2018 Mass History Conference Speaker/Moderator Bios

People’s History ↔ Local History – June 4 – Worcester

| Detailed Program |

Jennifer Arnott has been Research Librarian at Perkins School for the Blind since May 2015. She answers reference requests from a wide range of people (4th graders to current practitioners to academic researchers) about historical and current practice topics related to blindness, visual impairment, and deafblindness. She loves exploring the many connections Perkins has with Boston and Massachusetts history, and about disability history. Jennifer holds a BA from Wellesley College, and an MLIS from Dominican University. Her previous work includes an independent high school library in Minnesota, and as Information Technology Librarian at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Kathleen Bitetti is a Boston-based visual artist, independent curator, and policy/advocacy expert. Historical references help to comprise the foundation she builds on for her artworks. Likewise, historical research informs many of her curatorial projects and often guides her choice of which contemporary artists she chooses to collaborate with. Bitetti was a long-term artist in residence at the Quincy Historical Society (2005-2013). In January 2016, she had a solo exhibition, Remember the Ladies… at the Next Mile Project. The show featured her existing art work that references Abigail Adams and her ongoing art project: Crossings: Abigail Was Here. Bitetti has an extensive exhibition history and has over 25 years of curatorial experience. She is currently an artist in residence in the Alumni Program at Julie’s Family Learning Program. For more information: www.kathleenbitetti.com

Sarah Black is a 2018 graduate of the public history program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her principle interests and skills lie in women’s social and cultural history, the construction of historical memory, material culture, and interpretation. An advocate for telling history from the bottom up and connecting communities with their past, Sarah has embraced and expanded upon local collaborations initially facilitated by the UMass Boston history graduate program. She devoted her graduate work and research to the Dorchester History Initiative and its subsequent projects including the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls Exhibition (online & in-person).

Laurie Block

Pleun Bouricius is an independent public historian, writer, and photographer (swiftriverpress.com) and the author of AgathaO.com, a photo-blog and online shop that takes on nature, ideas, and art in equal measure. She is president and founding co-director of the Massachusetts History Alliance and volunteer curator of the Plainfield Historical Society. She has been one of the leading organizers of the Massachusetts History Conference for a decade. Previously, she was director of grants and programs at Mass Humanities, where she organized several statewide programs, and has been a carpenter and licensed contractor since 2003. Before that she drove an eighteen-wheeler, and taught in the History and Literature and Women’s History programs at Harvard University. Her projects include The Bog, selections from AgathaO.com; Reading Frederick Douglass; Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills, a series of history/ecology adventures; Women, Enterprise, and Society, an early (2001) online guide to archival resources in women’s history resources at Baker Library (Harvard Business School).

Maria Salgado-Cartagena, the People’s Historian of Holyoke, is working to ensure the visibility of Puerto Ricans in the city’s vibrant past and present. A longtime resident of Holyoke, she has been involved in community organizing since high school, and has worked in the nonprofit sector of Holyoke for more than 20 years. Currently, as the program coordinator for Hampshire College’s Community Partnerships for Social Change program, she prepares Five College students for work with community groups and helps the colleges place students with community partners. Her trainings are focused on contextualizing history of local communities through the lens of race, gender and class, elevating moments in time when the ‘people” created change. She has served on the boards of several organizations in Holyoke including Wistariahurst Museum and Nueva Esperanza. In 2013 she was recognized by the Latino Scholarship Association as the Carlos Vega Community Champion in 2013 and in 2015 was recognized by the South Holyoke Neighborhood Association with the Maria Berrios activist award.

Rob Cox led a dubious life before becoming head of Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst in 2004 after stints at the University of Michigan and the American Philosophical Society. A recovering paleontologist and molecular biologist, he received a PhD in history from Michigan and has written a number of articles and five books on topics ranging from the American Spiritualist movement to the plants of the Lewis and Clark expedition and New England culinary history.

Mark Cutler is a member of the Lawrence History Center board of directors and a faculty member at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he teaches Spanish and promotes social justice and intercultural competence through the school’s Community Engagement and Learning in the World programming. Since 2004, Mark has utilized oral history as a vehicle for understanding the diverse people of the greater Andover community, including neighboring Lawrence, “The Immigrant City.” At Phillips Academy, Mark teaches an interdisciplinary course on the cultural history of the Merrimack River Valley, beginning in the indigenous period and tracing the legacy of migration, colonization, industrial development, and racialized attitudes, practices, and policies in our society up to the present day. As a capstone to their learning and a culminating act of solidarity, Mark’s students conduct and produce video oral histories that he curates on the blog Nosotros, el pueblo: Voces de la Ciudad de Inmigrantes.

