Spring 2022 MA Program Newsletter

The Spring 2022 semester of the Pace–Gilder Lehrman MA in American History Program is well underway, with three never-before-seen courses led by professors who are new to teaching the Pace–GLI cohort of students: Professor Margaret O’Mara from the University of Washington, Professor Alan Taylor from the University of Virginia, and Professor Steven Mintz from the University of Texas at Austin. At the start of the semester we had almost 680 enrollments in courses. With the help of our faculty and the Gilder Lehrman and Pace University team, we were excited to begin the new year with more than 75 new students admitted into the program.

In this Spring 2022 newsletter, we are happy to share the accomplishments of students and alumni from the program–including new career developments and published articles–as well as our upcoming courses and Spring 2022 Abraham Lincoln Scholarship recipients.

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Student and Alumni Accomplishments

In order to be included in a future highlight, email onlinecourses@gilderlehrman.org with the subject line MA Newsletter, and let us know what exciting things you are doing in the world of history or K–12 education.

Theresa MaughanA huge congratulations to Theresa Maughan, who was named the 2021–2022 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year! Theresa is a social studies teacher in the East Orange School District, currently teaching at the STEM Academy. In her position as Teacher of the Year, Theresa’s responsibilities include visiting classrooms across the state to lead professional development workshops and working with the NJ Department of Education to review the state’s Student Learning Standards. She is also involved in recruiting educators who will implement curricula that reflect the state’s diverse student population. You can read more about her accomplishments in this article on the New Jersey Education Association website.

My personal mission is to "learn something new" each day and I try to transfer that love of knowledge and research to my students… I believe it is important for teachers to have an impact on education beyond their own classroom, and I have welcomed the opportunity to improve not just my own teaching skills, as well as helping others connect with new teaching resources and strategies through the workshops I’ve led.–Theresa Maughan

The MA Program is also excited to announce a new initiative by the Jersey City Public School District to fund higher education for K–12 social studies teachers. New Jersey received the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds as a part of the US COVID relief program for schools, and the social studies supervisor for the Jersey City district directed some of those funds to help teachers get their master’s degrees in American history. Two teachers from the district, Joe Maini, in his second-semester in the MA Program, and Christina Sivo, who plans to complete her degree in summer 2022, will benefit from this professional development support. They shared their thoughts on the initiative:

I do think it’s a great fit for teachers in the district. You cannot beat the price and the ability to take classes remotely. You can go at your own pace, and attain a master’s degree without worrying about commutes or missing any classes.–Joe Maini

The classes are incredibly useful about providing practical knowledge and resources that teachers can utilize in the classroom. They’re affordable and the time requirements for the classes are manageable with our workloads. There’s also always interesting classes to choose from every semester. I love how much stronger my subject knowledge is as a result of the classes.–Christina Sivo

Pace–GLI graduate Jaime Licon, who current students may recognize as a facilitator for our live Q&A sessions, found that earning his master’s degree opened up new opportunities for his career. He is leaving his position as a K–12 teacher to teach at San Jacinto College, a community college in Houston, Texas. We wish him luck as he transitions to teaching in higher education!

Thomas Gage to Sir William Johnson, May 4, 1764. (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC08378)

Thomas Gage to Sir William Johnson, May 4, 1764. (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC08378)

In other New Jersey news, New Jersey teacher and current student Kevin Conn has published two articles in the Journal of the American Revolution over the course of his studies in the Pace–Gilder Lehrman program. “The Lenape Origins of an Independent America: The Catalyst of Pontiac’s War, 1763–1765,” which he originally researched for the MA Program course American Indian History, can be found here. His second article, “Contingencies, Capture, and Spectacular Getaway: The Imprisonment and Escape of James Moody,” was published November 24, 2020, and includes research that he completed in the American Revolution MA course. The article appears both on the website here and in the hardcover 2021 annual edition of the journal.

My experience with GLI has been exciting, as it has expanded my knowledge of American history and gotten me back into the habit of not only doing meaningful research, but also pulling my thoughts together and putting them into concrete form on paper. After twenty-seven years of being an autodidact, it is a welcome and valuable experience to be a student once more, as well as a teacher.–Kevin Conn

In a conversation with Pace–GLI graduate and Utah high school teacher Kyler Bingham, we learned about his unparalleled appreciation for one of the distinguished professors in our program, David Blight, and Kyler’s inspiring ability to connect with students as he worked toward his degree. He found his enthusiasm and incorporation of the material he was studying into his own lectures also led to more engagement from all of his students. His own excitement over learning led him to complete the degree in one year, a feat not many could pull off while also working full time. With his degree, he also began teaching a concurrent enrollment class–a college-level survey of US history. This could be particularly impactful because many of his students could be the first generation in their family to pursue higher education.

