WCSU Covid-19 Information Fall 2021

Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences


Alumni Success Stories

Ryan Bachman ‘12, who won both a Truman Warner Scholarship Award and the first Herbert Janick Award for the best essay written by an undergraduate in the department,  received his M.A. in History from James Madison University in 2016, where his research focused on human exhibitionism in the Early American Republic. His publications include the forthcoming book, African-American Property Ownership in Downtown Harrisonburg, 1850-1860 and “John Mosley and the Closing of the Hampshire County Courthouse,” in The New England Journal of History (2014).  Ryan was also a Summer Fellow at Historic Deerfield in 2012, and Executive Editor of the Madison Historical Review at James Madison University from 2015 to 2016.

Kimberly Ballaro ’08 has started her own business. She is the Assistant Director of Studies and English Language Trainer and lives in Leipzig, Germany. Kimberly teaches adults English so that they can advance professionally and work or study abroad.

Will Boylan ’08 teaches Social Studies at East Ridge Middle School. Will is also working toward his Masters degree in History at WCSU.

Jessie Britton ’14 is currently traveling and guiding others around the world as a Travel Consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. While acquiring her degree, Jessie was exposed to many cultures, traditions and religions. Her career will present her with plenty of opportunities to fulfill her dream of travelling around the world. Now Jessie is appearing on the television show 48 Hour Destination. Jessie will be featured on the New York segment. This show will be aired all across the US and Australia. Jessie has also published an academic article. She was one of three student authors of “A Poisoned Past Book Review Assignment: Reading and Writing Academic Book Reviews as an Effective Pedagogical Tool” in the New England Journal of History 73:1 (Fall 2016), 116-131. For more information or to order a copy, visit https://www.nejh.org/

Christopher Brown ‘16 is working with Congresswoman Kathleen Rice’s Campaign now as a field organizer. Prior to working in Congresswoman Rice’s office, Christopher worked for New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky of the 9th District as a community liaison to Baldwin, New York and as a scheduler for Senator Kaminsky. Christopher said that majoring in History prepared him beautifully for these positions because knowledge about the past prevents future mistakes. He also worked hard to develop research skills and to learn how to articulate his ideas. He definitely mastered paying attention to detail! Christopher would love to hear from fellow alumni and WCSU students.  Brown373@connect.wcsu.edu

Jamie Cantoni ’09 focused on the history of medieval and Victorian Britain and social and cultural history. Currently, she is the Executive Director and Curator of the Cornwall Historical Society and the Adjunct Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at WCSU.  “I’ve mostly used my history major in researching materials that I have found in archives, and for researching and creating exhibits. Being a history major was beneficial to my career in that it taught me how to look at things which may not appear significant to bring material and topics to life. Also, how to take topics that people may not think they find interesting or have any tie with, and have them walk away with a personal connection and a new found interest.”

Jon-Thomas Caprino ’15, who earned his MBA from the Van Loan School at Endicott College, works as a Project Manager at Acquia in Boston.

Cody Clark ’17, who has been interning in the Connecticut General Assembly, is now working on the gubernatorial campaign for Dan Drew, the current mayor of Middletown, CT.

Maranda Cox ’15 is the Resident Director at Fairfield Hall at WCSU. In 2018, she earned a Masters degree in Counseling in Higher Education with a specialization in Student Development at Central.

Michael Ferguson, BA ’13 and MA ’15, has been elected to public office! He is now the House Representative for the 138th District (Danbury). He had also previously served as a Member of the Danbury Board of Education, 2013-present; and as a member of the Danbury Planning Commission, 2012-13. He also served as the chairperson of the Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) Board of Directors. Congratulations!

William Devlin ’76 will be delivering the Keynote Address: “Research as a Journey” at WRD this year, May 2016. Mr. William Devlin graduated with a B.A. in History from Western Connecticut State University in 1976, and received his Master’s in American Cultural History and Museum Studies from the University of Vermont in 1980. For the past 28 years he has taught History at Darien High School. During his career he has consulted for many historical preservation projects in Connecticut, including for the Danbury Preservation trust where he was responsible for the nomination of several Danbury landmarks to the National Register of Historic Places. He has written numerous feature length articles on local history for The News-Times, and for many years authored its “25 years ago in the Danbury area” column. Most recently he coauthored a book with WCSU Professor Emeritus Herbert F. Janick titled Danbury’s Third Century: Urban Status to Tricentennial, published by Western Connecticut University Press.

Alec Florio ’17 has taken a job with the National Park Service.

Michael Frazer ’13 works as an Admissions Officer at the Culinary Institute of America at Syracuse University.