Ross W. Dekle was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to New England in 1992. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield Michigan. He received a Master of Arts in Historic Preservation degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Ross worked as a free-lance preservation consultant for several years, before joining the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) in 2005. Today, Ross works as a Preservation Planner in the Grants Division of MHC. His primary duties include evaluating applications and acting as a Grant Manager for grants awarded through the state’s Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund. This fund provides matching, reimbursable grants to non-profits and municipalities throughout the Commonwealth, to help them in the preservation of their historic properties.

Susan Diachisin is the Museum Education Supervisor at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. For over 25 years, Susan has provided vision and leadership for interactive museum exhibitions and installations, experimental community partnerships, educational programming and development. Throughout her career, her innovative projects include helping audiences understand artists’ creative processes to envisioning how to connect people to museum collections through interactive experiences.

Maureen Ryan Doyle is a freelance writer and the owner of a small property management company in Central Massachusetts. She earned her BA in history from Assumption College where she was a member of the first undergraduate class of women. She received the Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Award from Assumption in 2013. Doyle has co-chaired the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project with Charlene Martin since 2008. They co-authored Voices of Worcester Women: 160 Years after the First Woman’s Rights Convention in 2011 and In Her Shoes: A Compilation of Inspiring Stories from the First Decade of the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project.

Kristin Gallas became a museum educator because her mom encouraged her to find a job that combined her love of history and education that wasn’t classroom teaching. Because mom’s always right, Kristin completed her M.A.T. in museum education at George Washington University … and then ran off to be the Education Officer at the Montana Historical Society. After fulfilling her western-living fantasy, she moved to Boston 14 years ago. Proving she can use her informal learning skills with any content, Kristin has worked at the USS Constitution Museum, Boston Ballet, the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, and is currently the Project Manager for Education Development at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. She can also be found traveling around the country leading workshops on interpreting slavery at museums and historic sites.

Ben Gammell is an exhibit developer at the Connecticut Historical Society. Ben has a B.A. from Gordon College, Wenham, MA, and has created exhibits and educational programs at the CHS since 2005. His work includes researching and writing exhibit content, exhibit design, mount making, installing on-site and traveling exhibits, and collaborating with historical organizations and community partners. Ben received a 2017 Excellence Award from the New England Museum Association in recognition of his role in developing the recent CHS exhibit, “Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf.” Prior to his work in exhibits, Ben worked in the CHS education department, leading school programs, developing educational materials and workshops for teachers, and teaching a Hartford Studies class at Bulkeley High School.

Susan Grabski, M.Ed., has been executive director of the Lawrence History Center (founded as the Immigrant City Archives is 1978), since 2011. She serves as a member of the MA State Historical Records Advisory Board, a Commissioner for the Essex National Heritage Area, and on the board of the Friends of the Lawrence Heritage State Park. In 2013, she co-authored Lawrence, Massachusetts and the 1912 Bread & Roses Strike, with Robert Forrant, Arcadia Publishing, Images of America Series. The LHC online exhibition, Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History (http://tinyurl.com/m5z9bov), was one of seven exhibitions that were part of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) April 2013 launch in Boston.

Gloria Polizzotti Greis been Executive Director of the Needham History Center & Museum since June 2002. Prior to Needham, she was Peabody Research Fellow at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard), and Collections Manager for the Peabody’s Archaeology and Human Osteology Collections. She has worked in museums since 1985. She has also taught both Anthropology and Museums Studies at the college level, and had experience teaching in a museum setting with high school and elementary school classes. Dr Greis is a Needham resident. She holds a PhD in Anthropology, specializing in the archaeology of prehistoric Europe. She is the author of two books on archaeology, a book and three films on local history, and numerous articles on history, archaeology and various other topics. She is an Associate of the Peabody Museum, and an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Jen Hale is the Archivist for the Perkins School for the Blind, where she began as Archives and Research Library Assistant in 2014 before taking on her current role as Archivist in 2016. She presented at the 2016 New England Archivists Fall Meeting on the value of accessible photographs in digital collections and contributed to Read by Touch: Stewarding the Reading and Writing Collection at the Perkins School for the Blind (2016), an article discussing the challenges of and solutions for preserving and digitizing embossed materials. Jen received her MS in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College in 2016. She has a certificate in Web Design and Development from the Rhode Island School of Design (2010), studied Graphic Design at the Academy of Art University (1999-2001), and received a BA in English from Fort Lewis College (1998).

Cheryl Harned is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a working public historian. Her research focuses on material culture and the practice of collecting, especially the relationship between objects, memory, emotions, and display. When not dissertating, she can often be found working on various public history projects and exhibitions in Western Mass.

Amita Kiley was raised in Lawrence and graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in American History in 2004. Her experience growing up in Lawrence fostered a love of the city and a strong sense of wanting to preserve its history. In 2001, as part of Northeastern’s Co-operative Education program, she began working at the Lawrence History Center (LHC) as a preservation assistant. She continued her professional career after graduation at the archive. In 2014, she moved into her current role as collections manager and research coordinator. She works closely with LHC’s director and local historians, coordinates and supervises volunteers, handles walk in visitors and school groups and manages membership correspondence from the LHC office. She is a member of the New England Archivists and has presented at some of their recent meetings.

Gregory Liakos is Communications Director for the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences through more than $20 million in annual grants, services, and advocacy. He manages government, media, and public affairs; partnerships with advocacy organizations and cultural philanthropies; and all facets of the agency’s external communications. He was previously head of public relations for the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, where he directed media, community, and government affairs during the museum’s $125 million institutional transformation. A former award-winning journalist with several Greater Boston publications, he holds a BA from Assumption College and an MA in History from Tufts University. He lives with his family in Wakefield, MA, where he serves as an elected member of the Wakefield School Committee.

Caroline Littlewood is a graduate student at UMass Boston. She holds a Bachelor’s from Tufts University and will graduate with a Master’s in History, Public History track and a Certificate in Archives from UMass Boston in 2018. Caroline has worked on the Mass. Memories Road Show and 1919 Boston Police Strike Project out of University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston. She has also collaborated with her UMass Boston classmates on the Dorchester History Initiative.

Molly Mahoney graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the spring of 2018 and is currently working on her Master’s degree in history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Molly has spent the past year and a half working on the exhibit From the Atlantic Islands to Lowell, Massachusetts: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community, alongside Kady Phelps. She has worked on various other research projects, including a Greek and Ottoman Empire immigrant interactive website. She is currently working on helping the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell, Massachusetts catalogue its art collection.

Dan Marshall, Manager of Visitor Services at The House of the Seven Gables, is a museum professional with experience at all levels of historical and cultural institutions. With Bachelor’s Degrees in both History and Political Science, he has always cultivated a deep interest in the past. Over the years, Daniel has developed comprehensive training programs, which included museum orientation, interpretive techniques, guest service expectations, and specific knowledge of the museum’s history and collections. After 19 years of engaging museum guests, through both first-person and third-person interpretation, and developing insightful public programs behind the scenes, Daniel is well-versed in all aspects of a successful guest experience.

Charlene L. Martin, EdD is the former dean of Continuing Education at Assumption College and founding director of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education known as WISE. She earned her BA and MA from Assumption College and a doctorate in higher education from UMass Amherst. Her research and publications focus on educational opportunities for older adults in retirement. Martin has co-chaired the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project with Maureen Ryan Doyle since 2008. They co-authored Voices of Worcester Women: 160 Years after the First Woman’s Rights Convention in 2011 and In Her Shoes: A Compilation of Inspiring Stories from the First Decade of the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project.

Penni Martorell is curator of collections at Wistariahurst Museum and is Holyoke’s City Historian. Martorell’s work at Wistariahurst includes managing and preserving the museum’s collections, organizing history exhibits and lectures; providing opportunities for community organizations, college classes, school groups and the general public to engage with local history through presentations and workshops. She and her colleagues are continually redefining Wistariahurst as a 21st century museum of engagement and as a repository of local shared memory. She lectures on Holyoke’s industrial history and the local textile and paper industries. She has lead workshops on preserving heirlooms, and basic textile preservation. Appointed by the governor of the Commonwealth, Martorell served 5 years on the State Historic Records Advisory Board. She is Vice President of The Pioneer Valley History Network and is an Oral History Trainer.