Once I saw the professors that were teaching the courses, that’s what really made me make sure I signed up. And honestly, I wasn’t planning to get done in a year, I just got so excited with the courses being offered.–Kyler Bingham

Margaret Robitaille, who graduated from the program in August 2021, presented her research paper “The True Woman and the New Woman: How Slave Narratives and Abolitionist Fiction Redefined the Antebellum American Woman” at the 2021 South Western Social Science Association annual meeting. Margaret completed this research for the spring 2020 course Origins of the Civil War with Professor James Oakes. During the program she took particular interest in the concept of the Cult of True Womanhood.

I enjoy studying period fiction, legends, and lore in juxtaposition of societal trends and expectations, particularly for women. My master’s thesis reviewed New England supernatural folktales of the 19th century as proscriptive literature for women and in line with societal expectations of women as evidenced in contemporary ladies’ periodicals, such as Godey’s Lady’s Book, and argued for these legends to be included into the pool of literature that defines and defends the historiographical concept of the Cult of True Womanhood.–Margaret Robitaille

Spring 2022 Q&A Facilitators

We’d like to thank our Spring 2022 Q&A Facilitators for their valuable contribution to the MA Program! Throughout the semester, each course has five live sessions where students interact with course lead professors and ask questions about lectures, readings, and research. This semester, the following current students and alumni have stepped up to facilitate live sessions with lead professors and their students. 

  • Eric Alvarez
  • CherylAnne Amendola
  • James Coe
  • Kevin Conn
  • Kim Denning-Knapp
  • Jaime Licon
  • Jennifer Harrison Macon
  • Craig Moore
  • Alan Nuñez

If you are a current student or have graduated from the MA Program and are interested in facilitating Q&A sessions in future semesters, please contact onlinecourses@gilderlehrman.org.

Summer 2022 Course Offerings

The Summer 2022 semester will run from June 2, 2022 through August 25, 2022.

The Lives of the Enslaved

Daina Ramey Berry, Professor and Chair of the History Department, University of Texas at Austin

This course is a study of enslaved people and the ways human beings coped with captivity. Students will listen to their voices through audio files, diaries, letters, actions, and silences. In addition to listening to enslaved people, students will have the opportunity to engage cutting-edge scholarship on the subject. Although the early literature objectified enslaved people and hardly paid attention to their experiences, work published since the Civil Rights Movement and into the twenty-first century offers rich accounts of enslaved life. Some of the specific themes addressed in this course include gender, sexuality, region, labor, resistance, pleasure, love, family, and community among the enslaved.

The American Revolution

Denver Brunsman, Associate Professor of History, George Washington University

This course will explore the American Revolutionary era, defined broadly. Participants will gain insight into new scholarly approaches to traditional subjects, including American resistance to British rule, the decision for independence, and America’s victory in the Revolutionary War. In addition, participants will consider marginalized figures and groups, including loyalists, women, African Americans, and American Indians, whose roles challenge conventional interpretations of the Revolution. Finally, the course will examine how the Revolution gave birth to a new–and fractious–style of politics under the Articles of Confederation and US Constitution. This dramatic range of people and events is not for the faint of heart. Participants will engage in a project as timeless as the Revolution itself: interpreting what exactly American independence meant for the inhabitants of North America and the world.

The American West

Elliott West, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas

The American West has played an enduring role in the popular culture of the nation and the world. The images are familiar: cowboys and cattle drives, Indian wars, wagon trains, rowdy mining towns, and homesteaders. All in fact were part of the story, but behind the color and drama of films, novels, and art were developments critical to the creation of the modern American nation and its rise as a global economic, political, and military power. The West was as well a showplace of the industrial, social, technological, and scientific forces remaking the world beyond America. This course will trace the expansion of the United States to the Pacific, the exploration of the West, the defeat and dispossession and profound tragedy of its Native peoples, and environmental transformations matched at few if any other places on earth. Within all of this were compelling human stories that are part of our collective national identity.

