Student Profiles

Current Students

Porter Mitchell- Historic Preservation

Porter Mitchell is a first-year Historic Preservation student at GSU. They have worked for the past decade in sustainable agriculture, exploring the intersections of history, environment, and social justice. They are interested in preserving, promoting, and celebrating Southeastern culture, lifeways, and the unique and beautiful environment of the Appalachians, Piedmont, and Coast Plains regions. Their approach to history seeks to remain rooted in the interconnectedness of humans and the land. They are an amateur naturalist, herbalist, broom maker, flax processor, seed saver, and grower. Originally from Savannah and the surrounding area, they now live in East Point with their best friend and soulmate, a Boston Terrier named Lou.

Natasha Washington- Public History

Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Natasha moved to the Metro Atlanta area as a senior in high school. She did her undergraduate studies at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and, with her 5-year-old son in tow, graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in English. Moving back to Gwinnett County after graduation, Natasha began a career in public libraries.  Having raised and managed a family, Natasha knew she always wanted to return to the University environment and pursue a master’s degrees.  She is now enrolled in the Public History tract of the Heritage Preservation Program.

Natasha first discovered her love for African American history and archives at Tuskegee.  Following her completion of this program, she would like to be a director or curator of an archival collection, with an emphasis on women in the African Diaspora.

Ricky Yates- Historic Preservation

Ricky Yates began his Masters of Heritage Preservation Program at Georgia State University in the fall semester of 2022. He currently holds a GRA position in the cultural resource management field at VHB, Inc., a national firm with an office in Atlanta. He began there in the Spring of 2022 as an intern on their history team. Before moving to Atlanta, Ricky worked in an historic boatyard as a finisher and rigger of wooden ships, painting and rigging historic boats on the sunny shores of Long Island, New York.

Ricky holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College, where he received a double major in History and German, with a minor in Southwest Studies. There, he focused on the history of the American West and the fur trading economy and was influenced by his German studies including the history and philosophy of the Frankfurt School. He is currently interested in incorporating the historical into the contemporary cityscapes of the region.

Fun fact: Ricky has the all-time highest score on the annual current events test held by his high school, Allendale Columbia School.

Ashlee Grenard- Public History

Ashlee first attended Georgia State University, in the Fall of 2015, as a freshman in the History program. During her undergraduate studies she developed a deep appreciation of the historic and cultural significance of Atlanta and found a deep passion for Southern and African American history.

Following her graduation, Ashlee began work at the Atlanta History Center where her role in the Education Department saw her serving as Historic House Interpreter, Educational Facilitator, and Content Creator.  During Ashlee’s time with the Atlanta History Center, she discovered a desire to teach history in interactive ways outside the traditional classroom setting.

Now employed at Kennesaw State University's Museum of History and Holocaust Education, Ashlee serves as the Museum’s Educator. Her duties consist of creating content and teaching at the museum as well as around the state of Georgia.  Her curriculum covers a broad array of 20th century topics.

Fun fact: Ashlee loves watching documentaries! So much so that it never matters what the documentary is about, she will watch it because she loves learning through visuals. She hopes to make one in the future.

Lauren Reeves- Historic Preservation

Lauren is an Atlanta native, and a first-year student in the Heritage Preservation program. They attended college at Smith, and briefly worked in the college archives transcribing early drafts of the works of Sylvia Plath for academic comparison. After that they traveled to far away St. Andrews, Scotland where they completed post-graduate coursework in Museum and Gallery Studies. After a short-lived career in marketing and social media management for educational institutions, Lauren returned to Atlanta seeking opportunities in other areas within the broader preservation field.

Fun fact: Lauren spent their first year out of college working in a tattoo studio.

Parker Hilley- Historic Preservation

Parker received her BA in English from Georgia State in 2014 with a concentration in Creative Writing. She held the position of Editor-in-Chief of Underground, GSU's undergraduate literary journal, for two years. Since graduating, Parker has worked her way up from hostess to general manager of an Asian fusion restaurant in her hometown of Decatur. In her spare time, she also serves as an assistant editor for Palm Sized Press, a local small press, and she leads virtual writing groups with “Drafts on Draft”, a writing initiative she began in 2018.

Parker returned to GSU in 2021 to work towards a master’s in history in the Public History track of the MHP program. This semester, she is working as a graduate research assistant in the Programming Department at The Historic Oakland Foundation. Her tasks include helping with volunteer coordination and organizing events at Historic Oakland Cemetery. In her spare time, Parker is also in training to become a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. She enjoys travelling, dark history, and true crime. One day, she hopes to write a book that combines all three.

