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Public History Alumni

Jeffrey M. Flannery
1983, M.A., Public History

Currently: Head of Reference & Reader Services, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Jeff Flannery

I was born and raised in the greater Philadelphia area, receiving a B.A. in History from Temple University in 1978. A life-long "history nerd," I was at a crossroads in the early 1980s when I discovered a new program offered by Duquesne University. The M.A. in Public History (Archives, Editing, and Museum Studies Program, as it was then called), provided education and training in alternative careers for history graduates in the emerging field of public history. Taking advantage of a generous assistantship granted by the History Department, which defrayed the costs of my education, I earned my M.A. in Public History from Duquesne in 1983, concentrating in archival studies.

After a Duquesne-sponsored internship with the University of Pittsburgh archives, I was hired as an entry level archivist with Pitt in 1983. I found that Pittsburgh was (and still is), fertile ground for those considering history and library careers, with the Three Rivers area offering numerous internship opportunities, in an environment steeped with history and the cultural arts. Within two years of graduation, I landed my dream job in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, where I am currently the Head of the Reference and Reader Services Section. The Manuscript Division is custodian of a world-renowned collection of more than 65 million primary source documents relating to American history -- among these treasures are the personal papers of such American notables as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Walt Whitman, and Pittsburgh's own Andrew Carnegie. In a library career spanning more than 30 years, I constantly draw upon my Duquesne education to provide reference services for academic and general researchers. The graduate level courses in American history provided a solid framework for my knowledge of American history and honed my skills in analysis, critical thinking, and writing, which are key requirements for a successful career. Combined with coursework in archives and museum studies, and paired with practical internships under the guidance of helpful faculty mentors, I credit Duquesne for launching me towards a fulfilling career. Contact Jeff!

Lauren Churilla
2010, M.A., Public History

Currently: Curator/Director, Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Collection & Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University

Lauren Churilla

"In my sophomore year of my undergraduate career at St. Vincent College, I discovered Public History and took my first internship at Hartwood Acres. That summer, not only did I engulf myself in the archival process, but I found myself drawn deep into the hidden stories of the past. 

"I was hooked and I knew I wanted to continue into the world of Public History. As I applied to graduate school for Public History, I faced a major life decision. Duquesne was the only school I applied to. My now husband was at school at the University of Pittsburgh, my family lived in the Pittsburgh suburbs, and I had no desire to leave Western Pennsylvania. I suppose I could have applied to other local programs, but Duquesne came highly recommended by my undergraduate faculty and I wanted a program that would emphasize hands-on experiences. By all means, the internship program and professional courses were some of the most valuable and attractive features of the program. Being that I had a good deal of experience with archives and collections coming into the program, I chose to focus on historical editing and museum education. Two months prior to my graduation in 2010, I was hired at my alma mater as the Curator/Director of the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery, a position I have now held for the past six years.

"I was deeply influenced by Professor Elaine Parsons's U.S. Social Movements class and decided to pursue a certificate in Women's and Gender Studies. It was Professor Parsons and my interest in women's studies that inspired me (after a five year hiatus) to return to academic life for a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University. Returning to the classroom was invigorating and the passion I had felt for the past in my lectures at Duquesne was reignited. I keep in touch with several of my former professors and their advice has been invaluable as I continue my studies. Where my path leads from here, only time will tell, but I am forever grateful to Duquesne and the many friends I have met along my journey thus far, without them, I would not be where I am today." Contact Lauren!

Kelsy Traeger

2014, M.A., Public History

Currently: Curator, Museums of Oglebay Institute

Kelsy Traeger

"The classes and internships that I completed while I was a student at the Duquesne provided great preparation for my current position as museum curator for the Museums of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, WV. In my current position, I oversee collection management, exhibits, and develop programming. My classes at Duquesne strengthened my knowledge of American history and I was able to gain a better understanding of the fundamentals of the museum field and best practices. In addition, the internships I completed gave me great practical experience and connections for establishing my career." Contact Kelsy!