World War I (A Six-Week Compressed Course)

Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies, United States Army War College

The era of the First World War was a crucial period in the development of modern America both as a nation on the international scene and in terms of economic, social, and political institutions at home. This course explores American reluctance to enter the war as well as the forces that caused it to abandon its stance of official neutrality; the country’s involvement in the war on the home front and on the fighting front; and its emergence into the post-war world. Instead of focusing on the Great War itself or the influence of the US on its outcome, lectures and readings will examine how American conceptions of identity, democracy, and its role in the world changed over the course of the war.

World War II (A Six-Week Compressed Course)

Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies, United States Army War College

This course builds context and nuance into the traditional views with which Americans have seen World War II. Although keeping the American experience at the center, it will always view that experience through a global lens. We will challenge some of the myths and half-truths that Hollywood has bequeathed to Americans about the war, while introducing students to some arguments that have emerged from the latest scholarship on themes like the home front, the actual fighting of the war, and the processes of peacemaking. This is not the course to learn more about George Patton and his tanks; it is intended to be a scholarly and objective analysis of the interplay between US, world, and military history during the most destructive war ever.

Spring 2022 Abraham Lincoln Scholarship Recipients

Thanks to the generosity of an external funder, we now offer 100 Abraham Lincoln Scholarships of $500 each to be distributed throughout the academic year. Applications for the 33 summer term Abraham Lincoln Scholarships are open until May 2, 2022. The recipients of spring scholarships are listed below.

Michael BennettMichael Bennett | Parnassus Preparatory School | Maple Grove, Minnesota


“I am very pleased to receive the Abraham Lincoln scholarship, as this will ease a little of the financial burden of classes and it is a nice way to finish the program at Pace. Over the past three years I have greatly enjoyed the master’s program and have learned so much that I am able to share with my students. I had been out of the classroom for almost 20 years when I decided to enroll in the program in the winter of 2018. Loving all things JFK, I was intrigued by the Kennedy Presidency course that was offered with Barbara Perry and decided that I would give grad school a try. Three years later, with a wealth of new knowledge, this has easily been one of the best personal and professional decisions I have ever made. I am excited to continue to pass my love of history on to my students and wish all current GLI students the best of luck going forward in the program.”


Connie Blyther | VirtualSC | Columbia, SC

“I am very thankful to have this scholarship! This program is extremely helpful and accommodating for working professionals. I have been impressed by the professors and rigor of work. I’ve learned so much and am just getting started!”


Shannon CasteloShannon Castelo | Collegiate School | Richmond, VA

“I am grateful to the Gilder Lehrman institute for providing such a high-quality accessible program for educators to continue pursuing their love of history so that we can continue to hone our craft in the classroom. This chance to study under the tutelage of some of the country’s premier history scholars is an honor and a privilege and my students benefit daily from the knowledge I have gained. The generosity of the scholarship is greatly appreciated! Thank you!”


Irma Castillo | Henry J. Kaiser High School | Fontana, CAIrma Castillo

“I am truly honored and grateful to receive this scholarship. The GLI MA program has been the most challenging, yet rewarding, educational and career experience of my life. It has reignited my passion for teaching the subject I love so much. After considering a career change, I decided, instead, to broaden my knowledge and skills in American History. This program has not only expanded my knowledge, it has inspired me to continue growing as a student of history. Thanks to GLI, I have a renewed sense of purpose as an educator and I am thankful that I did not opt for a career change.”


Kelsey ColemanKelsey Coleman | South High School | Bakersfield, CA

“I am immensely thankful for this scholarship! This program so far has been enlightening, challenging, engaging, and wonderful. I love telling my high school students what I am learning about and I enjoy modeling the benefits of being a life-long learner. I am completing this master’s degree in the hopes of offering dual enrollment at my high school. I cannot wait for my students to earn collegiate credit for all of the hard work they put in each day. Thank you for this opportunity and experience!”


Keina CookKeina Cook | Killeen High School | Killeen, TX

“Being a student in the Gilder Lehrman/Pace University Master’s program has been life-altering. I have been blessed to learn from world-renowned scholars and to have augmented my own historical knowledge in vast and exciting ways. Because of this program, I was able to create curriculum and cull resources for my African American Studies course with Dr. Daina Ramey Berry. I have grown as a writer because of the guidance of expert section professors and I have access to the best research. It is with great humility that I acknowledge the fact that the scholarship is named after President Lincoln, without whose actions my story would be impossible. I’ve always been academically inclined, but life’s twists and turns pushed my pursuit of higher education well past my thirties. However, I feel I am in the exact place I was destined to be and I am ever grateful for what Gilder Lehrman has allowed me to achieve in my career and am anxious to pay it forward.”


