, I worked as an editor of The College Hill Independent and editor-in-chief of bluestockings magazine. My work has appeared in publications such as The Feminist Wire and Fourth Genre. I also worked as a researcher for the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and as a core organizer with Students Against the Prison-Industrial Complex, and continues to facilitate creative arts workshops at the Rhode Island state prisons. I have been invited to present and facilitate workshops at several organizations in Providence, New Orleans, and Detroit. I'm a soon-to-be Detroit-transplant, from rural Virginia by way of Providence, RI. 
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.
Kara Noto: Public Humanities MA StudentKara Noto: Public Humanities MA StudentKara brings to the program considerable experience in public affairs and community outreach at the city, university and federal level. Having spent time behind the desk at the the National Park Service and U.S. Coast Guard, Kara finds beauty in bureaucracy, untangling red tape and turning ideas into things. She emphasizes her passion for building a more interdisciplinary capacity for public outreach, and for using public humanities tools to create a more engaged agency in public life. Kara is a proud Coast Guard spouse, Michigander, Redditor, outdoorsperson, and dog mom living in and exploring coastal Connecticut.  CONTACT ME! I'm a Program Ambassador.
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'm a Chicana Angelena who enjoys pondering praxis (and pan dulce). My areas of academic interest are: figurative art, web cultures, cultural anthropology, cultural policy, psychology, and aesthetic philosophy. I am interested in exploring the potential for social change in the art world and evaluating the role of fine art within the greater world. Professionally, I am interested in curating engaging exhibitions, creating meaningful programming, increasing the representation of people of color within the art world, and facilitating productive conversations between cultural institutions and the communities they serve. My past life 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 bachelor's degree at Columbia University.
Emily Sellon: Public Humanities MA StudentEmily Sellon: Public Humanities MA StudentAs a believer in the capacity of creative spaces to empower young people, I’m interested in improving access to the arts through informal education. My previous experience includes an academic background in Art History and Sociology and a professional background in community arts education at Providence CityArts for Youth — a free arts program for students ages 8-14. At Brown, I hope to continue to explore how education, particularly in a museum environment, can support positive youth development and address social inequity.
Emily Sloan: Public Humanities MA StudentEmily Sloan: Public Humanities MA StudentThrough my undergraduate studies in history and internships in preservation and historic sites, I have come to believe that the stories of real people and real places create a connection to the past that is often lost in academic study. I am interested in the ways in which small, local historic sites and museums can foster interest in and understanding of community, national, and world history. I look forward to gaining practical skills and furthering my theoretical understanding about how cultural institutions beneficially and successfully operate within the communities they serve.
Jess Schlosser Smith: Public Humanities MA StudentJess Schlosser Smith: Public Humanities MA StudentI’m thrilled to have the opportunity to step back and look at cultural programming and public engagement from a broader perspective. My interests include community collaborations, socially engaged artwork, leadership and strategy, residency programs, and creative economic development.
Katie Vogel: MA Candidate in Public HumanitiesKatie Vogel: MA Candidate in Public HumanitiesI want to study how to create environments that encourage the learning of the widest possible range of people. I am particularly interested in how to make learning about history and literature through museums and community centers more relatable to young people. For the past four years, I have worked with high school students in college access. I have also worked with students and the public as an educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, facilitating discussions on immigration stories of the past and present. My dream for the not-so-distant future is to open a bookstore that focuses on providing a space for community engagement. CONTACT ME! I'm a Program Ambassador.
Inge Zwart: Public Humanities MA StudentInge Zwart: Public Humanities MA StudentMy name is Inge Zwart. In January I graduated from a small Liberal Arts college of Utrecht University in the Netherlands. During my studies there I always tried to find links between the academic world of the humanities and the (local) community; two worlds that sometimes seem to be so distant from each other. I was able to do so as a museum educator for the provincial museum in Middelburg, by being the chair of our student association, and by teaching global citizenship education as an intern. After graduation I continued my work for the museum and I interned at the Roosevelt Study Center. At Brown and in Providence I’m looking forward to learn more about bridges that can be built to bring the humanities more at the centre of our society. Moreover, I am interested in finding out what the role of the humanities is in the world and in global crises.

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