History, Philosophy & World Perspectives

Alumni Success Stories

Matthew Alesi ’07 became a Capital Markets Analyst at Allen Tate Mortgage in Charlotte, NC in 2020.

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. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware.

Kimberly Ballaro ’08 is the Director of the Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach (HERO) Center. In 2022, she was awarded the Simon Konover Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Teaching. Prior to this position, she lived and worked in Germany as the Assistant Director of Studies and English Language Trainer in Leipzig teaching adults English so that they could advance professionally and work or study abroad.

Kayla Balzer ’19 works as the Event Planning Coordinator at Brandies University in Boston.

TaNesha Barnes MA ’09 owns her own business and is travelling the world! She is currently the owner of T. Barnes Global Lifestyle, the founder of the Black Freedom Colony and the Executive Director of Mwasi Creative Community currently located at Sbai Palace in M’Hamid (Sahara), Morocco. TaNesha leads international travel with the goal of promoting Black travel, expanding one’s sense of belonging in the world and breaking down racial stereotypes. https://tbarnesgloballifestyle.com/

Jenny Bellhumeur ’17 works as the Resource Compliance Coordinator in the 

Miramanee Blackwell ’17 works as the Lead Business Office Associate for Carmax. Prior to this position, she worked as an English tutor for the GeoVisions Foundation in Florence, Italy.

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

Sveinn Bragason ’97 MA ’06, who works as a consultant at MS Capital, LLC, was elected to be President of the New Canaan Volunteer Fire Department in 2019. Sveinn has been a licensed EMT since 2015 and firefighter since 2016.

Rosanna Bruzzi ’11 became an intermediate school English teacher in the Pacifica School District in California in 2020.

Jessie Britton ’14 works as the Manager of Pricing and Planning at Fox Sports in New York City. Prior to this position, Jessie traveled and guided others around the world as a Travel Consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. While working as a travel agent, Jessie appeared on the television show 48 Hour Destination in their New York segment. This show was 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 a police officer in the NYPD. While at WCSU, Chris worked 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. Christ would love to hear from fellow alumni and WCSU students.  Brown373@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.

Rachel Ciocca ’14 is Director of Client Services at the Warner Group in Shelton, CT.

Cody Clark ’17, took a job as the Outreach Coordinator for the House Democratic Office in Hartford, CT in 2020. Prior to this position, he worked as an intern in the Connecticut General Assembly and then worked on the 2018 gubernatorial campaign for Dan Drew, the former 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.

Chris Doyle ’82 has enjoyed a long and successful career as a History teacher. Chris earned a Masters in History from Trinity and a PhD from UConn. His dissertation was entitled “Lord, Master, and Patriot: St. George Tucker and Patriarchy in Republican Virginia, 1772–1851”. He spent eight years teaching History in the Farmington public school system. Then, he worked as the Director of Global Studies at the Watkinson School. Now, he is the Chair of the History Department and the head Coach of Varsity Cross Country at Avon Old Farms. Chris has published numerous editorials and articles in the academic journal Teaching Ethics, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Hartford Courant and Education Week among many others.

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 works as the Marketing Coordinator of Rush Street Interactive, a social gaming company headquartered in Chicago.

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

Paul Fuller ’13 works at the University of Southern Maine as part of their Digital Projects initiative. He has also worked as an assistant curator at the Maine Maritime Museum and 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.

Kevin Gaughan ’11 completed a PhD at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2018.

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.

Meghan Hastings ’14 is Assistant Director of Admissions at Western Connecticut State University.

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

Sean Keenan ’15 is a PhD Student in Southeast Asian History at UC Riverside, studying under the direction of David Biggs. He won a 2022 Fulbright-Hays fellowship to complete his dissertation research on French colonial infrastructure on the Vietnam-China borderlands!

Joshua Kleinwaks ‘17 earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Binghamton University in 2021. While at Binghamton, he also worked as Education Initiatives Assistant at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.

Joann Kokorus  ’05,  M.A. ’07  is the Vice President, BSA & OFAC Officer at Liberty Bank, in Middletown, CT. She is also an adjunct History professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

David Kozlowski ’99, an attorney, works as Senior counsel in the Bankruptcy, Restructuring, & Governance Practice Group and Digital Assets Practice Group at Morrison Cohen LLP, New York, NY which represents billion dollar corporations. He earned his JD from St. John’s University’s School of Law in 2006

Danny Krohn ’09; MA ’13, after spending time as a Senior Support Specialist at IBM and Yale University, took a position as a Senior Information Technology Specialist at MFP Technology Services in 2020.

Lesley Lema ’16 works as the Children’s Program Coordinator at the Danbury Public Library. She will be attending graduate school in the Fall 2022 at UConn studying digital media and design. Previously,. she has worked as a paraeducator at Rogers Park Middle School and a library clerk at the Bethel Public Library. She has also worked at the Women’s Center of Greater and the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut. Danbury. Lesley also runs marathons and hosts her own podcast.

Brandon Lisi MA ’20 was named President of the Hudson Valley Writer’s Workshop in 2020. In that year, he also published How Eric Sloane Retold American History, a book based on his MA thesis at WCSU.

Samantha Mortara ’21 is attending law school at UConn and will soon earn her JD. She also works as a 

Anthony Monterosso ’14 has been a Social Studies Teacher at Central High School in Bridgeport since 2018.

Amy Nassef ’14 works as a Development Associate at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

Erik Ofgang ’07 is a Senior Writer for Future Magazine, an Adjunct Professor at Mercy College and Western Connecticut State University, and an author of several historical works. From 2014-2020, he was Senior Writer with Connecticut Magazine.

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.

Carla Quispe ’19 is Talent Acquisition Coordinator at Elara Caring Healthcare. While still at WCSU, Carla worked at two internships as a legal intern including one at the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Anthony Rosado ‘18 is a fifth grade Humanities Teacher and the History Lead at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City.

Jermar Rountree ’08, has been working as the physical education/health teacher on the Brightwood campus of Center City Public Charter School Washington, D.C. since 2016 where he teaches students in pre-K to eighth grade. Rountree majored in History (B.A.) and played for WCSU’s football team. Coach Rountree was named the 2023 District of Columbia Teacher of the Year! He was invited to the White House to be recognized for this great accomplishment. Congratulations!

Annmarie Savarese ’15 is Assistant Director of Admissions at Western Connecticut State University.

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. Zach currently works as an Intelligence Analyst with Concentric Advisors, a Washington-based company that provides intelligence services to major tech companies on the West Coast.

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 Director of Student Activities at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Civil Service Commissioner of the City of Danbury, and Owner of Hat City Consulting. He served on the Danbury City Council for eight years.

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.

Ryan Wolfson-Ford ’07 received his PhD in Southeast Asian History from the University of Wisconsin in 2019. He is the Southeast Asia Reference Librarian at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC!