History Graduates: 2001-2005

What History Majors Are Doing Now

What do our history graduates do after leaving Truman? Here is a partial listing. Please send additions, corrections, and updates to history@truman.edu.


Adam Aderton (BA, 2001) graduated from law school at UVA in 2004. After a clerkship and three years in private practice, he joined the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement.

Angela (Ernst) Anderson (BS, 2002). I graduated in 2002 with a BS in History from Truman. Dr. Gall was my wonderful advisor! I went directly to law school at Washington and Lee University in Virginia after graduating. I am now a Public Defender in Bellingham WA- about an hour north of Seattle WA, near the Canadian border.

I think this is a great idea. I absolutely loved Truman! I really value the education I received there! W&L is a top 20 law school, so I was surrounded by Harvard and NYU grads. I can honestly say though that I didn’t think they were any more prepared than I was and I didn’t have $100,000 in debt when I arrived! Anyway – long story short, please include me!

Andrew Blandford (BA, 2003) served with the Peace Corps in Honduras and then earned his law degree, magna cum laude, at Harvard Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. While at Harvard, he also earned his M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School. He then completed a clerkship with the Honorable Nanette K. Laughrey of the Western District of Missouri. While clerking, he was adjunct professor of law at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School. Blandford also worked as a legal intern with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in Geneva, Switzerland. Currently he is an associate in the International Trade and Arbitration Practice in the Washington D.C. office of Sidley Austin LLP, a global law firm.

Greg Brenner (BA, 2001; MAE, 2002). He has taught in inner-city Kansas City since 2004. He writes that last year he was the prom sponsor and co-sponsor of student council. For the effort he was voted as “Teacher of the Year.” During the summer he attended the Presidential Academy, sponsored by Ashland University. It’s a program for social studies that takes one social studies teacher from each state, sends them to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Wash. D.C. to see the sites, read great history books, and here lectures from historians who wrote them. He met and heard lectures from Bob Dole, Lamar Alexander, Gordon Lloyd (who put together teachingamericanhistory.org), Alan Guelzo (great Lincoln historian), David Hackett Fischer (Washington’s Crossing), Juan Williams (Eyes on the Prize), and to top it off James MacPherson, who gave them a six-hour tour of Gettysburg.

Ryan Brueckmann (BS, 2000; MAE, 2001). I’m currently teaching AP United States History, United States History, and Government at Pattonville High School in suburban St Louis.

Al Caniglia (BA, 2004). I am working as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. I started my first two-year Consular tour in Belmopan Belize in June 2010.

Jeromy Cannon (BA, 2003). He is in the Honors Program at Valparaiso Law School, which includes a three-year full scholarship, including an annual $5,000 stipend; a special writing and research program during the first year; a “Great Books in the Law” seminar in the second year; and individual work with faculty, lawyers, or judges in the third year. He recently wrote to me that studying History at Truman “has allowed me to develop as a writer and critical thinker through the small class size and faculty emphasis on clear and persuasive writing from a critical analysis of the issues. This preparation has been very valuable in law school because such clear, logical thinking and writing is an absolute must. Also, the availability of faculty to talk to students allowed me to develop interpersonal communication skills in relation to the difficult and complex issues of history. Similarly, this has helped me in law school as relating the issues of the law to colleagues is an everyday skill and task. [sic]”

Cassie Clements (BS, 2003). She received a full tuition scholarship from Portland State University and is completing an M.S. in Economics in Portland, OR. She is employed as a Credit Analyst with Bay Bank and enjoys riding bikes and microbrews in her spare time.

Aislinn Clinch (BS, 2003). I graduated from Truman State in 2003 and was also commissioned into the United States Army as a Military Police Platoon Leader. That meant that I automatically went to Fort Leonard Wood and completed Officer Basic Course. From there, I spent some time doing force protection at the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While there, I finished an MBA in Human Resources through the University of Phoenix. In 2006, I went back into the Army Reserves and moved to the Houston, Texas Area where I started teaching 7th grade mathematics. At the same time, I went back to school to become completely certified to teach mathematics and completed that in 2007. In 2007, I also received my honorable discharge from the Army, and spent five years teaching mathematics in Pasadena, Texas. In 2009, I chose to go back to school again, and am now completely coursework on a Doctorate in Leadership Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction also through the University of Phoenix. In 2011, I accepted a position to teach all levels of mathematics abroad in Qatar at a private British school.