Veronica Martzahl is the Digital Records Archivist at the Massachusetts Archives where she oversees the Archival Collections Management System (ACMS) and Digital Preservation Repository, as well as the arrangement and description of all digital content held by the Archives. She is a member of the Society of American Archivist, New England Archivists, and the Academy of Certified Archivists. Additionally, she is active in the Council of State Archivists and is co-chair of their State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI). She has served on the SAA Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) education sub-committee from 2012 through 2015 and is the deputy coordinator of the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board. Veronica holds a Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives and a Master of History from Simmons College.

Joanna Shea O’Brien received an M.F.A. from Columbia University in nonfiction writing and a B.A. in English Literature from Marymount University. She was an interviewer for the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project, and has worked as an oral historian for Northeastern University’s Our Marathon WBUR Oral History Project and other projects. Joanna has also worked in communications and research for the Peace Corps, the JFK Library Foundation, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and area hospitals. Joanna is active in local social justice organizations and school communities in her hometown of Winchester, Massachusetts.

Franklin Odo is the John J. McCloy Visiting Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College. Odo teaches Asian American courses in the American Studies Department. He was the first Curriculum Coordinator at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the first permanent director of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai`i Manoa. He was founding director of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, 1997-2010, and Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress in 2012. His most recent book is Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai`i, published by Oxford in 2013. He edited the Theme Study on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for the National Park Service launched in Fall 2017.

Kady Phelps is from Dracut, Massachusetts and is a graduate student studying history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is passionate about social and cultural history. Over the last year and a half, she has worked on an exhibit concerning Portuguese immigration in Lowell, MA. She is also working on an exhibition depicting the history of St. Joseph’s Hospital, a hospital that operated from 1840-1992 in Lowell. Kady is writing her thesis on captivity narratives from King George’s War.

Rose Sackey-Milligan is a socio-cultural anthropologist and Senior Program Officer at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (Mass Humanities). She is the former Director of the Social Justice Program at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and Program Director at the Peace Development Fund.

Elizabeth Sharpe became co-executive director of Historic Northampton on May 1, 2016. Sharpe is an historian, writer, educator and museum consultant. She is the author of In the Shadow of the Dam: The Aftermath of the Mill River Flood of 1874. She has family roots in this area which sparked her research on Connecticut Valley history, architecture, history of technology and material culture for her PhD in History from the University of Delaware. She is the former director of education at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Since she moved back to the Connecticut Valley, she has consulted for museums, written the history of the Mill River Flood, taught history and public history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and at Greenfield Community College in person and online. Most recently she has taught Social Responsibility in Museums at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been board president of the Amherst Historical Society and the Swift River Historical Society.

Margo Shea

Clara Silverstein is the Community Engagement Manager at Historic Newton and one of the coordinators of the Newton Talks oral history project. A former journalist, she has published a memoir about school desegregation and three cookbooks. Her first novel, which takes place during the Civil War, will be published in the fall of 2018. She earned a M.A. in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University.

Erika Slocumb, a native of Springfield, MA, is a mother, an artist, scholar, community organizer, world traveler, and an advocate for social justice. She is the co-founder of the community organization the Western Mass Women’s Collective and continues to do work in the Western Mass area. She has received her B.A. in Social Justice Education, a MS in Labor Studies, and is currently working toward her PhD in African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Todd Smith uses his experience in education, corporate strategy, and nonprofit leadership to help organizations navigate pathways for ongoing public service. Focusing on sustainable outcomes, Smith assists organizations in evaluating goals in the context of real world economics and creating action plans with clearly defined financial targets. Combining 25 years of educational and business experience, Smith brought a balanced external perspective to the American Textile History Museum, when he was appointed as Interim Executive Director in September 2015.