Paul Fuller ’13 works as the Adult Services Specialist at Watauga County Public Library in Boone, North Carolina. Previously, Paul also worked as the Survey Technician for the town of Boone. While completing his Masters in History at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Paul also worked as an Education Associate at the Bostonian Society and as an assistant archivist at the University of Boston. While he was a student at WCSU, Paul worked as a curatorial assistant at the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum in Washington, CT.

Will Gurry ’16 is teaching at Broadview Middle School. He returned to WCSU to earn a Masters in Counselor Education ’20.

Kendyl Harmeling ’19 has completed her Master’s degree at the University of Louisville where she has worked as a Teaching Assistant and as a Consultant at the University’s Writing Center. Kendyl has presented conference papers and published in the University’s literary journal Miracle Monocle. She will remain at Louisville to complete her PhD.

Charles Hill ’15 works as the Education, Building and Events Coordinator at the Lockwood-Matthews Mansion Museum in Norwalk.

Bianca Paolello ’13 and MS in Counselor Education ’16 is now the ‎Assistant Director for Student Organizations and Programming at Fordham University. Bianca is also teaching courses in the Kathwari Honors Program and works as an assistant cheerleading coach at WCSU.

Mark Paskell ’17 will be moving to Japan to teach English in the Japanese school system in the Kanto region, located on the main island of Honshu! His story has been featured here: https://news.hamlethub.com/danbury/neighbors/45270-wcsu-graduates-earn-appointments-to-teach-english-abroad

Elizabeth Polaco ’13 teaches Social Studies at Crosby High School in Waterbury.

Ryan Prescott ’11 worked as the Director of Internship Development at Northwestern Mutual for over five years. during that time, he continued to volunteer at WCSU as an Advisor at the Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation at Western Connecticut State University. Since July 2019, Ryan has been working at V2: Strategic Advisors as the SVP of Global Operations.

Jenny Scott ’09 and MA ’14 teaches Social Studies at Bethel High School.

Lynn Schoenbeck ’17 earned a Master’s degree in Viking and Medieval Norse studies at the University of Iceland in 2019. She was then invited to be the keynote speaker at WRD 2019 and delivered her speech “Tale Isolde as Time: A Comparative Analysis of  a Key Female Figure Across the Middle High German and Old Norse Tristan Epic” in which she spoke about her experience using Icelandic archives and studying medieval documents. She earned a second Master’s in Museum Studies from NYU in 2021. Lynn has acquired a great deal of experience working in museums. She has worked at the South Street Seaport and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She served as a coordinator of a conference on Norse culture at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Currently, she works at the KGB Espionage Museum in New York City.

Zachary Schroeder ’19, who was a double major in History and Political Science at WCSU, completed his master’s degree in Security Policy Studies at George Washington University in the Spring 2021. His research focused on terrorism, insurgency, and international organized crime leading to a capstone project that analyzed the nexus between human trafficking and jihadism in West Africa. While a graduate student, Zach published many times. Some of his published articles are available online: “Macron’s Battle Against Extremism Deserves American Support,” The Defense Post, 1 April 2021 https://www.thedefensepost.com/2021/04/01/macron-battle-extremism/ ; “Violent Islamism Reaches Latin America, the Caribbean,” CEP CounterPoint, 29 March 2021 https://www.counterextremism.com/blog/violent-islamism-reaches-caribbean-latin-america ; “Extremism Movements Anchored in Historical Interpretation,” CEP CounterPoint, 18 February 2021 https://www.counterextremism.com/blog/extremist-movements-anchored-historical-interpretation ; “The Tale of Two Countries: Parallel Societies, the Clash of Civilizations, and Jihad in France,” International Affairs Review, Winter 2021 https://www.iar-gwu.org/print-archive/walo9blyi7f2khrooz06ntl01q6sd1 “Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan: The World’s Next Narco-State?” Global Risk Insights, 2 November 2021, https://globalriskinsights.com/2021/11/taliban-controlled-afghanistan-the-worlds-next-narco-state/ Zach has been invited to be a regular contributor to Global Risk Insights and will be publishing here regularly.

Patrick Shea ’13 works in the Digital Archives at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston! Prior to this position, he held the position of Digital Archives Assistant at the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Before moving to Boston, he worked as a museum consultant at the Danbury Railway Museum.

Andrew Vince ’17 is teaching History and Social Studies in the Barnstable Public Schools in MA.

Andrew Wetmore ‘10 is an At Large member of the Danbury City Council. Since August 2017, he has worked as the Director of Student Services at Northwestern Connecticut Community College.

Claire Whittemore ’12 is a Production Coordinator at AMG Funds. Prior to this position, she worked as a Marketing Product Coordinator at Reed Exhibitions.

Ben Wild ‘14 completed his MTS at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2016. He is now the Executive Director of the Walkabout Education Foundation in Cambridge, MA.