Jaimee Conley (BA, 2005). She began a law program at University of Missouri in 2006. She wrote in February 2007 that “Every day demands my attention and best effort. My professors are fantastic and I’m thriving in such a challenging environment. More than ever, I’m thankful for my experiences at Truman because I really think they prepared me well for the next step. A lot of students were completely overwhelmed by the reading load, but thanks to my history professors at Truman, it was nothing new to me!”

Jimmy Cooper (BS, 2003). Just in case you [Dr. Reschly] do not recall, I had a couple of classes with you. I believe one was a Western film course and the other may have been our senior seminar history course. You may also remember that while studying at Truman I served as the associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Kirksville and as the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Greentop. I think I recall that you had also done some study in the areas of theology as well, and we had a few brief conversations about this during my time at Truman. I did a minor in philosophy and religion and took quite a few classes with Dr. Appold.

Anyway, after graduation I moved to Chicago and received a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois. I am now working on my PhD in theological and historical studies from Garrett. I have finished my doctoral coursework and still need to finish my foreign language requirements, take my qualifying exams, and write my dissertation. While in Chicago I served as the assistant pastor at Friendship United Methodist Church in Bolingbrook, Illinois, for four years. I currently serve as the associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Missouri. I work in the areas of connecting new members to our church, adult discipleship, small group ministry, and preach about once a month.

My wife Erin (formerly Erin Beppler and a Truman alum as well) and I have been married now for about four and a half years. We have one son, Noah James Cooper, who is just over five months old.

Jeffrey Cox (BA, 2003) is now an attorney with Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen in Springfield, IL

Stephanie Creed (BA, 2004). I completed my Masters of Arts in Teaching at Concordia University Chicago. Since then, I took a job at Pelion Middle School in South Carolina where I teach 7th grade English/Language Arts, and I am the assistant cross-country coach and am the head soccer coach at the high school. In the 7th grade, specifically, our focus is to create a stronger Humanities program so I actually use both my English and History degrees daily!

As for the study abroad program, I would love to spend a week or two (ideally longer) roaming around the world. In particular, I would love to have Dr. West along for a Russian voyage! I took two of her classes and learned so much! That would be fantastic! Other than that, I’d be happy going anywhere with Truman members!

Tim Deveney (BA, 1999; MAE, 2002). After I received my MAE I moved to Nepal to serve with Jesuit Volunteers International. There I served as an English teacher at St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu. Following my term of service in Nepal I returned to the US and moved to Kansas City. Since then I have been working at Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (www.cfcausa.org), married Sarah (Carle) Deveney and had a baby, Adeline Anne Deveney.

Keith Duffy (BA, 2004; MAE, 2005. I am currently a first year law student at Drake in Des Moines, Iowa. Thanks for the update. I really enjoyed my time at Truman and always enjoy coming back for a visit.

Jon P. Dwyer (BA, 2003; MAE, 2004). Since graduation I taught history for a few years in Caruthersville, Missouri, taught American History online through Three Rivers Community College, and am currently living in the Chicagoland area, working as a Connected Sales Specialist with The Teacher Education and Development Group at Pearson. On the side I play in a local band, Assimilation (http://www.myspace.com/assimilationlive) and write for a sports website.

Anna (Kuntz) Elam (BA, 2001). I received a Joint Degree in Archival Administration (MA in Public History/MLIS) from the University of South Carolina in 2006. I now live in Seattle, Washington, and work in museum/history education, serving as the Project Director for a Teaching American History Project in Olympia, Washington and as the Teacher Resource Center Coordinator for the Seattle Art Museum (www.seattleartmuseum.org/trc). I agree that the history department at Truman is outstanding. I still explore historical questions raised through some of my favorite courses at Truman, and I also felt better prepared for graduate study than many of my classmates from more “prestigious institutions.”

Chris Flieger (BS, 2000; MAE, 2001). I graduated with my BS in history in 2000 and then completed the MAE program in 2001. I went on to teach high school history for six years in St. Louis (Vianney High School). I recently graduated (2008) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a M.Ed. in School Leadership and an administrator’s license. I am currently the Deputy Director for Academic Excellence for the Archdiocese of Boston’s Catholic Schools Office.

David Frederick (BA & BS, 2003). Graduated Washington University in St. Louis – School of Law with J.D. in 2007 and LL.M. in Taxation in 2008. Practiced law and taught American Legal History and Law & Economics as an Adjunct Professor at Washington University until 2011. Is currently enrolled in the MSc in Economic History Program at the London School of Economics.

Erin Folwarski (BA, 2003; MAE, 2004). Since graduating the MAE program in 2004, I have been teaching 7th grade World Cultures and Geography in Hillsboro, Missouri. I also coach 7th grade girls volleyball and am sponsor of the Quiz Bowl team (it’s the middle school version of Academic Bowl).

Brandon Harmon (BS, 2004; MAE, 2005). I am currently teaching 6th grade at Prairie View Elementary in the Lee’s Summit School District. I am currently attending the University of Central Missouri and will graduate with my Ed. S. in June 2009. I married Laura Blakey, also a Truman graduate, in June 2008. She teaches 4th grade in the Belton School District.

Andrew Holmes (2002) served in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, later received the MBA from University of Chicago (2009). He is currently Head of Origination, North America at Demica.

Elana Jakel (BA, 2002). She is working on a Ph.D. in Russian History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been given a four-year scholarship. In 2007, she was awarded an IREX grant to do an academic year’s dissertation research in Ukraine.

Ryan Koonce (BS, 2001) earned an M.A. in documentary film at Emerson in Boston, and in June 2007 was working for the Library of Congress Recorded Sound Division.

Samantha (Gilbert) Ladd (BA, 2005). I am currently working at a 3PL Logistics Company (fancy terminology for what amounts to a trucking brokerage company), LMS Logistics, in their IT Department. One of my fellow employees is Greg Brown, also a Truman History Grad. I found it impossible to get a job doing something with history that paid more than minimum wage without an advanced degree, and had to pay the bills so here I am. I have been thinking of trying to go back to school for that advanced degree, however. I married Mark Ladd on August 15, 2007. We had a Vegas wedding aboard the pirate ship at the Treasure Island, it was a great fun. He is an apprentice electrician. We bought a house in St. Louis. He has a six year old daughter, Genevieve, whom he has joint custody over and she spends every other weekend with us. We also have two cats, and a dog. If my bank account can handle it I would simply love to go on another study abroad trip, my time in Greece with Drs. Reschly and Rose was amazing to say the very least! 🙂 So if you get something together let me know and I’ll see if I can work it out.

Zach Lechner (BA, 2002) received an MA in History from Purdue University in 2005 and a PhD from Temple University in 2012. As of August 2019 he is an Assistant Professor of History at Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana. His first book, The South of the Mind: American Imaginings of White Southernness, 1960-1980 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2018) was awarded the Phi Alpha Theta First Book Award in 2019.

James Mark Leslie (BA, 2004) earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and landed a teaching position at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, where he is now Associate Professor of History.

Angela Ligouri (BA, 2002). She is attending the University of Notre Dame Law School, and in 2004 was article editor of the Notre Dame Law Review.

David Low (BA, 2003). He spent a year in Germany with a Fulbright Teaching Award. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in German Studies.

Derek Mallett (MA,1997; MAE, 2001). Derek is assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. His MA Thesis at Truman, advised by Prof Hanley, was “‘They Were Just People Like We Were’: World War II German Prisoners of War in Missouri.” After Truman, Derek worked for two years as Coordinator of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at Missouri State University in Springfield. He then earned a Ph.D. in history from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, in 2009.

Brian Malone (BA, 2002). He attended the University of Missouri Law School.

Matt McDuff (BA, 2004; MAE, 2005). He began studying in Fall 2007 for a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Connecticut with a full fellowship. Before that, he taught two years at the Wind River (Arapahoe) Reservation High School.

Kelcie McLaughlin (BA, 2005). I have been doing very well. I graduated from law school last May and have been clerking at an appellate court in Albany since then. I really enjoy my job, but it ends in August, and I have decided that I want to go back to school. After nearly four years of not studying history, I have discovered that I truly miss it, and would like to pursue a graduate degree. I am applying to a graduate program in history at SUNY Albany. My ultimate goal is to earn my Ph.D.

