Jennifer Ammenti received her M.A. student in the History and Education program in 2015. Jennifer earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Outdoor Education from California State University, Chico in 2001. She then went on to earn a California K-8 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with an English Supplement in 2002. Jennifer has seven years of classroom teaching experience in grades third through fifth and another three years experience as a K-8 Head Librarian and Middle School Advisor. She has taught in public, public charter and private schools almost exclusively in Oakland, California. In 2009, she was a Klingenstein Summer Institute Fellow and in 2011 she earned a Certificate in Educational Technology Leadership from California State University, East Bay. Her research interests include teacher preparation, school reform, urban education, and violence in schools. She is passionate about outdoor education, supporting struggling learners and helping students to understand their strengths, as well as their areas for growth. She embraces difficult conversations and believes they are path to not only personal growth, but systemic change.
Bryan Bishop completed his M.A. in the History and Education Program in October 2016. He graduated Cum Laude with Honors in History and Political Science from the University of Houston Honors College. Beyond majoring in History and Political Science, he minored in Phronesis: A Program in Politics and Ethics. While at the University of Houston, he worked in the Special Collections department at the M.D. Anderson Library as a research assistant, both for the library's archives researchers and university professors. Relatively new in the field of education, he taught Social Studies for one year at Houston Independent School District before matriculating at Teachers College to develop further his ardor for History and Political Science. Most recently, before relocating to New York City, he served as a guest teacher, delivering lessons in history and government, in Itara and Namutamba, Uganda. As an undergraduate, his primary interests were the political and social history of modern France and modern European philosophers, chiefly--though not completely-- German (Herder, Fichte, Schiller, et al.). His Honors Thesis, Albert Camus, Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, and the Charter of the National Council of the Resistance, treats the intellectual, socialist wing of the French Resistance movement and how they influenced post-Occupation France. As a graduate student, he focused on how to fuse history and politics with respect to American education systems. Specifically, concerns surrounding adult literacy and how to increase parental involvement in our young scholars' intellectual maturation is principal vis-a-vis his Masters research.
Cody J. Cunningham received his M.A. in the History and Education program. Prior to attending Teachers College, he taught art and coached golf at a local middle school in Dunbar, West Virginia. He attended West Virginia State University graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in History. Further, he holds an A.A. in Biblical Studies from Johnson University located in Knoxville, Tennessee. When not pursuing academic interests, he enjoys travelling, book collecting, fishing, and participating in activities that improve the community.
Damaris Dunn completed her MA in the History and Education program in May 2016. She teaches social studies at the Historic Boys and Girls High School located in Brooklyn, NY. She previously interned at the Urban Justice Center for the Street Vendor Project. The mission of the Street Vendor Project is to advance economic and social justice among the approximately ten thousand people who sell food and merchandise on the streets and sidewalks of New York City. Damaris earned her BA in History at the State University of New York at Oswego in 2012, where she minored in African American and Women's Studies. Her interests include urban education and race and education.
Zev Eleff completed his Master of Arts in the History and Education program. Currently a doctoral candidate at Brandeis University in the field of American Jewish history, Eleff’s work at Teachers College served as a major step toward further his scholarly work. He chose the History and Education program for his M.A. because of the great course offerings that allowed him to study his interests in higher education and American history. In addition to his historical interests, Zev appreciated the uniqueness of TC, where he was able to also devote time to courses on pedagogy in an effort to improve himself as an educator. Zev explains that his experience in the program was a “wonderful opportunity” and appreciated how the program was “sensitive to different forms of education in American history.”
Eleff worked with Professor Cally Waite, who helped him transform a course final paper into an article published in Modern Judaism in 2011. He also produced another scholarly article during that time, this one appearing in Tradition. The faculty’s trust in him to “produce high quality term papers raised my level of scholarship in Jewish scholarship and the history of education” to be of publishable quality. In addition, during his time at TC, Eleff was able to enroll as a rabbinical student at Yeshiva University, noting how the “scholarly and pedagogical sensitivity that was inculcated at TC improved me as a rabbinical intern and teacher.” He completed both programs in 2011.
John Fleming is an Ed.M. student in the History and Education program. He became fascinated with the history of education, broadly, from his experiences working in and coordinating an after-school program in a high school in Walla Walla, WA, and from his experience as a college counselor in high schools in Walla Walla, WA and Atlanta, GA. John has many questions about what education does, who it serves, and how it might serve people equally. He is interested in studying education as it developed in US cities, how different policies and movements have shaped and contested it, and its relationship to capitalist political economy. John studied Music History and played Division 3 soccer at Whitman College. He is a program assistant at the George Bruce library’s Innovation Labs, part of the New York Public Library’s Out-of-School-Time Division. When he is not reading and asking big questions, he is playing or coaching soccer, walking in different New York City neighborhoods, cooking or eating out with his fiancee, listening to records, or playing with his two cats.
