Student Profiles

Hannah Brecker- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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- First Year, 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.

Heather Meadows- Second Year, 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.

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- Second Year, 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- First Year, 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.

Hannah Zboray- Second Year, 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- First Year, 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.

Michelle Bard- First Year, 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 Heritage 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 

Gage Williams- First Year, 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.

Mclain Stenland- First year, Heritage 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. 

Sarah Borcherding- First year, 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!