Fun fact: Parker went to Romania just to see "Dracula's castle"

Simone Kaplan- Historic Preservation

Simone is a 2020 Alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design and holds a BFA in Preservation Design with a double minor in both Architectural History and Interior Design. Simone has interned with the Historic Savannah Foundation, and currently works as an Architectural Historian for an environmental consultant agency in the Atlanta area. Growing up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Simone has always been drawn to historic buildings and the stories they tell. Some of her favorite memories as a child include driving through the older towns with her grandfather as he pointed out architectural details. She is pursuing graduate studies in Historic Preservation because she wants to update and expand on her undergraduate exposure to the field. “There is always something new to discover, and I hope that my time here at GSU gives me just that!”

Fun Fact: Simone is an avid collector of vintage cookbooks from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. She does not profess to have cooked many of the recipes, but she known to craft a wobbly Jell-O mold from time to time.

Madison Crosby- Public History 

Madison is pursuing a Master's in Heritage Preservation in the Public History track. She completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of Georgia, where she double majored in history and Romance languages (focusing on French and Italian) and minored in anthropology.  Madison also earned a certificate in museum studies. During her studies at UGA, Madison worked at the University's Laboratory of Archaeology and became interested in repatriation and museum decolonization. In addition to museum studies and current issues in public history, Madison is also interested in Eurasian and African medieval history. This semester Madison is working as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Fun Fact:  In her spare time, Madison enjoys reading, creative writing, listening to BTS and K-pop, and watching anime and K-dramas.

Rachel Elena Woods- Public History Certificate

Rachel is a Ph.D. student in English Rhetoric and Composition and is completing a Graduate Certificate in Heritage Preservation with a focus on Historic Preservation. She received her undergraduate degree in English with a minor in Classics from Birmingham-Southern College and her masters in English Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University. Her decision to join the Heritage Preservation program comes from a lifelong love and appreciation for history and its relics. Growing up in a family of history buffs and war reenactors, Rachel visited historic preservation sites and museums from a young age. After taking a class in archival research, she decided to dive deeper into her passion for history and preservation, so it was a natural choice to join the program! Rachel's research in Rhetorical Comp focuses on Irish history and language traditions, so she is very excited to use her knowledge from historic preservation to further her studies.

Fun Fact: On a visit to Bermuda, I was briefly lost on the island; thus, I can say I have gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

Heather Meadows- Public History

Part-Time Employee at the Atlanta History Center

My interest in the Heritage Preservation program lies in the connection between a community and its history; the way in which we hide or expose our history in the spaces around us affects how our communities will grow. By shedding a light on the past we can cultivate a more knowledgeable and sustainable future.

Having stumbled into education after undergrad, I have seen how breaking down the walls around a traditional classroom has enriched all of the students that I have interacted with. After graduating from the University of Georgia with my BA in English, French, and History, I was an English Teaching Assistant in France for a year through TAPIF. I worked in elementary schools in Blois, France, where I saw a community with an incredible culture of embracing their history. While in Europe I was also lucky to travel and visit a number of museums that are installing interactive exhibits and education tools, as well as using technology in ways I had never imagined in a museum setting.

I currently work with high school students, and I strive to get them out of the traditional classroom mindset whenever I can. Through my studies in public history here at Georgia State, I hope to refine my skills in education and research in order to develop innovative ways to fuse community and history together--and make it fun!

Fun Fact: When I am not at work or school, you can usually find me reading historical fiction, playing with my two dogs (a Terrier-Mix and a Newfie), or tending to my many houseplants.

Hannah Zboray- Public History

My undergraduate degree is in History Education, and I have been a 7th grade Social Studies teacher for 6 years now, but am hoping to start a career in museum education.

Fun Fact: I love music and going to concerts—especially 90s alternative/grunge, reggae, & hip-hop; horror movies; traveling; hiking; and I love volunteering.

Ashley Barrett- Public History

After starting my undergraduate degree at Loyola Chicago, I recently graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Having always been interested in public history, I was easily convinced that GSU's Master's of Heritage Preservation program was meant to be my next step. I am honored to be working on Georgia State's World Heritage Initiative as a graduate research assistant. I currently believe my ultimate career goal is to serve as Curator at a historical museum. In my free time, I enjoy practicing Pilates, reading classic novels, spending time with my dog, Athena, and staying engaged in political activism.