Patricia CrockerPatricia Crocker | Holy Family Catholic School | Port Allen, LA

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Gilder Lehrman as a recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship. As an educator of over 20 years, I value the opportunity to continue to expand my knowledge in order to bring my students factual and relevant information. This graduate program has allowed me to share with them a deeper appreciation for our nation’s history.”


Allie DanielsonAllie Danielson | Rochester Adams High School | Rochester Hills, MI

“When I originally planned on being a teacher, I was whole-heartedly an ELA teacher. It was only after taking a few history courses in undergrad that I realized passion was there for that subject as well, so I met with my advisor and added history as a second degree. In my years teaching, it is in my history classes that I feel I am at my strongest as a teacher. I love the ability to tell stories about the past, make connections with my students, and instill a love of history in them. I am so grateful for the Gilder Lehrman program for allowing me to dive into the subject more deeply and enrich my classes with the things I have learned!”


Elliott Dial | Loomis Chaffee School | Windsor, CT

“There are so many teachers out there that are deserving. The past two years have created so much animosity around education, but I also try to think about the creativity that has always been in education that we have been able to showcase to the world as well. The program has helped me develop class curriculum that my students seek. They ask to be seen in the material they are learning or to be challenged with their critical thinking and Gilder/Pace has helped me do that.”


Andrea GilderhusAndrea Gilderhus | Stride, Inc. (Formerly K12) | White Salmon, WA

“I’m ecstatic to receive this reward. This will help me towards my goal to complete my program.”


Shawn Graybeal-SellersShawn Graybeal-Sellers | Albuquerque School of Excellence | Albuquerque, NM

“Thank you so much for the scholarship. I am really enjoying learning more about US History. The courses have been rewarding and very interesting. This scholarship will enable me to continue working toward my MA.”


Amy HamAmy Ham | Brown County High School | Sterling, IL

“I’m so grateful for this scholarship and for the Gilder Lehrman MA in American History program. This program is helping me become a better teacher and historian. This program is set up in a way that you are able to be successful and balance the multiple workloads of courses, teaching, and family life.”


Erron HundtErron Hundt | Oshkosh West High School | Oshkosh, WI

“I am so excited to be receiving this scholarship! I started this program a month after having my first child (actually getting my acceptance email the day I gave birth!) I love the professors and the program. I thought starting a master’s program would be intimidating, but everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I feel like the classes I will be taking will help me greatly in my classroom and I’m so happy to have found this program.”


Ivory Johnson | Simmons Junior/Senior High School | Hallandale, MS

“I am honored to receive this scholarship, and for the opportunity to participate in GLI programs. I look forward to completing my MA through the GLI, and to using what I learn to improve educational outcomes for my students.”


Abigail KremerAbigail Kremer | Mercy Academy | Louisville, KY

“I am very excited to receive this scholarship as a means to help me continue to [earn] my MA in American History! This program has reignited my passion for studying history at a deeper level and allowed me to teach my students how to more critically analyze our past. It has never been so important to teach our students how to grapple with the complexities that shape our past. The opportunity to study from top scholars in the profession has been incredible and allowed me to form relationships with scholars and other teachers who are at the top of their field.”

Blake Longmore

Blake Longmore | Lakeridge Junior High School | Orem, UT

“I have loved this program so far. I have been able to build strong research and writing skills, while also having the opportunity to interact with scholars at the pinnacle of their fields. I have discovered new research interests and a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American story.”


Faustino Lopez | Waltrip High School | Houston, TX

Faustino Lopez“I love exploring the historiography of American History and this program offers a great opportunity to study many sources that may not be as known to the mainstream. Sharing what I learn via this program to my students is something I always look forward to. I am honored to receive the Abraham Lincoln scholarship and excited for everyone that received it as well.”


Jennifer Harrison Macon

Jennifer Harrison Macon | Cleveland Humanities Magnet High School | Reseda, CA

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship from such an honorable organization as the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Everyone from the lead professors, section professors, GLI online staff, and student community has created a space for me to cultivate my passion for history and education. The decision to go back to school at the age of 40 as a full-time coordinator and teacher with young children was difficult, but the program has been manageable, yet challenging enough to know that I am receiving a quality education. I did not know it when I applied, but to be working toward my Master’s degree at a time when the nation is grappling with how best to reckon with its past has been invigorating. The GLI MA program has been my North Star as I navigate this political climate with my students. It is clear that our role as history teachers is more important than ever, and there is no better time to bolster our historical literacy. Thank you, GLI!”


Veronica MartinezVeronica Martinez | Passaic County Technical Institute | Wayne, NJ

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a rewarding program. I feel especially overjoyed to have been selected as a recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship as it will help to push my goals forward in completing my MA degree, and supporting me in my journey of becoming a positive role model for my young daughter. I feel lucky to participate in a program that allows me to learn from distinguished professors and interact with exceptional colleagues, and provides the affordability and flexibility I would not have had otherwise in order to achieve my career and educational goals.”


Nicole MillerNicole Miller | Ben Gamla Charter School - Kendall | Miami, FL

“I am very excited to begin working on my Master of Arts in American History. I am such a fan of Gilder Lehrman and consistently use their resources when teaching history. I am very grateful for this program and having won this scholarship has been such a great way to kick off the start of this program!”


Casey O’Connor | Cleveland Middle School | Cleveland, TN

“The last two years have been rough in the world of education. We, as teachers, feel stretched and stressed to our limits. Despite the added pressures of life, I decided to better my education for myself as well as my students. I am so thankful to be a recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship because it feels like the hard work and persistence is paying off, and it will be the break I needed to continue to stay motivated during these unprecedented times.”


Joe RefinskiJoseph Refinski | East Orange STEM Academy | East Orange, NJ

“There is no better program to earn a graduate degree, History most importantly, than this. The lead professors are second to none; section professors are fabulous mentors and advisors; books and sources are simply wonderful to enhance one’s acumen. This scholarship is an acknowledgement that I’m working well. Thank you.”


Dani Roseberry | Coppell High School | Coppell, TXDani Roseberry

“I feel so thankful that the GLI program exists to help teachers further their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Without this program, I would not be able to move forward with a secondary degree. It has given me so many resources to convey U.S. history to the next generations. Personally, it has been the highlight during the last two years and has been the highlight of my school and teaching career. Thank you for offering this program.”


Tyler Ruff

Tyler Ruff | Innovation Academy Charter School | Tyngsboro, MA

“This program has been incredible for my growth as both a student and a teacher. The professors have created comprehensive courses that deepen my engagement with United States history, critical methods, and historiography. In addition, the program has motivated me to remain rigorous in my studies to provide my students with materials that help them better understand the past.”

Amanda Ruvollo

Amanda Ruvolo | Wheaton High School | Silver Spring, MD

“As a second-year teacher trying to navigate the craziness of teaching for the past two years, all while trying to complete a master’s degree, it means the world to have financial support along the way. When I first found out I was accepted into the Gilder Lehrman master’s program I was so thrilled to become part of a community that is flexible and affordable for teachers. I have enjoyed all the classes I have enrolled in so far, and I am excited to continue working towards my master’s degree, and hopefully one day my doctorate. I am very thankful to have been selected for the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship.”


Angelo SandovalAngelo Sandoval | Edison High School | Stockton, CA

“I am honored to receive a scholarship that is named after a person for which I have so much reverence and respect and from an organization that I hold dearly to my professional and historical heart.”


Mike SconsaMichael Sconsa | Cascade High School | Cascade, IA

“I am deeply humbled by this honor and absolutely love the GLI program via Pace. It is unmatched and the topics, lessons, readings, and professors are superb.”


Amy StultzAmy Stultz | Fostoria Junior Senior High School | Fostoria, OH

“The program at Pace through Gilder Lerhman has been wonderful. Not only is the content instruction amazing, the opportunity to take classes with other educators has been invaluable. Working with others who have the same passion and the same obstacle to overcome has been very validating. In this difficult time when we are not always valued it is good to know that there are others who want to learn more to be the best educator they can be for their students. This scholarship will make it possible to continue this pursuit.”


Nastasia TangherliniNastasia Tangherlini | Theatre Arts Production Company School | Bronx, NY

“I am honored to receive the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship to further my education in American History. I hope to support my students in the Bronx to become avid scholars and critics of American history so that they can melt down structures now to rebuild them for the future.”


Nick TayerNick Tayer | Pine Eagle High School | Halfway, OR

“In a high school as small as Pine Eagle honors opportunities can be hard for students to have access to without relying on going online and losing the benefits of in-person instruction as well as access to a teacher outside of class time. By completing my Master’s in American History through Pace University & the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s program I will have the ability and the confidence to teach AP, IB, or dual-enrollment history courses to students who otherwise might be denied those opportunities.”