Department of History
Varner Hall, Room 416
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
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(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528

Alumni Profiles

Alumni of the Department of History have achieved success in a wide variety of professional fields. The following profiles, drawn from a mixture of older and more recent graduates, provide a brief glimpse into the career paths of just a few of our distinguished alumni. (Since many of our graduates hold teaching positions in secondary education, a separate list of brief teachers' entries appears under a separate tab.)
Alumni Profiles

Martha Allen
Martha Leslie Allen is the director of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP) in Washington, D.C. As an undergraduate student at Oakland, she was active in a number of progressive causes and was a member of the OU chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. After completing her B.A. at OU in 1969, she went on to receive the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Howard University. She has served as director of WIFP since 1985.

Andrew Bashi
Andrew Bashi completed his B.A. in history and international relations at OU in 2009. He then entered law school at Loyola University in Chicago, where he received the 2011 C.B. King Award for Student Leadership, a distinction given by the National Lawyers Guild to just one student in the United States. He completed his J.D. in 2012 and currently is a public interest law fellow with the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.

Mark Baskin
Mark Baskin is currently Research Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York in Albany.  After completing his B.A. in history at OU, he went on to receive his M.A. from the University of Zagreb and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.  Before assuming his present position Dr. Baskin spent several years with the United Nations, serving as a Civil Affairs and Political Affairs Officer in the UN Missions in Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia.

Donna Bennett
After completing her B.A. in history at Oakland in 1970, Donna Bennett received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1978. After teaching at numerous universities in North America and Europe, including the University of Newcastle and the American College of Arts and Sciences in Paris, she currently is an associate professor of finance at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va.

Andrea Brandon
Andrea Brandon received her B.A. in history in 2008 and currently is completing her M.Sc. in environmental science at Johns Hopkins University. In 2010, Brandon joined The Nature Conservancy, a private nonprofit environmental organization, and currently is working as the Central Appalachians program coordinator leading forest planning, restoration and natural resource conservation solutions on public lands in West Virginia. She serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council, and in 2011, she received the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region Volunteer of the Year Award for her work in launching West Virginia and Virginia’s first invasive species management collaborative.

Jan Bulman
After receiving her B.A. in history at Oakland in 1995, Jan Bulman went on to complete the Ph.D. degree in medieval European history at Michigan State University in 2003. She currently is associate professor of history at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala. Her first book, The Court Book of Mende and the Secular Lordship of the Bishop: Recollecting the Past in Thirteenth-Century Gévaudan, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2008.

Lee Casey
Lee Casey completed his B.A. in history magna cum laude at OU in 1979 and went on to receive his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1982. He has served in various capacities in the federal government, including the Office of Legal Policy and Office of Legal Counsel within the U.S. Department of Justice, serving also as deputy associate general counsel in the U.S. Department of Energy in the early 1990s. He also taught at the George Mason University Law School for several years and served from 2004 to 2007 on the United Nations Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. He currently is a partner in the law firm of Baker Hostetler in Washington, D.C.

John Cohassey
John Cohassey received his B.A. in history from OU and his M.A. in history from Wayne State University. As a freelance writer, he has published numerous pieces in The Detroit NewsMetroTimes and other media. His first book, Toast of the Town: The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998), won an award of merit from the Historical Society of Michigan. In 2007, he served as a consultant for the acclaimed History Channel documentary Hippies. His most recent book, co-authored with OU emeritus professor Roy Kotynek, is entitled American Cultural Rebels: Avant-Garde and Bohemian Artists, Writers and Musicians from the 1850s through the 1960s (Jefferson, N.C.: Macfarland, 2008).

Robert Douglas Cope
R. Douglas Cope is associate professor of history at Brown University in Providence, R.I. He completed his B.A. in history at OU before pursuing graduate study at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D. in 1987. Professor Cope is the author of numerous works on Latin American history, including The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660-1720 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994).

Moureen Coulter
Moureen Coulter received her M.A. in history from Oakland University in 1978, under the tutelage of the late Gerald C. Heberle and Melvin Cherno.  She went on to earn the Ph.D. in British history from Indiana University in 1986.  Her publications include Property in Ideas: The Patent Question in Mid-Victorian Britain (1991) and Irish Women's Voices Past and Present, co-edited with Joan Hoff (1995).  She currently works as Book Review Editor for the American Historical Review.

Benjamin Dacin
Benjamin Dacin completed his B.A. in history in 2010 and was a member of the OU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. He currently is in his final year of law school at the University of Detroit Mercy, serving also as a law clerk in the Detroit office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His first publication, "Legal Materiality and the Implied Certification Theory of the False Claims Act," is forthcoming in the Michigan State University Journal of Medicine and Law.