Gage Williams- Public History 

I graduated from Georgia State University in 2019 with a B.A. in English, minor in Biological Sciences. My passion for working with the public was realized during my time as an interpreter at the Georgia Aquarium, and coursework in Southern and Indigenous literatures help to shift my interests to the realm of public history. After graduation I began working as an educator with UGA, developing and teaching agricultural, environmental, and history programs for youth. Currently, I am pursuing my Masters in Heritage Preservation on the Public History track and am particularly interested in how Indigenous, queer, and black histories are represented and interpreted in the South. My ideal career would be with an agency like the National Park Service, where I can apply my interdisciplinary interests in environmental and historical public education. Fun Fact: I am a beekeeper with 10+ years of experience.

Sarah Borcherding- Heritage Preservation

Sarah subscribes to the philosophy, “You are never too old to _____ (fill in the blank).” She is back in grad school after a twenty-five year hiatus to pursue her degree in Heritage Preservation with a focus on Historic Preservation. Sarah originally earned my BSN/RN and Master’s in Health Care Administration and then had many wonderful experiences working in critical care, clinical research, and as a school nurse. But since undergraduate days, Sarah has had an underlying fascination with architecture, building materials, and landscape architecture. Making the decision to return to school took some courage, but as historic preservation has been a passion for so long, she felt the need to at least try! She hopes to work as an architectural historian while making sure that the stories, for all people who were associated with a particular property, are told in an honest and unbiased manner. Historic preservation seems to have unlimited possibilities these days as a career, and Sarah is looking forward to finding my niche.

Fun fact: Sarah and her husband have three daughters, all of whom are in college as well…AND…we are involved in foster care for rescue dogs which we are not very good at…because we always end up adopting!

Drew Webster- Public History

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, I was lucky enough to live abroad in both New Zealand and Scotland for a year in my 20s. I later went to work for the Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt University, bringing educators from developing nations and emerging economies to study the ups and downs our K-12 educational system. I currently work at Georgia State as the Assistant Director of Scholar Services, overseeing the advising and filing of immigration benefits for all sponsored international faculty and researchers at the university. I’m excited to engage with the field of Heritage Preservation with a possible focus on Heritage Tourism and how that can be used to help people better interpret our historical narratives.

Fun Fact: I am really into photography and especially love to photograph historic sites with my trusty Sony A6000 camera!

Benjamin Schmidt- Public History

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, I was lucky enough to live abroad in both New Zealand and Scotland for a year in my 20s. I later went to work for the Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt University, bringing educators from developing nations and emerging economies to study the ups and downs our K-12 educational system. I currently work at Georgia State as the Assistant Director of Scholar Services, overseeing the advising and filing of immigration benefits for all sponsored international faculty and researchers at the university. I’m excited to engage with the field of Heritage Preservation with a possible focus on Heritage Tourism and how that can be used to help people better interpret our historical narratives.

Fun Fact: I am really into photography and especially love to photograph historic sites with my trusty Sony A6000 camera!

Eric Menninger- Historic Preservation

I'm a graduate of Boston University's School of Public Communication and began my professional career in the television and film industry where I worked for nearly two decades as a producer and director creating educational, medical and historical documentaries. In the early 2000s, I retooled with a Master's in Education from Simmon's University and began a career as a public-school teacher. I taught US history and international relations to high school students for nearly ten years in Acton, Massachusetts. During that time, I won admission to a series of elite seminars for teachers hosted by leading historians such as Edward Ayres, Bernard Bailyn and William Kennedy. Following a move to western Pennsylvania from the Boston area, I shifted gears again and entered the non-profit sector working as an organizational capacity specialist and grant writer for The Pittsburgh Foundation. As a member of the Grant Making Program Department, I helped launch a variety of key community initiative such as The August Wilson Center 2.0, The Small and Mighty Grant Program, the Change Agents in Education Program and The Buncher Capacity Building Initiative. Throughout my life, I have maintained a passion for home building, restoration, and construction. Aided by my wife's impeccable taste and judgement, I have purchased and renovated a half dozen homes ranging from a humble steel worker's row house in Pittsburgh, PA to a grand mansard Victorian in Newton, MA. Always game for a new adventure and culture, I have travelled extensively around the world. My journeys have taken me from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to Mao's Tomb in Tiananmen Square and a thousand places in-between.

Fun fact: I like deep house music.

Dr. Candy Tate- Certificate, Historic Preservation

Dr. R. Candy Tate is founding President and CEO of Culture Centers International, Inc. (CCI), a non-profit devoted to historic preservation of African Diaspora corridors of memory. CCI transforms communities and sustains legacy neighborhoods through project development, fund development, and grant administration. Dr. Tate is a board member of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and Historic Atlanta, a non-profit devoted to historic preservation, and she served on the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network (GAAHPN). She has placed Fountain (Stone) Hall and Atlanta’s Ashby Street Theatre on the Places in Peril, and raised millions in grants for African American projects.

Tate is an alumna of Emory University, Georgia State University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Clark Atlanta University. She has been an Art Historian and Arts Administration for more than almost 30 years. She is a founding member of the Atlanta Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) and serves as the Branch’s Advisor and Board Member for the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival. Tate is a 2017 alumna of the Art Leaders of Metro Atlanta sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission, and a member of the 2019 Class of the Environment Justice Academy sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. An ARCUS Preservation Leadership Fellow, Dr. Tate is also the recipient of the 2021 Jenny D. Thurston Memorial Award presented by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission of the City of Atlanta for her scholarship, leadership and dedication to preservation.

Fun Fact: I've climbed on the stones of the base of the Giza pyramids and stood between the feet of the Sphinx. I rode a camel too!

Rachel Bradbury- Historic Preservation

I am originally from South Carolina and hold degrees in History and French from Wofford College. I am married with a freshman in high school and a freshman in college.

In 2009-2010 I authored Images of America: Bishopville and Lee County which focused on the geographical area in South Carolina where my maternal ancestors settled in the late 1700s. This project enabled me to record and share oral histories from local residents and work with academics who specialize in research and public history. It was during this time that I realized how much I enjoy making history accessible and entertaining to the larger public.

I am currently employed by the Youth Museum in Marietta, GA where we provide an interactive interpretation of the American Revolution to school groups. The program is geared toward the fourth-grade curriculum and both docents and students dress up in costume and re-enact in skit form some of the more famous events from the years 1770-1787.

History, travel, and culture/tradition are three of my strongest areas of interest. I have befriended a Syrian refugee family and working with them over the past five years has unquestionably been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences I have ever had.

One of the most absolutely fun things I have ever done was give personal tours of the US Capitol to constituents on behalf of my then congressman for whom I worked. As an employee, and pre-9/11, I could access much more of the building than the general public so not only was it exciting to show people some of the restricted areas of what I believe to be the most politically historical and architecturally significant public building in the United States, I also got to climb up 200+ terrifying feet between the two domes (yes the original dome is still under the one you see on the exterior today) and walk outside right under the Statue of Freedom.

Julia Ludwiczak- Public History

I am a first year graduate student in the Public History track of the MHP program. I graduated from Georgia College and State University in 2019 with my Bachelor's degree in History and a minor in Museum Studies. During my time at GCSU, I worked as an environmental educator for Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville, GA and enjoyed creating and teaching lessons for various programs and field trips. I have been interested in history since childhood and after deciding teaching in a traditional classroom wasn't the route for me, I fell in love with museum studies. While I still love working with children, I hope to work in education or programming for a museum once I finish the MHP program.

Fun Fact: I studied Art History in Rome, Paris, and Amsterdam in the summer of 2019 and completed my undergraduate capstone project on the Town Hall in Amsterdam.

Kristen Thomas- Historic Preservation

Kristen Thomas is in her second semester in the MHP program at Georgia State. In March 2020, she was selected as an Advocacy Scholar in the Preservation Action Foundation; she was awarded the opportunity by submitting her desire to ensure narratives are inclusive on monuments across the country. She has always had a great love and appreciation for architecture and history. She obtained her BFA at Brenau University in Arts Management, focusing on Interior Design and Museum Studies.

Fun Fact: She has an awesome Pitt/Great Dane pup that you might see during virtual classes.

Haley Harben- Historic Preservation

Haley grew up in South Fulton County and started her undergraduate studies at Georgia State in 2009. She graduated from Georgia State in 2015 with a degree in Policy Studies with a concentration in Planning and Economic Development. During her time at Georgia State, Haley was a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and held internships at both the United Way and Meals on Wheels Atlanta. After graduating, Haley began her career in the non-profit sector as a Program Manager at Meals on Wheels North Fulton where she managed the volunteer program. Next, she worked at the American Red Cross planning and organizing blood drives throughout the Metro Atlanta area. Haley's passion lies in the realm of Historic spaces and places and she is excited and eager to begin her studies at GSU once again. Haley's dream after obtaining my Master's Degree is to merge her planning background with her preservation knowledge and working to develop and preserve a Main Street District. Haley lives in Decatur with her husband, 2-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old Chorkie.

Melissa Hamblett- Historic Preservation

I grew up in McDonough, Georgia and had a passion for History for as long as I can remember. I got my Bachelors Degree in History with a minor in Political Science from Georgia State University. During my last summer of the undergraduate program, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. My studies focused on International History and European Architecture. Once I graduated, I interned at the Georgia State Capital and got a taste of how the local government is run, not really sure whether my passions were going to lead me to Georgia State’s Law School or their Masters of Heritage Preservation program. Once my internship ended, I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer for the Georgia Justice Project up until the pandemic hit. Currently, I am in my first semester of the Masters of Heritage Preservation Program. My fields of interest are primarily focused on Colonial America leading into the Antebellum Period.

Fun fact: I’ve always had an interest for genealogy, and so over quarantine last year, I was able to complete the paternal side of my family tree and found out I’m a descendant of both Thomas Jefferson AND Pocahontas!

Sylvia Craft- Historic Preservation

Sylvia is a marketing and advertising consultant and owner of salta integrated marketing where she supports clients in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. She is passionate about food and restaurants and is a ‘wannabe’ futurist and trend spotter, traveler, and historic preservationist. She brings curiosity and a deep experience in the food and beverage industry, working for some of the largest global QSR, franchise and independent multi-unit start-ups. She helps drive and form the strategic vision and has the execution know-how in project management with a creative sense and sensibility. She has a deep mix of both corporate and agency worlds. At salta integrated marketing she has worked on a variety of restaurant and hospitality brands including IHOP Restaurants, Holiday Inn Express Global, Chick-fil-A WinShape Camps and a multitude of start-up brands and independent restaurants. Prior to that she worked as a Senior Account Director at Tailfin Marketing Communications working on Hilton Hotels & Resorts, STA Travel, The McDonald’s Group at The Coca-Cola Company; and was herself a Customer Marketing Manager at The Coca-Cola Company, Fountain Division, for Darden Foods. Prior to that, Sylvia served as Account Supervisor at McCann WorldGroup Advertising, working primarily with The Coca-Cola Company across all brands for national promotional campaigns including sports and entertainment activations. She received her undergraduate degree from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a BA in Journalism/Advertising minoring in Business/Marketing. She is excited to be working on her master's degree in Historic Preservation & Conservation, and is the founder of the National Conservancy for Historic Restaurants – a personal passion for Sylvia – for the support and preservation of iconic and historic independent restaurants across the U.S.

Fun Fact: She has lived in the Atlanta area longer than her hometown in Indiana and met her husband on a three-day Bahama cruise.

Rita Bradley- Historic Preservation

My name is Rita Bradley and I am originally from Richmond, Virginia. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University with a major in Fashion Design. After moving to Georgia I received a Master of Communication Degree from Georgia State University, and later earned a doctorate in Teaching and Learning with a major in Art Education. I have taught Visual Arts in the public school system for the past eighteen years, and I enjoy working with fiber. I love exploring the world, and I enrolled in the Heritage and Preservation Certificate Program because I would like to incorporate my interest in travel and indigenous artforms by working in some capacity with a museum or cultural arts program dedicated to preserving native heritage.

Fun Fact: I am an avid runner and a member of the Atlanta Track Club and the Galloway Marathon Training program.


Hannah Brecker- Historic Preservation

GRA for the GSU World Heritage Initiative

Hi, my name is Hannah, and it took me until I was 22 y.o. to figure out teaching is not the only way to make money in history. And what a relief! After masquerading as a business major for a year or two, I graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Anthropology, a minor in History, and an Associates in Communications in 2017. Throughout my undergraduate career, I interned at New South Associates cultural resource management firm and with the National Park Service Southeast Regional Office. The second in my collection of degrees was earned in London, England through New York University. I spent an adventure year traveling across the United Kingdom and Europe, studying old buildings and new cultures, and earning an M.A. in Historic and Sustainable Architecture. After learning the British system of preservation, I returned to GSU to earn tassel #3 learning the American system through the MHP. I am happy to be back in sunny Atlanta for this new chapter!

Fun Fact: I once won a vuvuzela competition. The trophy? A bottle of the world’s strongest homemade Croatian grappa.

Meghan Foster- Public History

I graduated from Georgia Military College with my Associates in General Studies back in 2016, and I graduated from Augusta University with a double major in History and Anthropology in 2018. I also earned a certificate through Art Instruction Schools. I am a member of the Soul City Sirens roller derby league, and I am a semi-professional artist. I specialize in graphite drawings primarily done in realism. I am also an activist. My main focus is on human rights violations, that of which I want to research in academia. I believe that by understanding the past, I can help those in the present and future. History has always been a passion of mine, even from that of a young age, and I believe that it will help me achieve my goals on a professional level inside and outside of the workplace.