Sue Dahling Sullivan is the Chief Strategic Officer at the Boch Center in Boston. At Boch Center since 2005, Sue has been part of a leadership team that has transformed this nonprofit center into an award-winning organization recognized for strategic planning, governance reform, education innovation, community initiatives, and more. Currently she oversees the statewide expansion of ArtWeek, a nationally recognized creative festival that is shining the spotlight on creative communities across Massachusetts. She is also a frequent speaker and author on non-profit topics including strategic planning and the Balanced Scorecard, boards and governance, nonprofit careers, management, and more. She was the former Chair of the Boston Cultural Council, past president of the Boston Arts Marketing Alliance, and has been involved with the HBS Cultural Entrepreneurship Dean’s Challenge and MIT’s annual Hacking Arts event. She currently serves on the Amos Tuck School’s Center for Business and Society Advisory Board at Dartmouth College.

Chris Tanguay

Patrice Todisco

Anne Valk is a specialist in oral history, public history, and the social history of the 20th century United States. She received a B.A. in psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 1986 and a PhD in history from Duke University in 1996. She has published two books in U.S. women’s history, including Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, D.C. (University of Illinois Press, 2008), which won the Richard Wentworth Prize issued to the best book in U.S. history published by the University of Illinois Press; and Living with Jim Crow: African American and Memories of the Segregated South (Palgrave, 2010), a collection of oral history interviews edited with Professor Leslie Brown and winner of the annual book award issued by the Oral History Association. Before coming to Williams College in 2014, she was Associate Professor of History and Director of Women’s Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (1996-2007) and Deputy Director of the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University (2007-2014). At Williams she serves as Associate Director for Public Humanities in a position shared by the Davis Center and the Center for Learning in Action. She teaches experiential and community-based classes in oral history and public history. She is professionally active, serving as president of the national Oral History Association (2015-16) and is a series editor of Humanities and Public Life, a new book series published by the University of Iowa Press.

Iohann Rashi Vega was born and raised in Mexico City, started music training at the age of six, and has a background on journalism and media, focused on radio production. He moved to Puerto Rico, where he worked for 12 years in different roles as producer, on-air host, news anchor, promotion coordinator, and music program coordinator, at the University of Puerto Rico’s Public Radio Station, WRTU. Currently Iohann is the Media Literacy Coordinator at the Gándara Youth Development Center, in Holyoke, MA, where he works with youth, creating media content with a social justice, and self-advocacy focus. Also, he is the producer of Radioplasma, a local podcast that is also a workshop for the youth and community to share stories and discussion of topics of relevance and interest, not always covered by mainstream media.

Dr. Graham Warder received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2000. Dr. Warder is an expert on nineteenth-century America, with a special focus on antebellum reform efforts. He is the author of “Temperance Nostalgia, Market Anxiety, and the Reintegration of Community in T.S. Arthur’s Ten Nights in a Bar-Room,” published in 2004 in an anthology entitled Cultural Change and the Market Revolution in America 1789- 1860. Dr. Warder was also the director for a project entitled “Helen Keller in Her Times” which received a grant of $199,740 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007. He is currently working on a disability history of the American Civil War.

Laura Wasowicz is Curator of Children’s Literature at the American Antiquarian Society. Since 1987, she has worked to acquire, catalog, and provide reference service for the AAS collection of 27,000 American children’s books issued between 1650 and 1899. She has written articles on various aspects of nineteenth-century American children’s book publishing, picture book iconography, and child reading habits. She is the co-author of Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920 (2017). She holds a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in History from Clark University, and a bachelor’s degree in History from Rockford College.

Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis, Director of Educational Programming for the Old North Church & Historic Site, focuses exclusively on public programming, digital programming, curriculum development, and collaborations with other sites. Prior to joining Old North in 2013, she spent seven years in the nonprofit art world, managing programs for diverse audiences and curating shows for three different arts organizations in Alabama and Massachusetts. She received her BA from the University of Virginia in art history and archaeology, her MA from the University of Alabama in American studies, and her Certificate in Museum Studies/Education from Tufts University. She currently serves on the Planning Committee of the Greater Boston Museum Educators Roundtable.

Katie Zimmerman is a Scholarly Communications and Licensing Librarian at MIT and a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. Her work focuses on copyright and licensing issues for libraries and archives. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2016. Before law school, she specialized in Archives, Preservation, and Records Management during her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh, and received her BA in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Rice University. She has previously worked at the US Copyright Office and in corporate copyright licensing. She is the chair of the MIT Libraries Rights Working Group, and consults on digitization and other copyright-related projects.