Alumni News

Matthew Harris, Kutztown University, Class of 2018, B.A., History

Matthew is attending West Virginia University, where he earned his MA in history in 2020 and is now working toward a PhD • He also assists with US History Survey courses, pre- and post-1865 • Matthew presented twice at the HECBC Conference on topics concerning Black Resettlement and military funeral traditions. He worked with faculty mentors Drs. Gabriel and Gambone. Matt said, “it’s important for undergraduates to have a support system and not think of themselves as 'islands.' [Teaching undergraduate courses] has definitely given me more appreciation for my own undergraduate professors. It is also very rewarding when students ask strong questions and show particular interest in a topic I am discussing. While you may go into a conference presentation expecting to be the one speaking and informing, you’ll often come out having learned just as much.”

Madison Weary, Kutztown University, Class of 2010, BSED-SOCIAL STUDIES

"My name is Madison Weary and I am a 2010 KU grad (Secondary Education/Social Studies). I am currently a 7th-grade social studies teacher in the Springfield School District (Delco) and an adjunct professor at West Chester University. I recently spoke to Dr. Johnson about successfully defending my dissertation in March 2021 at West Chester University, and expressed my sincere gratitude to the KU History Department (so much so that I made sure to give the department a shout-out on my acknowledgments page). I was beyond lucky to have had so many professors at KU who believed in me and am forever grateful to them for instilling within me a love of learning and a belief that I belonged in the academic world. The title of my dissertation is 'Implementing Content Literacy and Disciplinary Literacy: A Mixed Methods Study of Middle School Teachers' Pedagogical Dispositions.'"

Liz Hopkins, Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History

Liz Hopkins is a Rare Book Cataloger for The Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2016, she pursued a career as a Textile Archivist for The Allentown Art Museum, where she cataloged and conserved objects from over fifteen centuries. As an avid reader, Liz ventured into working for independent bookstores, where she fused her knowledge of museum handling skills and books together. Today, she has worked with nearly 2,000 scarce and rare books ranging from the early 1500's to valuable signed editions from the 20th century.

Erich Lenz, Kutztown University, Class of 2016, B.A., History with Minor in PA German Studies

"I work in the courthouse as a deputy for the Lehigh County Register of Wills division. My duties include facilitating probate appointments for attorneys and their clients, processing inheritance tax documents, and providing general administrative support vital to the efficiency of our office. Our division is just one part of a larger office that handles other important matters such as Recorder of Deeds, prothonatary, and criminal matters. A history major is well-equipped to work many positions available in the public sector. Additionally, courthouse positions often require strong research skills which, ideally, most history majors will have naturally cultivated during their academic career. An interest in public history led me to work with several government owned museums and historic sites. It is a privilege to serve in this capacity. I urge prospective history majors to think outside of the box and consider all the different career paths they can pursue with the unique skills they will develop."

Carolyn Wasser, Kutztown University, Class of 2017, B.A., History & BSED Library Science

Carolyn has sailed aboard the ExyJohnson and other tall masted sailing ships, teaching students history, marine biology, navigation, and sail training. All of the lessons are hands-on as students raise sails together, snorkel, and kayak to learn about fish and ecosystems and sail to historic ports. Carolyn reports, "I love it! I get to share my love of history and sailing while being outdoors 24/7."

Aimee Bernard, Kutztown University, Class of 2014 , B.A., History

Aimee is currently the Membership & Development Assistant at The Frick Art and Historical Center. Aimee has said: "studying History at Kutztown gave me the foundation I needed to pursue an M.A. in Public History. The research, analytical, and writing skills I gained in the History Department are the skills I use every day in my career. My time at Kutztown was not only some of the most enjoyable years, but the most rewarding."

Tarra Raspanti, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History - M.A., University of the Arts

Tarra is currently the Event Manager for Manor College. She has worked as the Event and Rental Coordinator for the Arch Street Meeting House and The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, as well as an assistant at Wells Fargo Historical Museum. She previously interned at the Arch Street Meeting House, The Academy of Natural Sciences, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA. She also interned at the PA German Cultural Heritage Center here at Kutztown University.

Alyse Evans, Kutztown University, Class of 2002, B.A., History - M.A., Millersville

Alyse creates and presents programs to students about the history of the Eisenhower National Historic Site and the life and times of President Eisenhower.

Corey (Summers) Fake, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History w/ PLG - M.A., Public Applied History, Southern New Hampshire University

Corey is currently a Solicitor's Paralegal for Franklin County, PA. Previously, she held positions as a court reporter, a Notary Public, and a Historical Guide at Thaddeus Stevens' Blacksmith Shop. She was also named Harrisburg Magazine's Young Person of the Year in 2017.