Brian Figot
Brian Figot received his B.A. in history and political science from OU in 1978 and his J.D. in 1981 from Wayne State University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Wayne Law Review. In addition to practicing law in Franklin, Mich., he has held a variety of leadership positions over the past three decades, including serving as president of the Eastern District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Administration and as vice-president of the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.

Robert Gibbs
As an undergraduate student at Oakland University, Robert Gibbs specialized in Russian history. After receiving his B.A. from OU in 1977, he went on to receive a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan. Having founded the Gibbs Planning Group in 1989, he now an internationally renowned expert on urban planning and one of the world's leading representatives of New Urbanism. He is the author of Principles of Urban Retail Development and Planning (Wiley & Sons, 2012), and recently was honored as a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer by the Clinton School of Public Policy at the University of Arkansas.

Garry J. Gilbert
Garry Gilbert received both his B.A. and M.A. degrees from OU's Department of History, writing his M.A. thesis under the direction of Professors Roy Kotynek, Carl Osthaus and Karen Miller. From 1998 to 2006, he served as executive editor of the largest daily newspaper in Oakland County, The Oakland Press, serving also as president of the Michigan Associated Press Editors Association. He then taught journalism at Michigan State University before returning to his alma mater in 2007. He currently is director of the journalism program at OU and has served on the board of the Oakland University Alumni Association. He was named the winner of the Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000.

Roy Gold
Roy Gold is the mayor of Coral Springs, Fla., a city with a population of more than 120,000. He completed his B.A. in history at OU in 1973. After serving for many years as co-president of Cambridge Diagnostic Products, a laboratory chemical manufacturing company in Fort Lauderdale, he began his political career in the early 1990s and currently is in his second term as mayor of Coral Springs. He also serves as chair of the National League of Cities' Leadership Training Council.

Ian Greenspan
Ian Greenspan received his B.A. in history from OU in 1997 and completed his Ph.D. in European history at the University of California-Berkeley in 2006. His dissertation was entitled The Blasting of Trumpets: Admonitory Literature and the Intellectual Culture of Religious Exile, 1540-1590, and his most recent research and publications focus on the history of antisemitism. After teaching full-time at Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School for several years, he returned to OU in 2011 and currently is a special lecturer in the Department of History.

Stephen Gutwald
As an undergraduate student at Oakland, Stephen Gutwald was the recipient of the Werner Holzbock Humanities Fellowship, completing his B.A. in history in 2006. He went on to receive his M.A. in history (with honors) from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and currently is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Central Michigan University. His dissertation project is entitled Empire and Enlightenment: Scotland and India in the Eighteenth Century.

Adam Hobart
Adam Hobart was a member of the OU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta as an undergraduate student, completing his B.A. in history in 2011. He achieved the rare distinction of having two separate papers win the prestigious Nels Andrew Cleven Prize, one of the top national awards bestowed by Phi Alpha Theta, in consecutive years. He currently is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska.

Michael K. Honey
Michael Honey is one of the foremost historians of the civil rights movement in the United States. He received his B.A. in history from OU, his M.A degree from Howard University and his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. He currently is the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professor of Humanities and History at the University of Washington in Tacoma. His first book, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), won the James A. Rowley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the Southern Historical Association's Charles Snydor Prize, and the Herbert Gutman Award from the University of Illinois Press. His second book, Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), received the Southern Historical Association's H.L. Mitchell Award and the Southern Regional Council's Lillian Smith Award. His third book, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007), received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award from the RFK Foundation, the OAH's Liberty Legacy Award, and the Southern Historical Association's H.L. Mitchell Award, as well as receiving significant media coverage, including features in The Washington Post and on NPR's Fresh Air. Professor Honey also has published an edited volume of labor speeches by Martin Luther King Jr., entitled All Labor Has Dignity (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011), and recently was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for work on his current project, Sharecropper's Troubadour: The Narrative, Songs, and Poetry of John Handcox.

Robert Kelver
After completing his B.A. in history at OU in 1973, Rob Kelver studied Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan, and embarked on a career in international finance, specializing primarily in treasury sales. He spent more than two decades with Bank of America, most recently as senior vice president, before accepting a position in 2008 as executive director of MNC Treasury Sales with J.P. Morgan in China.

Craig Korpela
After receiving his B.A. from the University of Michigan, Craig Korpela completed his M.A. in history at OU before proceeding to obtain his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.  He is currently Assistant Professor of History at Olivet College and serves as the advisor for the Olivet College chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.

Jennifer Laam
Jennifer Laam received her M.A. degree in history from OU in 2009. Her M.A. thesis, entitled "Flirting With Power: Women and Political Identity in the Early Republic," won Oakland University's 2009 Outstanding Thesis Award. She currently is working as a development research analyst at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Her debut novel, The Fifth Daughter of the Tsar, is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press.