Fun Fact: Whenever I am in Washington, D.C., I can guarantee you that the first place I will try to visit is the Museum of Natural History, without a doubt. I can stay in there all day.

Alicia Guzman- Historic Preservation

GRA at the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

I am an Alumni of the University of Georgia. I have a B.A in History and a certificate in Historic Preservation. During my undergraduate studies I completed two study abroad programs in Ireland and Austria. Post graduation I completed a summer internship at Kennesaw State University's Museum of History and Holocaust Education. At the KSU internship I had the opportunity to assist in the reinterpretation and selection process of the entrance exhibit of the museum. The connections I made at the KSU internship inspired me to pursue the MHP program at Georgia State, and introduced me to influential figures in my field. In addition to taking class and working at the Georgia Trust, I am a part-time visitors associate at the Cobb Landmarks, William Roots House in downtown Marietta. When I have free time I enjoy biking on the Beltline, going to Atlanta United games, having brunch with friends, hosting wine and paint nights, and cuddling my 13 year old beagle.

Fun Fact: I played the cello for 8 years and can still read sheet music, and I danced for 14 years. I was on a dance team at UGA my junior and senior year and primarily performed contemporary and hip hop styles of dance.

Deniseya Hall- Public History

Graduate Assistant at the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources- Historic Preservation Division (African American Programs)

I am currently a first year graduate student for the Master's of Historic Preservation, Public History track. I am interested in art, community engagement and the public. I received my undergraduate degree in Art History at Georgia State University in 2016. From there I have interned at The Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs and worked in museums and galleries throughout Atlanta. My time in the field has allowed me to understand that I want to find meaning and purpose in spaces whether open or enclosed. My goal is to one day work in Public Art.

Veronica Healy- Public History

GRA for the GSU World Heritage Initiative

After graduating from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors in History, I decided to come to Georgia State where I am currently pursuing my Masters in Heritage Preservation with a concentration in Public History. I first became interested in public history after I began volunteering at several museums in the Atlanta area, which I still volunteer at to this day! KSU gave me the opportunity to explore my interests through my BA thesis where I studied Anglo-German relations prior to the outbreak of the First World War by looking exclusively at newspaper and journal articles written at the time. Additionally, I am also interested in urban and environmental histories in America. At GSU, I want to continue to explore my interests and help create voices for those who tend to go unheard in history. Eventually, I want to be able to work in a museum and curate content for it one day.

Fun Fact: I drink way too much coffee, and if you are ever at a coffee shop in Atlanta, chances are you’ll run into me there!

Joachim Hillier- Historic Preservation

Graduate Assistant at Oakland Cemetery

I'm from London, England, and came to Atlanta about four years ago. I came over initially for six months to set up an office here and one in Montreal for the media company I was working for, which specialized in making TV accessible for the deaf and the blind. Those six months ended up being two years, during which time I fell in love and got married. When my job was no longer there, I decided to stay and, after wondering what to do with my life, decided I'd study again in a field that interested me greatly. Everyone says the USA and more specifically Atlanta has no history compared to Olde Worlde Merrie Olde England, but I couldn't disagree more and I love it here. I miss home and family, but try to get back regularly when I can afford it!

Fun Fact: Though it's been a year or two, I can do all those Latin & Ballroom, Dancing With The Stars-type dances like Cha-Cha and the Waltz! Just try me!

Paige Jennings- Historic Preservation

GA for Oakland Cemetery

I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in History with a certification in Public History from Kennesaw State University in the spring of 2019. During my undergrad, I was an archival intern at the Bartow History Museum in Cartersville and later joined the staff at the Bartow History Museum as an educational program support member. I am interested in religious, political, and social history as well as the preservation of cemeteries, art, and museum collections.

Fun Fact: Outside of class, I enjoy trying to (and sometimes successfully!) build furniture in my family wood shop, paint, and visit as many museums as possible.

Kerum Kendall- Public History

I was born south of St. Augustine, Florida, but have resided in the Metro Atlanta Area for the past seventeen years. I graduated from Clayton State University with a bachelors degree in History and a minor in Media and Communication Studies. Growing up in a family of educators, I have always had a passion for learning. My love for history was encouraged by my time at Clayton State, as well as my time with the National Archives Southeastern Branch, which was located near the campus. At Clayton I spent much of my time learning about the complexities and the power of media, especially as it relates to history, in its various forms ranging from films to museums. I have always been fascinated by the role media can play in teaching history to the public, which led me to Georgia State’s Heritage Preservation program and the public history track in particular.

