Skip navigation

Current Graduate Students

Ian BurnsIan Burns

Field: Ireland and the British Empire

Advisor: Sean Farrell                 


Phone: 773-234-2601

I am a Ph.D. candidate, as well as the Graduate Student Representative for the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS). My dissertation is on Irish Nationalist volunteerism from 1908-1923. My major teaching field is the British Empire, with secondary fields in Humanitarianism and Visual Culture and the French Empire.


Katrina ChludzinskiKatrina Chludzinski

Field: Southeast Asian History

Dissertation Title: 

Advisor: Trude Jacobsen


Currently I am a PhD candidate studying Burmese history. My dissertation is titled “Choosing Race: The Constructions of Anglo-Burman Identity, 1885-1962.” While my MA research focused on gender constructions in colonial Burma, my dissertation concerns the construction of ethnic, national and gender identities of Anglo-Burmans in the twentieth century. 

ChoiHeeyoung Choi

Field: Modern Asia

Advisor: E. Taylor Atkins

Contact: or 

My research seeks to investigate the early 20th century Hawai`i, which has provided unique opportunities to study the cultural convergence of multi-ethnic immigrant populations. By capitalizing on my previous educational background in Asian music history and Korean musicology from South Korea, my work examines how the performing arts have influenced cultural exchange and identity formation among immigrants in 20th century Hawai`i. 

DresslerNicole Dressler

Field: Early America

Advisor:   Aaron Fogleman   


I am a Ph.D. candidate specializing in early America, with research interests in labor and the history of humanitarianism. My dissertation explores the role that British convict transportation and penal servitude in America played in the early history of humanitarianism, arguing that emerging ideas of punishment, morality and unfreedom evoked by convict labor created new moral responsibilities and inspired novel denunciations of suffering in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-American world. It is tentatively titled, “The ‘Vile Commodity’: Criminal Servitude, Authority, and the Rise of Humanitarianism in the Anglo-American World, 1718-1820.” I am a recipient of the 2016-2017 Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Dissertation Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Kylie Fendrick

Field of Study:  Latin America


Advisor: Kristin Huffine

Currently, I am a Ph.D. student specializing in Colonial Latin America.  My particular interests are race, health, science, medicine and collective memory. I focus on the late colonial Brazil, Argentina and Chile, analyzing the intersections of race, science and medicine during that period.

IversonJustin Iverson

Field: Black Atlantic


I am a Ph.D. student with interests in slavery and categories of slave resistance in the Atlantic World.  More specifically, I have researched the leadership qualities and personality traits of leaders of slave revolts and maroon communities, with emphasis in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


kwosekSusan Kwosek

Fields:  Atlantic History

Dissertation Advisor:  Aaron Fogleman


My interest in Haitian Vodou has directed my research as an undergraduate and graduate student in the Anthropology Department at NIU where I received my B.A. and my M.A. before coming to the Department of History to work on my Ph.D.  My research has taken many forms from library research, to fieldwork in the United States and in Haiti, to oral history and examination of primary sources ranging from altars to artwork to social media. I have followed the data where it has led, beginning in Africa and the Middle East, through the Caribbean and to the United States. I maintain long-term relationships with my research participants and have worked with the same family lineage and community since 2005, bracing through Hurricane Dean in Haiti with them and suffering long-distance as we lost one third of our community during the earthquake in 2010. It is only through the generosity, hospitality and openness of these people that my research has been made possible.

losavioJoAnn LoSavio

Fields: Southeast Asia

Advisor: Trude A. Jacobsen


I am a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on the historical transnational and transcultural processes and consequences of “overseas” education of women. It does so by examining adolescent Southeast Asian women from the ex-British Colonies of Burma and Malaya in the 1950s and 1960s, the period immediately following decolonization. A number of young women from these former colonies pursued tertiary educations, both at the university and vocational level, in the former Metropole, Britain. Some were funded by state scholarships, others by private means. How did these young Burmese and Malayan women navigate gendered social, cultural and state landscapes through their pursuit of higher education? How were they shaped by, and in turn how did they shape, the historical moment they occupied, post de-colonisation and during the cultural shifts of the 1950s and 1960s?

luginbillKevin Luginbill

Fields: British Empire

 Advisor: Sean Farrell


I am a Ph.D. candidate exploring the intellectual history and ideological justifications for empire in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. My dissertation is tentatively titled "Building an Imperial World: Ideologies of Imperialism and the Tariff Reform Movement in the British Empire, 1900-1914." My work focuses on the Edwardian-era Tariff Reform campaign of Joseph Chamberlain, who sought to reform Britain's economic relationship with its colonies to lay the foundation for the creation of an imperial federation between Britain and the colonies. The arguments and ideas deployed in support or opposition to this scheme of imperial federation reveal the diverse and often contradictory ways in which the British people conceptualized and understood their relationship with their vast empire. Generous funding for archival research was made possible in part from North American Conference on British Studies' Pre-Dissertation Grant in 2016, as well as the Northern Illinois History Department's Large Grant in 2015-2016.

marachRobert "BJ" Marach

Field:  U.S. Civil War

Advisor: James Schmidt


I am a Ph.D. student.  My research focuses on Civil War veterans.  Specifically, I examine issues that were never reconciled between veterans on both sides.

PalsaHannah Palsa

Field of study:  20th Century U.S., Public History


I am an M.A. student focusing on the use of dogs during World War II. My research intends to explore the development of Dogs for Defense which was established with the help of AKC Poodle Breeder, Alene Erlanger during World War II. I am intending to focus on not only just Dogs for Defense, Alene Erlanger, but also the methods used to train war dogs, the breed specifications, types of war dogs and the process of demobilization. My goal is to explore the themes of domestication and the use of a working dog to explore how civilians felt about loaning their dogs in the name of Dogs for Defense but also how these acts inspired patriotism in civilians. Before deciding to become a historian, I had planned to become a veterinary technician and focus on canine behavior.

John Marc Reynolds

Field: African American

Dissertation Advisor: Rosemary Feurer


I am a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on wage garnishment and consumer credit discrimination in the mid twentieth-century. I am currently working on a dissertation titled, "Experiences with Garnishment in Chicago, Illinois: Systems of Indebtedness in the Global City."

StewardJourney Steward

Fields: Global, Comparative

Advisors:  Nancy Wingfield, Sean Farrell         


I am currently finishing my disseration, “Prostitution and American Immigration Policy: Panic over ‘White Slavery,’ 1890-1920." I have presented my work at the Sexuality, Human Rights, and Public Policy Conference, Marquette University; at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana Gender Symposium; and at the Hull History Center in Hull, Yorkshire.