Steve Lehto
After completing his B.A. in history at OU, Steve Lehto received his J.D. from the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, Calif. He currently practices law in Royal Oak, Mich., and has taught Michigan history at the University of Detroit Mercy as well as teaching consumer protection and trial practice at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. He is a prolific author. Among his most notable publications are Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder (Momentum Books, 2006) and Michigan's Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton (Momentum Books, 2009). His latest book, Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation, was published in October 2010 by Chicago Review Books with a foreword written by NBC late-night television host (and noted car enthusiast) Jay Leno. The book also was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan.

Stephen Livesay
Stephen Livesay is the president of Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. After completing his M.A. in history at OU, he went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1988. He taught history and education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and then served as vice president of Institutional Advancement at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Miss., before accepting his present position at Bryan College in 2003.

Joshua Miller
As an undergraduate at OU, Joshua Miller was the recipient of the Holzbock Humanities Fellowship, completing his B.A. in history and political science in 2008. He proceeded to law school at the University of Maryland and received his J.D. magna cum laude in 2011. He has since returned to the state of Michigan and currently is assistant prosecuting attorney in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.

Elizabeth Millwood
Elizabeth Millwood received both her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oakland University and is a specialist in oral history methodology. She currently holds the position of outreach coordinator with the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 2004 she was the recipient of UNC's Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award. She also currently serves as chair of the International Committee of the Oral History Association.

Jason Myers
Jason Myers received his B.A. in history from OU in 2004 and then attended Loyola University in Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in European history in 2010. He has held positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver, and his first book, a revised version of his dissertation, entitled The Great War and Memory in Irish Culture, was published by Academica Press in 2012.

Stephanie Ridella
Stephanie Ridella, a member of Phi Alpha Theta, received her B.A. from OU in 2008 and a paralegal certificate, also from OU, in 2010. She went on to complete her M.A. in medieval European history at Loyola University in Chicago, writing a thesis entitled "Emotions and the Law: Rape in Thirteenth-Century England." She currently is in her second year of law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and in the summer of 2012, she was an Equal Justice America Fellow at the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago.

Seth Schindler
After receiving his B.A. in history from OU, Seth Schindler completed his M.A. at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany. He currently is a Ph.D. student at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he is writing a dissertation entitled "Producing Urban Space and the Transformation of Informal Retailing in Delhi, India." He is the recipient of a Geller Award from the George Perkins Marsh Institute and in 2011 was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation.

Timothy Shanahan
Timothy Shanahan received his B.A. in social science-history from Oakland University in 1972 and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1980. Having authored or co-authored several dozen scholarly articles and book chapters over the past three decades, he currently is professor of education and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Shelley Stern
Shelley Stern received her B.A. from OU in history and French, going on to complete her M.A. at Central Michigan University. She served for several years as vice president of sales for AT&T and currently is director of community outreach for Microsoft in Chicago, responsible for the Midwest District. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Holocaust Memorial Foundation and currently is on the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Ann Stock
Mary Ann Stock completed her B.A. in history at OU in 1997 and went on to receive her M.S. degree in historic preservation from Eastern Michigan University. After working for several years at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., she currently is programs coordinator at the Toledo Museum of Art and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Museums Association.

John Stoll
John Stoll was a member of the OU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta as an undergraduate, receiving his B.A. in history in 2000. He worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires for several years, covering issues related to Detroit and the auto industry, before serving as manager of global corporate news for the Ford Motor Company, overseeing Ford's financial news communications around the world. In 2012, he accepted a position as Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires and currently is based in Sweden.

Robert E. Sullivan
After receiving his B.A. in history summa cum laude from OU, Robert Sullivan went on to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in European history at Harvard University. He currently is professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, where he also has served as director of the Erasmus Institute and as associate vice president for Academic Mission Support. Professor Sullivan is the author of numerous scholarly works, including John Toland and the Deist Controversy: A Study in Adaptations (Harvard University Press, 1982), Higher Learning and Catholic Traditions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2001) and Macaulay: The Tragedy of Power (Harvard University Press, 2009).

Nathan Thomas
As an undergraduate student at OU, Nathan Thomas was a member of Phi Alpha Theta and received his B.A. in history in 2011.  He is currently in his second year at the Michigan State University College of Law and expects to receive his J.D. in 2014.  He has clerked for chief judge David F. Viviano of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Macomb County, and currently serves as a law clerk with the Sam Bernstein Law Firm.

Carolyn Vieira-Martinez
Carolyn Vieira-Martinez received her B.A. from Oakland University, her M.A. from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. from UCLA. Her dissertation, Building Kimbundu: Language Community Reconsidered in West Central Africa, 1500-1750, combined historical linguistics methodology with GIS technology to study the social history of central Angola. She currently is assistant professor of history at Chapman University in California.

Tobi Voigt
Tobi Voigt received her B.A. in history from OU in 2004 and her M.A. in museum studies in 2006 from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a collaborative venture of the New York State Historical Society and the State University of New York. She served for several years as manager of statewide programs at the New York State Historical Society and currently is director of education and interpretation at the Detroit Historical Society.