Christina Miller (BA, 2004). I graduated with a Masters in Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2007. Since then I have been working for the Missouri Office of the Secretary of State, first as and NEH grant archivist processing the papers of the St. Louis Circuit Court from 1866-1868, and now as an Electronic Records Archivist working with state agencies.

Jennifer (Bodenhamer) Mooney (BS, 2000; MAE, 2003). The website looks good and it was fun to read what the professors and graduates have been doing. Since I graduated with my MAE in 2003, I have been working at Lee’s Summit North High School. I taught American and World History for six years and this year I have taken the position of School Improvement Coordinator. Nathan and I are both working on our Education Specialist’s in Secondary Administration and will hopefully be finished this coming summer. We have a little girl, Caitlin, who is 3 1/2 who keeps us very busy. That’s the brief overview for me! I look forward to the newsletters and checking to see what other alums are doing.

Erik Moore (BA, 2001). After Truman, I attended UMKC law school and have been practicing law in Kansas City since 2004. I enjoyed Truman and the history department so much, I was sorry I had to leave Truman at graduation.

Lisa Motley (BA, 2001; MAE, 2003). She taught in both Missouri and Kansas. She earned a MS in School Counseling from Kansas State University in 2007, and she is a middle school counselor at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City Missouri.

Jessica Nettles (BS, 2004). After Truman (class of 2004) I received my Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Lindenwood University (Class of 2007). Last year I was working for the Fort Zumwalt school district as a paraprofessional. This year I accepted a full-time teaching contract at my alma mater, St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Missouri. I am teaching U.S. History, Geography, and Psychology. I am absolutely loving my first year of teaching.

Being a former Sacred Siter in Greece (summer 2003), I would definitely be interested in a study abroad program for alumni. This past summer I spent a month traveling around Europe with a friend of mine. We visited six countries in 4 weeks. While I was in Rome I sent an email to Dr. Rose because I was remembering all the courses I had taken with her. I love traveling abroad, especially to places I have not yet been, and would be interested in receiving information for any trip you put together.

Mike O’Rourke (BA, 2001) is Vice President of Sales for O&R Medical Sales and Services in the greater St. Louis area.

Veronica Ory (BA, 2005) is earning an M.A. in the Hagley Museum graduate studies program at University of Delaware. She received the Hagley graduate fellowship: tuition remission, a $12,200 stipend per year, free access to the Hagley Museum and Library and other museums in the area, money for travel, a half-time teaching assistantship.

Aaron Pearson (BA, 2005). I took Dr. Wandel’s History of France and Survey of WWII classes while I was at Truman. I have since graduated with my BA in History and now have a Masters in Teaching. I am currently teaching gifted education at a middle school in St. Charles, MO. My students are doing an independent project on a topic of their choosing. One of my students chose to study the French Revolution. One of the parts of the assignment is that they need to conduct an expert interview on their topic. I know that after taking Dr. Wandel’s class, the French Revolution became one of my favorite aspects of studying history. I was hoping that when she comes up with her three questions that he might be able to answer them for her.

Laura (Boyd) Roeseler (BA, 2003). Thanks so much for the e-mail about the new Department of History; I didn’t realize a new structure existed, but I am excited to hear about it!

Reading your e-mail brought back fond memories of my history classes, in particular your western film class, Dr. Rose’s Ancient Greece class, and Dr. Wandel’s Modern France course. If I remember correctly, the semester after I graduated, you and Dr. Rose were leaving for a year (I believe) in Germany. I hope you had a great trip!

After graduating in May 2003, I intended to go to law school (a lifelong goal), but decided to test the waters first by working as a paralegal at a law firm in St. Louis focusing on mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcy. It was a valuable learning experience, as I discovered that going to law school wasn’t what I was looking for. I spent a few years doing non-profit work, which was enjoyable and I am now the office manager for a local realtor in St. Louis. I was married in 2004 and have a 16 month old son, who currently shares my passion of reading. Although we are mostly reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See,” I am hopeful that someday he will share my love of history and dive into historical books, too.