When it comes to what interests me in history specifically, while there are a number of areas I am interested in, if I was to list a main concentration it would be Southern history. Having traveled extensively throughout the Southeast and having worked on various historical research projects on the region, I have developed an extensive knowledge on the history of the South, particularly the intricate relationship and interactions between racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups in the region.

Fun Fact: I enjoying spending time and traveling with my family, especially to places we haven't been before like new museums, attractions, restaurants, etc.

Madelyn Livingston- Historic Preservation

GRA for the MHP Department

I graduated in 2018 from the University of Georgia with a BFA in Photography and a certificate in Historic Preservation. After graduating, I worked as the lead intern for Historic Athens, which solidified my desire to work in the field of historic preservation. I then decided to move back to Atlanta and pursue my Masters in Heritage Preservation here at GSU.

As an undergrad, I spent my time in both photography and historic preservation courses examining the ways that art and media interact with the world of preservation. With a background in marketing, I've become interested in looking at how the preservation community can market itself to the average person who may not know about or understand the concept of historic preservation.

Additionally, I'm interested in the Southern cultural landscape and the ways in which Southern myth have evolved to become a kind of false history. My BFA thesis was a series of photographs and some writing in which I explored the ways, overt and subtle, that the confederacy continues to manifest itself visually in the South.

Maggie Nicholson- Historic Preservation

Maggie Nicholson received her B.A. in Business and German from Sweet Briar College along with an Equine Studies Certificate focused on farm and stable management. After working for 10 years in corporate meeting and event planning, she decided to refocus her professional career with her personal passions of interior and landscape design. An added interest in all things antique and sustainable, historic preservation was the natural path.

A recent graduate of Emory University’s Landscape Design Certification program, Maggie has taken the first step in this new direction. Currently an Event Manager within Georgia Tech’s Capital Planning & Space Management Department, the educational environment has encouraged her to continue her academic pursuits and go for her Masters in Heritage Preservation with a focus in residential historic preservation not just for structures themselves, but also the landscapes they inhabit. Working under the belief that landscapes are an extension of the architecture and a buffer with the natural setting, Maggie’s designs utilize native species in creative, textural, and tranquil ways to showcase the building and increase outdoor living space.

Fun Fact: Currently renovating a 1959 ranch house in Chamblee, she hopes to apply the methodologies learned and information gained in GSU’s Historic Preservation program to this real life renovation project.

Elise Peterson- Public History

Podcast Host of More Stories from the Nest (A Podcast History of Brer Rabbit Hosted by the Wren's Nest/Joel Chandler Harris Historic House)

My introduction to public history began in the summer of 2012. Working away a college summer waiting tables in a MetroAtlanta barbecue restaurant, I met a local history museum curator who had happened in for lunch. A couple of sweet teas and a hundred questions later, I'd found my calling.

Since then, I have honed my craft through internship, student project, and employment experiences with museum and archival institutions across the country and globe. These include the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, Georgia); Euharlee Welcome Center and History Museum (Euharlee, Georgia); Provo Pioneer Museum (Provo, Utah); Special Collections of Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah); Wordsworth Trust (Grasmere, United Kingdom), Bartow History Museum (Cartersville, Georgia); Marietta Museum of History (Marietta, Georgia); and Wren's Nest/Joel Chandler Harris historic house (Atlanta, Georgia).

My continued education through Georgia State's MHP program has been a gift, opening my mind to new methodologies of history-making, the ins-and-outs of museum life, and the exciting world of podcasting. Atlanta, in addition to being my hometown, has proven a perfect fit for my research interests in Civil War memory and the Southern folklore tradition of Brer Rabbit. My non-professional interests include the Braves, Atlanta United, the Avett Brothers, modern art museums, Dr. Pepper, and watercolor painting.

Fun Fact: I was once chastised by an HR representative for writing "goodbye peasants!" in an (internal) out-of-office email.

Jayme Warren- Historic Preservation

GRA at Easements Atlanta

I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design. I volunteered with the Roswell Historical Society to help their nomination for the "Old Roswell Cemetery" to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. I am currently attending Georgia State University to obtain my M.H.P. in the Historic Preservation Concentration. I am excited to be working with Easements Atlanta Inc. to re-evaluate their properties.

Fun Fact: I love almost all music, I played bass clarinet in the symphonic and marching band in middle and high school. I have been to five concerts in the last year. I enjoy doing anything creative, whether it be painting, drawing, crafting, cooking, singing, or dancing. Being in nature helps rekindle my muses and refreshes my soul.

Michelle Bard- Historic Preservation 

I earned degrees in History & Art History 20 years ago and have returned to earn my Masters in Historic Preservation. I am a self-proclaimed "museum geek" who pursued degrees in History & Art History to be able to work in a variety of museum settings. During my undergraduate years, I studied abroad at the University of London and interned at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I am an enthusiastic anglophile and francophile and took this international opportunity to explore much of France and the U.K. 

Upon completing my undergraduate work, I worked at the Atlanta History Center. I "retired" to raise a family. During that time, I filled many roles including that of substitute teacher, President of the Atlanta Sherlock Holmes Society, and leader of two Girl Scout troops. I also serve as a Director on the Board of Clan Wallace. As my children are older, I determined that it was time to focus on what I wanted to do in life. I have a passion for historic buildings and am interested in their preservation, management, and interpretation. I am pursuing my Masters in Historic Preservation to further that dream.

George Doyle- Certificate in Historic Preservation 

I am pursuing a Certificate in Heritage Preservation at Georgia State while graduating from Georgia Tech with a Master of Science in Urban Design in 2020. I am working to better-understand how new real estate developments and redevelopments in urban areas impact their local communities and drive economic sustainability. Additionally, I am strategizing better ways to reduce transportation costs for people in these areas by emphasizing inclusively designed spaces that foster internal capture trips between places. I lead the production of the COVID Conversations podcast for the Georgia COVID-19 project. Learn more about George Doyle’s academic and professional experiences at 

Mclain Stenland- Historic Preservation

Mclain Stenland graduated from the University of Georgia with BAs in Anthropology and History and a BS Ed in Social Studies Education in 2017. She grew up with a love for art, the outdoors, history, and other cultures and thankfully got to experience traveling to different countries when she was little which made her fascinated with how other people lived. Throughout her undergraduate years, she interned at the Watson Brown Foundation and enjoyed working with the kids and teaching them about archaeology and history. She loves teaching and helping kids experience learning about history from around the world so she worked as a history teacher for the past three years. 

Mclain is interested in most world cultures and she especially loves learning about the social justice and cultural movements within each. She would love to work as a museum educator, applied anthropologist, or possibly go back to teaching but wants to see where this master's degree and new experiences take me! 

Fun Fact: Mclain grew up on a self-sustainable farm so she loves gardening, riding her horse, and working with the farm animals. She trained her llama to be a therapy llama and we use our goats to make soap, yogurt, and cheese. Mclain also loves sewing and nuno felting with the sheep’s wool and wants to learn to weave next. 

Blair Banks- Certificate, Public History

After graduating from Salem College in 2015 with my BA in Race and Ethnicity Studies, I returned home to Metro Atlanta and began pursuing job opportunities at local museums. Between internships and employment, I’ve had the pleasure of working at multiple Midtown museum treasures: the Breman Museum, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and the Museum of Design Atlanta. Seeking a change of pace, I moved into my current role at Georgia Tech as an Educational Outreach Manager at CEISMC, GT’s institutional arm for K-12 STEM outreach. As a USG employee, I am currently taking advantage of the Tuition Assistance Program (also known as TAP), which allows me to attend graduate school for free – a benefit for which I am forever grateful!

While I am pursuing my Master’s in Africana Studies and not heritage preservation, I still hold a very special place in my heart for public history, and decided earlier this year that I could not graduate without receiving this certificate as well. Additionally, my thesis research questions if current interpretations of U.S. slavery and the Civil Rights Movement in local Atlanta area museums possibly retraumatize or empowers African American patrons.

Fun Fact: I absolutely love musicals and can’t wait for the upcoming season. To date I have seen, The Lion King, The Color Purple, Hamilton, Once Upon This Island, and Wicked.

Storm Whitfield- Public History

My name is Storm Whitfield. I am in my third semester of the Heritage Preservation Master’s program on the Public History track. Before the program I taught special education and coached football and sprinters on the track and field team. I hold a GRA position in the Georgia State Special Collections Archives where I assist in the labeling and creating metadata for labor history videos. I also intern at the Gwinnett County Historical Society where I do research for several projects at the request of members and patrons. I also work on scheduled historic projects for the historical society at the historic courthouse building. My research interests are based mostly in 19th and 20th century culture and athletics, historic buildings and sites, and the early American republic.