Amanda Zimmerman, Kutztown University, Class of 2010, B.A., History

Amanda Zimmerman is a Park Ranger at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park within the Division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers. She is stationed in the park’s Palisades District (Potomac, MD) where she acts as the lead for interpretive planning, historical research, social media, and visitor services. She also recruits, hires, and trains seasonal park staff and interns, coordinates safety and diversity training, and coordinates community engagement opportunities. Additionally, Amanda has served in the role of Park Ranger at Prince William Forest Park, Bandelier National Monument, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Hampton National Historic Site, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Amanda earned a B.A. in History from Kutztown University in 2010. She was enrolled in Kutztown University’s M.Ed. program with a concentration in Social Studies before enrolling in East Stroudsburg University’s graduate program where she is pursuing an M.A. in History with a concentration in Public Memory.

Kelly J. McManus, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History - M.A., History, William Paterson University, Currently: Museum Attendant at the Dey Mansion

Since graduating from Kutztown University in 2015, Kelly has used the knowledge and skills he acquired to earn a Master’s Degree in History from William Paterson University. Kelly has gone on to employ the professional conditioning he received from these two institutions at the Dey Mansion, a Historic House Museum which portrays the stay of George Washington at the home in 1780, during the American Revolution. "It's a great thing to find work in your field of study, and the experiences I’ve had at Kutztown really made that possible. The professors are passionate and dedicated to the students here. I wouldn’t have had the amount of success I did had it not been for their counsel and guidance.”

Alyssa Brophy, Kutztown University, Class of 2018, B.A., History - M.A., History, M.S. Library Science, Simmons University

Alyssa graduated in May 2021 from Simmons University, Boston, MA. She received a MA in History and a MS in Library Science with a concentration in Archive Management. "My graduate thesis is titled, "Paesani to Peoples: The Construction of Italian Races and Self-Identity in Philadelphia in the Early Twentieth Century." The thesis is a combination of genealogy, race science, immigration history, various government voices, and immigration legislation. I utilized genealogical research in immigration history with the use of passenger manifest, census records, and naturalization papers. (At KU) I picked the History program because it was an area that I was interested in and wanted to expand my knowledge. Luckily, I discovered that I liked the idea of researching ancestral roots during my time at KU. All the professors at KU helped me design a path that headed towards the career of genealogy. Multiple professors suggested the Library Science minor where I ended up learning about archives. Dr. Gabriel helped me obtain three internships, two of which were in a special library collection and archive. Dr. Johnson continually pushed me academically and challenged my perspective on history. I could always count on Dr. Rodriquez for a bit of life advice and some laughs. I want to thank the History Department because they allowed me to explore different routes that intrigued me in the History field. They encouraged me to take initiative towards new ideas I had while in the program."

Tim Cirino, Esq., Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History - Doctor of Law, (Juris Doctorate) in Environmental Law, Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law 2017

Tim, currently employed as a contract attorney, said, "I think people underestimate how useful a History Major is in law school!"

Samantha Miller, Kutztown University, Class of 2011, B.A., History - M.A., University of Pennsylvania

Samantha is currently the Jr. Contract Administrator at Frank Recruitment Group and was formerly a Digital Imaging Technician and DAMS Metadata Manager at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Rebecca Van Horn, Kutztown University, Class of 2015 - Summa Cum Laude, B.A., History

Rebecca is a Doctoral Candidate of History and Culture at Drew University.

Lilly Kleppertknoop, Kutztown University, Class of 2011, B.A., History

Lilly is a Forensic Historian & Environmental Research Consultant in Maryland. She uses her history skills to examine land use for real estate transactions.

Guy Morrison, Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History - M.A., Villanova University - Ph.D., Cambridge University

"Receiving a history degree from Kutztown University has opened so many doors for my future as a historian. With the guidance of Dr. Saidi and Dr. Johnson (pictured with Guy at Cambridge in the above photo), I was admitted to Villanova and then Cambridge University. The KU History department really took their time to help me reach my goals and aspirations. Whether it was in or out of the classroom, the faculty of Kutztown's history department really cared about my endeavors. I would not be where I am today without their insight."

Sheila Joy, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History - M.A., Public History, Shippensburg

Sheila is an Archivist at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA.

John Hoptak, Kutztown University, Class of 2000, B.A. History

John serves as an interpretative Park Ranger with the National Park Service and teaches courses as an adjunct instructor at American Military University. Hoptak has written articles for America's Civil War, Civil War Times, and Pennsylvania Heritage. He is also the author of several books.

Brittaney Eshbach, Esq., Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History, with Minors in Mathematics and Political Science, Doctor of Law (Juris Doctorate) Pennsylvania State University, the Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, PA., 2017

"While pursuing my B.A., the History Department at KU afforded me numerous opportunities to hone my research, critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. As a law student, those skills are invaluable, and I utilize each of them on a daily basis. In particular, with regard to some of my Constitution-based classes, having a History degree has given me a better understanding of the legal landscape because I am aware of the context within which the cases have arisen. My History degree has provided a solid foundation for the start of my legal career."