Thomas Volgy
Thomas Volgy received his B.A. in history and political science from OU before completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Minnesota. He currently is professor of political science at the University of Arizona. He has authored or co-authored more than three dozen scholarly articles and seven books, including Politics in the Trenches: Citizens, Politicians, and the Fate of Democracy (Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 2001), which currently is in its third printing.

Richard Wade
After completing his B.A. in history at Oakland in 1993, Richard Wade went on to receive his J.D. degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and his LL.M. in trial advocacy from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University. He currently is a partner in the law firm of Goldstein, Schmidt and Wade in Vero Beach, Fla.

Ann Marie Wambeke
Ann Marie Wambeke served as a graduate assistant in OU's Department of History, completing her M.A. degree in 2010. Her thesis, entitled "Faculty Confrontation and Consensus: The University of Michigan Teach-In and Its Aftermath," won OU's Outstanding Thesis Award in 2011. She currently is a Ph.D. student in U.S. history at Wayne State University and a staff member at WSU's Center for the Study of Citizenship.

Cynthia Wilkey
After receiving her B.A. from OU in 1987, Cynthia Wilkey completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Ohio State University. She currently is associate professor of history at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, where she also serves as coordinator of the Women's Studies program. In 2011, she won the Harrison Award for Outstanding Advising.

Matthew Zalewski
Matthew Zalewski served as president of the OU chapter of Phil Alpha Theta as an undergraduate, completing his B.A. in history and political science magna cum laude in 2004. He received his J.D. from the Wayne State University Law School in 2008 and served for two years as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Dearborn Department of Law. He currently is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University.

Nancy Zimmelman
Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil completed her B.A. in history at OU in 1983 and went on to receive an M.A. in history and a graduate certificate in archival administration from Wayne State University. She began working for the California State Archives in 1987 and currently serves as State Archivist of California and Chief of the Archives Division within the California Office of the Secretary of State. When she was appointed State Archivist in 2006, she became the first woman in California history to hold that position.

Secondary Education

Kristin Avey
Currently teaching history at Dakota High School in Macomb, Mich.

Wendy Baeckeroot
Currently teaching history at Lake Orion High School in Lake Orion, Mich.

John Bernia
Currently principal of Oakview Middle School in Lake Orion, Mich.

Katie Blaszczyk
Currently teaching history at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.

Scott Bosek
Currently teaching Social Studies at Pontiac Academy, a college prep charter school in Pontiac, Michigan.

Geri Brandimarte
Currently teaching social studies at Cranbrook Kingswood Girls' Middle School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Josh Carroll
Currently teaching history at Plymouth High School in Plymouth, Mich.

Anthony Costa
Currently teaching AP government and politics at Social Justice High School in Chicago, Ill.

Katherine Ellerbrock
Currently teaching social studies at Jefferson Middle School in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Matthew Enochs
Currently teaching history at the Detroit Service Learning Academy, a public charter school in Detroit, Mich.

Kimberly Garner
Currently teaching at Cy-Fair High School (in the Cypress-Fairbanks School District) in Cypress, Texas.

Wayne Haney
Currently teaching history and serving as social studies department head at North Branch High School in Lapeer, Mich.

Kathie Hines
Currently teaching social studies at Andrews Osborne Academy, a coed boarding school in Willoughby, Ohio.

Rodger Hunwick
Currently teaching social studies at Parcells Middle School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

Christopher Layson
Currently International Baccalaureate program coordinator at Utica Academy for International Studies in Utica, Mich.

Angela LoPiccolo
Currently teaching history at Dakota High School in Macomb, Mich.

Mathew MacLeod
Currently teaching history at Lahser High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Robert May
Currently teaching social studies in the Flint Community School System in Flint, Mich.

Patrick Moroschan
Currently teaching in the Wilmette Public School System in Wilmette, Ill.

Kathryn Quinn
Currently teaching students with autism in the Grosse Pointe School System in Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Evan Rokicki
Currently teaching social science at International Academy East in Troy, Mich.

Bryce Ropp
Currently teaching at Ann Arbor Learning Community, a public charter school in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michael Ruddy
Currently teaching social studies and serving as Model UN adviser at the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Jennifer Sponseller
Currently chair of the ESL Program at Idyllwild Arts Academy, a private boarding school in Idyllwild, Calif.

Robert Walker
Currently teaching at Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a school for gifted secondary students in Glendale, Ariz.

Timothy Wallace
Currently teaching social studies at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

J. Scott Wickson
Currently principal of Auburn Hills Christian School in Auburn Hills, Mich. 

Michael Zimmerman
Currently teaching social studies and serving as assistant athletic director at Imagine Prep, a public charter high school in Surprise, Ariz.