A study abroad program would be great and although 2 weeks (or more!) would provide the most time for seeing the sites and absorbing the information, for economic reasons, some (myself included) might only be able to afford a week. In addition to Greece, I would be very interested in a trip focusing on World War II in Europe or possibly even Asia (my grandfather was a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tinian and the Marianas and these areas have always fascinated me). I also hope to someday visit Auschwitz to learn more about the Holocaust.

Lori Schwartz (BA, 2001). She is attending graduate school at the University of South Carolina, earning a Ph.D. in History and Library Sciences.

Becky Vice Showmaker (BA, 2006). She is studying for the Ph.D. in History at the University of Missouri.

Eric Stewart (BA, 2003; MAE, 2005) has been teaching AP Economics, World History and regular Economics classes and coaching football at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, MO.

Kate Sutter (BA, 2005; MAE, 2006). Kate is teaching Social Studies at her alma mater, Lebanon High School. YES I want trips! I could swing a few thousand next summer (if I try hard) and want to go somewhere. I was looking at the “value” Smithsonian trip to Egypt. The China trip is a bit beyond my budget but looked like an awesome itinerary. I’m itching to get out of this country for a couple weeks. I would also consider Central/South America and the Galapagos or the Caribbean. I’ve been in Europe enough for awhile and want to go east or south. St. Petersburg and Istanbul are also personal goals.

Emily Weidhaas (BA, 2003). She is working with Americorps in St. Louis.

Alyssa Warrick (BA, 2005) worked with the National Park Service on Ellis Island between her junior and senior year at Truman, and in spring 2006 worked as a Park Guide at the Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas. In August 2008, she began attending Mississippi State University with a GTA.

Erin (McFarland) Welch (BA, 2001; MAE, 2002). I am in my fifth year of teaching at the alternative high school (SCORE Learning Center) in Nixa, Missouri. I teach American History, American Government, Fiction and Film, World Short Stories, Drama and P.E. Never thought I’d teach P.E., but it’s interesting. After graduating from Truman’s MAE program in August 2002, I adjuncted at Ozarks Technical Community College and Drury University (American history and government) for two years before starting full-time in Nixa.

I serve on the Bill of Right’s Institute’s National Teacher Council  sharing information about BRI’s programs, curriculum, and resources with other social studies teachers. BRI is a wonderful resource for all social studies teachers!

I think the study abroad programs for alum sound fantastic! I would love to participate (going anywhere sounds great), but my husband and I are expecting a baby in January ‘09, so such trips will be out for us for a while. I’d still like to be kept in the loop, though.

Jason Wheaton (2005) earned an MBA (2008) and MS, Finance (2013) from Lindenwood University. He is currently Financial Planning and Analysis Manager at Nestlé.

William (B.J.) White (2005, MAE 2006) is currently Academic Advising Systems Specialist at John Jay College (CUNY).

Jacob Willrich (BA, 2002). Thank you for the update of the History department at Truman. I graduated in 2002. Currently I am an assistant football coach at Hastings College. I coach the defensive backs. Prior to that I was an assistant coach at Austin College in Sherman, TX and then before that, I got my Masters at Northwest Missouri State. I know that this career path isn’t the most popular with History majors but I do use much of the knowledge and many of the skills I learned at Truman.

Catherine Wright (BA, 2003). I am writing today in hopes you all will remember me from my time studying for a bachelor’s in history from 2000-2003. I’m Catherine Wright (I took Dr. Reschly and Dr. Rose’s Greek study abroad 2003 course, among others; Dr. Hanley’s “Old South” class; Dr. Brammall’s “medieval and early modern European women’s history”; and Dr. Mandell’s “intro to historiography”). A collection of letters which I edited was recently published (“Lee’s Last Casualty”), and the experience inspired me to write you all, to thank you for giving me an excellent education and for preparing me for my future career.

I began studying at Truman to prepare to become a college English professor, but my interest in history and eye-opening experience in Dr. Mandell’s historiography class pushed me to take on history as a second major. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Truman’s history faculty is top-notch, in no small part due to professors like you. I went on to get a master’s in history at UNC-Greensboro with a concentration in museum studies, and now I focus on museum collections in my professional career.

I just wanted to pass along a bit of good news, and to let you know that I’ve had many opportunities to praise Truman’s history faculty. Coincidentally, I work with another Truman alumnus who graduated in the 1960s. We both love our careers, are intellectually curious, and look back with fondness on our years spent at Truman.