Sarah Ford-Richards, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History & B.S., Psychology - Clinical Counseling -M.A., History - Rutgers University, M.A., History & Philosophy of Science and Technology - NJ Institute of Technology, NJIT US AID Fellow - Cape Town, South Africa, ESL and Adult Education Instructor at Alleghany Intermediate Unit - Greater Pittsburgh, PA

"One of the most important things I learned while studying history at KU was to never limit myself. Being a history major doesn't limit your options to just teaching in a classroom. Rather, the knowledge and skills acquired from studying in this field can open doors to numerous opportunities. You just have to be creative and inspired by the work that you do. What the faculty at KU taught me went beyond the classroom and encouraged me to achieve excellence."

Andrew Majcher, Kutztown University, Class of 2008, B.A., History

Andrew is a Records Manager/Digital Archivist at Brown University. He has said, "my History degree from KU reinforced the skills needed to succeed, such as research methods, organization, writing techniques, and public speaking. I use these skills constantly in my job and while obtaining my Masters of Library and Information Science degree with a specialization in Archives and Records Management. The real value of the History Department at KU is the faculty; I wouldn't have been as successful during my time at KU without their motivation and encouragement."

Shane Moran, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.S., Secondary Ed (Social Studies) Minor (History)

Shane is currently teaching U.S. and World History at Weatherly Area High School in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. Shane said, "my love for history and its many facets of research and methodology were fostered and fine-tuned in the Kutztown University History Department. The professors expanded on my many interests in history with their wide variety of expertise. They provided me with an array of ways to convey information and think about history, which I incorporate into my history classes every day. They also made me realize that one day I would like to teach at the collegiate level."

Brian Pawling, Kutztown University, Class of 2001, B.S., Secondary Education/Social Studies, Current Position: Business Manager at Brandywine Heights Area School District

"While my career path did not lead to a position related to history, the education and the relationships I formed in the KU history department really helped prepare me for a professional career. Dr. Gabriel, Professor Fries, Dr. Sanelli, Dr. Valuska, and others empowered me to put forth my best effort, and those skills helped me through my MBA program. I use the education I received at KU daily to serve the students and community in administering a fiscally responsible program while meeting the educational needs of the children in the Brandywine Heights School District."

Joseph Zagorski, Kutztown University, Class of 2000, B.S., Secondary Education/History/Social Studies

Joseph is a published author and the Chief of Interpretation at the Obed Wild and Scenic River in Wartburg, Tennessee. "The most rewarding thing to me about being involved in the History program at KU was just having the opportunity to learn more in-depth about the history of America from some of the best professors in America. (The Professors) really made learning at KU a joy. My degree has enabled me to have a prominent role in the National Park Service and has afforded me an opportunity to make a living wage."

Vaneesa Cook, Kutztown University, Class of 2001, B.A., History - M.P.A. (2004)

"There's no doubt that the KU History faculty inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. However, it wasn't until I began graduate school that I realized how well the program had prepared me not only in terms of historical content, but also in the methodology of historical research and writing. It's nice to know I can still count on KU faculty for guidance and support after all these years as an alum."

Matt Harris headshot
Madison Weary smiling next to her laptop, which displays her dissertation title page
Liz Hopkins standing in front of a tapestry with a deer in a pen
Erich Lenz headshot with Main Street in the background
Carolyn Wasser on her boat, unraveling a rope and wearing sunglasses with other sailors in the background
Aimee Bernard sitting in an office chair.
Tarra reclining on ground in front of large 3D 2021 sign, draped in blue and white balloons
Headshot of Alyse Evans smiling in front of a stone building
headshot of Corey holding a sunflower, with a field of sunflowers in the background
Amanda Zimmerman in her park ranger uniform.
Headshot of Kelly McManus
Alyssa Brophy walking along a cobblestone path between small, old brick buildings
Headshot of Tim Cirino with a blue background
Samantha Miller giving a thumbs up in front of a library bookshelf
Rebecca Van Horn smiling and standing in front of a KU wallpaper backdrop
Lilly Kleppertknoop giving a presentation, the presentation screen reads: "Forensic History/Research Consulting"
Guy Morrison and Dr. Johnson outside Cambridge's Laboratory of Physical Chemistry
Sheila Joy headshot
John Hoptak black and white headshot
Headshot of Brittaney Eshbach
Sarah Ford wearing her robes at her graduation ceremony, with her arms around her family members
Headshot of Andrew Majcher
Shane Moran standing in front of a bookcase in the library
Headshot of Brian Pawling
Headshot of Joseph Zagorski
Vaneesa Cook eating a cheesesteak with her husband