Over fifty graduate students currently study, teach, and conduct research in the Department of History . The History Graduate Student Organization (HGSO) is an advocacy group for graduate students and sponsors guest lectures, workshops for professional development, and social events. Several recent students have received prestigious Fulbright grants or other fellowships and awards to undertake archival research in Britain, France, Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Italy, Peru, Liberia, and the United States. Students serve as members of departmental and university committees, and administer an active History Graduate Student Organization.
For the past year, doctoral candidate Caitlyn Dial has held a fellowship at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, Michigan, where she has been able to work with several collections and on a number of exhibits. Last summer, Dial was instrumental in installing the “Ice Age Imperials” exhibit, which explores the prehistory of Berrien County. In April, Dial served as the creator and sole curator of a new exhibit on the St. Joseph’s Fire Department. Dial has also added social media to her repertoire, helping the center develop a presence on Facebook and promoting the Ice Age exhibit with a Twitter account in the persona of a sabertooth tiger. Dial is in her last year as the Stephen S. Upton Fellow in Public History. Her dissertation brings together Dial’s public history experience with her passion for Maritime History. The dissertation examines the cultural history and memory of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, particularly why some, like the infamous Edmund Fitzgerald, become part of local history and culture, while other more disastrous wrecks seems to be forgotten altogether. After completing her dissertation, Dial hopes to continue working in a public history setting, ideally as the director of a museum.