History GTA Meeting with Dr. John Herron 4

Graduate Student Profiles

Our students do us so proud.

MA and iPhD candidates are already beginning their careers as professional historians by publishing articles, building websites, creating exhibitions, producing documentaries, and even writing books.

Alex Banks

Alex Banks is a graduate student in the Public History master’s program at UMKC. Alex graduated from Truman State University with a BA in History with departmental honors. He is currently interested in European (more specifically German) imperialism in Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More broadly, however, Alex is interested in modern European diplomatic history, ranging from the second half of the seventeenth century to the first half of the twentieth. Alex is on working on his Graduate Certificate in Holocaust Studies while at UMKC as well.  

Kathryn B. Carpenter

Kathryn B. Carpenter is an MA student in UMKC’s History Department. Her research interests include health and the environment, the American West, public land use, women and gender, and the history of science and technology. She is also interested in digital and public humanities. In 2017, Kathryn worked as a curator on the traveling exhibit Making History: Kansas City and the rise of Gay Rights, and designed and produced an accompanying digital exhibit. Kathryn was born in California and grew up in Spokane, Washington. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and worked as a reporter, copy editor, and freelance designer before returning to school. Twitter: @katebcarp

Kristina Ellis

Kristina Ellis is an Interdisciplinary PhD student who looks at late nineteenth and twentieth century women’s history. She received a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Utah in 2004 and a master’s degree in History from UMKC in 2008. Her dissertation deals with women’s bodies in popular American magazines, but her interests include gender and print culture in the United States and the United Kingdom. She presented a paper entitled, “Eliza Lynn Linton’s (Anti)Feminism Across Genres,” at the annual Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) Conference in Freiburg, Germany, in July 2017 after receiving grants from RSVP, the School of Graduate Studies, UMKC Women’s Council, the Women and Gender Studies Department, the English Department, and the History Department. She is working on an article about Linton for the Wilkie Collins Journal, and her article on “Journalistic Activism: Lucile Bluford’s Fight for Rights in The Kansas City Call” is awaiting publication on the website “Profiles in Kansas City Activism” in partnership with Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

Paula Hayward

Paula Hayward is a graduate student pursuing her M.A. in History. Originally from Kansas City, she received her B.A. in History with honors from Missouri Western State University in 2018. Her research interests include Anglo-Norman England, focusing on power and identity within the varying levels of society created by the Norman Conquest. She is particularly interested in exploring forest law and its effect not only on society but on the landscape. She currently serves as a graduate teaching assistant for U.S. History to 1877.

Samantha Hollingsworth

Samantha Hollingsworth is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts degree in History with an emphasis in Public History. Born in Kansas and raised in Missouri, Samantha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Anthropology from UMKC, where she graduated in 2016 with honors and on the Dean’s List. She is a historian of science and medicine with research interests in scientific revolutions, evolution, scientific and medical illustrations, ancient medicine, and the history of STEM education. Her current research focuses on the Darwinian Revolution. In the Public History emphasis of the program, her focus is museum education, public programming, and curriculum design. Samantha has served as a graduate teaching assistant in American History, a graduate assistant for the UMKC/UMSL Course Share Program, and a grader for an interdisciplinary course about the history and anthropology of religion. She was also a contributing curator for a traveling and online exhibit titled Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights (2016). Her goals are to obtain a career in museum education and to teach courses in history.

Seán Thomas Kane

Seán Thomas Kane is a master’s student in History focusing on early modern England with an emphasis in the intellectual and cultural influences upon the political sphere. He is also a graduate teaching assistant in the department. Mr. Kane was born in Chicago and earned his B.A. at Rockhurst University in History and Theology in 2015. While at Rockhurst, Mr. Kane was Senior Editor of the 2015 edition of The Rockhurst Review. He earned his first M.A. in International Relations and Democratic Politics at the University of Westminster in 2016, where he specialized in the politicization of national identity in Ireland, Wales, and Australia and in the issue of democratic legitimacy in the European Parliament. Beyond academia, he is the author of three books – The Adventures of Horatio Woosencraft and Other Stories, Travels in Time Across Europe (both 2017), and Erasmus Plumwood (2018) – and is currently working on a number of other literary projects.

Brooke Leisinger

Brooke Leisinger is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts degree in History with a Public History emphasis. She graduated with a BA in History and Women & Gender Studies from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri in 2014. Her research focuses on Midwestern LGBT history. She currently works as the Arrowhead Art Fellow for the Kansas City Chiefs and as a Collection Cataloger for the National Museum of Toys & Miniatures.

Matthew Reeves

Matthew Reeves is a doctoral candidate and public history fellow at UMKC, where he has worked on projects for both academic and general audiences. His MA thesis examined how nineteenth century physicians used newspaper advertising as a space to create contested professional identities, while his doctoral project explores the Midwestern influences on a pair of alternative health practices: osteopathic and chiropractic medicines. A native Midwesterner, Reeves hails from Columbia, Missouri. In addition to his work on campus as a graduate teaching assistant, Reeves was an inaugural member of the UMKC HistoryMakers project, a public history initiative that places graduate students with public and private cultural institutions throughout the Kansas City metro. As a HistoryMaker, Reeves has worked with the Kansas City Office of Historic Preservation, the Arrowhead Art Collection, and the H and R Bloch Family Foundation. Outside the academy, Reeves has served as a project manager and content developer for Eisterhold Associates, a nationally-known museum design firm, and was a guest curator for a major exhibit at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

Sarah Rucker

Sarah Rucker is a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in History. A native of Ohio, she earned her undergraduate degree with honors at Ohio University in 2011. Her research focuses on the Cold War with an emphasis on the impact of international opinion on advancements in Civil Rights in the United States during the Cold War’s infancy, television news media’s influence on public opinion and Washington elites during the Vietnam War, and U.S. involvement in newly developing nations following decolonization after World War II.

Michael Spachek

Michael Spachek is a graduate student seeking a Master of Arts degree in History with an emphasis in Public History. He is from Wichita, Kansas and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in History from Kansas State University. While there he worked as an intern for the Chapman Center for Rural Studies under the guidance of Dr. M.J. Morgan and Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, completing three articles and an archival project while also serving as an assistant curator for the “Going Home” exhibit in partnership with the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas. He is an environmental historian whose research interests include riverine ecosystems, land and water use, conservation, and the Missouri River. His career goals include museum curation and educating the public on environmental topics. His articles “Animals for Profit: The Ecological and Economic Causes of the War on Coyotes in Kansas from 1890 to 1899”, “The People’s Blacksmith John Crisp and the Rural Farmers of Rock Creek Township: Chalk Mound, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, 1850 to 1950”, and “Tracking Success of African American Landowners in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, Circa 1900: A Case Study of African American Farmers at the Turn of the Century” are available online through the Chapman Center’s online archive.  

Debra K. Taylor

Debra K. Taylor is an historical sociologist interested in social stratification, most specifically, stratification brought about by the social constructs revolving around “race“ and ethnicity.  Her current doctoral research is an examination of modern-day murals and monuments as remembrances of the American Civil War, in which she analyzes what groups are “remembered” and which are “forgotten”. Taylor has taught various courses in the social sciences including American History 1865 to present. Born and raised locally, Debra completed her BA in Liberal Arts and her MA in Sociology at UMKC.

Elizabeth Young

Elizabeth Young is currently pursuing an M.A. in History with an emphasis in medieval Europe. Her interests include Anglo-Norman power dynamics and colonization, the Crusade movement in Anglo-Norman England, and the use of religious propaganda. Ms. Young is a Missouri native. She received her bachelor’s degree in History and French from Missouri Western State University in 2016.