Deidre B. Flowers graduated from the History and Education program with a Ph.D in 2017. She has several years of experience in government, non-profit and higher education, and is currently the Associate Director for Business Services in Columbia University’s Office of Alumni and Development. Deidre’s scholarly interests include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Higher Education Leadership and Women’s education. She has presented her research at Teachers College’s 50th anniversary conference on The Impact of the Brown Decision on American Education and Society. Her resulting article, “The Launching of the Sit-In Movement: The Role of the Black Women at Bennett College,” was published in the 2005 Winter/Spring issue of the Journal of African American History. In addition to serving on the History of Education Society’s Graduate Student Committee, she has presented her Bennett College research at the Society’s annual conferences. Deidre earned her BA from Hampton University, an MPA from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs; as well as an Ed.M. from Teachers College in Higher and Postsecondary Education Administration.
George Levesque, currently Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and a lecturer in the History Department at Yale University, was drawn to the History and Education program at Teachers College because the program allowed him to combine his professional interests in university teaching and administration. Unlike most graduate programs in history, which usually focus primarily on preparing students for traditional faculty positions, Levesque observed that the program at Teachers College attracted students from a wide range of backgrounds and career paths. He was also attracted by the unique relationship between Teachers College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia, which provided an opportunity for him to unite the research training of a graduate program in the arts and sciences with the applicability of a professional school.
In reflecting back on his specific experiences in the program, Levesque appreciated the ability to take courses in the history and philosophy of education at TC, as well as courses “across the street” in the history and religion departments at Columbia and Barnard. In addition to several survey courses and many seminars on a range of topics, Levesque also valued the doctoral seminars on historical method, which gave students an opportunity to refine their research questions and discuss drafts of dissertation chapters.
Levesque wrote his dissertation on Noah Porter, longtime Professor of Moral Philosophy at Yale, General Editor of Webster’s Dictionary, and president of Yale from 1871 to 1886. He says he used the study of Porter to investigate and illustrate the transformation of higher education in the nineteenth century from the antebellum college to the research university. In his current work as an academic administrator, Levesque comments that he often sees how the work he did for his dissertation connects directly to contemporary issues: “Many of the questions that come up all the time in my work—tensions between teaching and research, the comparative needs of undergraduate and graduate students, the evolving role of faculty, the changing expectations and backgrounds of students, the competition for scarce resources, the appropriate use of new technology—are strikingly similar to the ones that Noah Porter faced in the 1870s.” Levesque adds, “My studies at TC also prepared me to teach undergraduate courses on the history of education, which is very rewarding.”
Levesque summarizes, “The History and Education program at TC, and the larger network of resources at Columbia, provided an ideal setting for me to develop as a researcher and to prepare for a career in teaching and academic administration. I am grateful for what I learned and for the faculty who taught and guided me along the way."
Soeurette Morley graduated with an MA from the History and Education program in 2017. She is a lower school teacher at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan. For her special project, she focused on the educational history of the all-girls catholic school and its founding. She graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY with a BA in History in 2015. As an undergrad, her main focuses included women's history, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Civil War. She spent a semester abroad in Thailand where she focused on East Asian History and worked as an English teaching assistant in an elementary school. Soeurette is interested in Manhattan's private and public education history, and how migration and culture have played a role. Outside of school, Soeurette loves to spend time and explore new museums with her daughter, Harper, run marathons, and ski.
Fevronia "Nia" Soumakis received her Ph.D. in 2015 from Teachers College, Columbia University where she is currently teaching as an adjunct assistant professor in the History and Education program. Her research interests include the history of education, immigration and ethnicity, and religion and education. She is currently revising her dissertation on the history of Greek Orthodox educational institutions in New York City for publication. Fevronia has presented her work at numerous academic forums and has published several articles on Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek ethnicity. She is working on a co-edited volume titled Greek American Education in Historical Perspective and is serving on the Transnational Committee of the Modern Greek Studies Association.
Megan Summers received her M.A. in the History and Education program. She taught social studies at Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, New Jersey and previously worked at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Megan earned her B.A. in History at Princeton University in 2006, where she also received certificates in African American Studies and Teacher Preparation. Her historical interests include school choice, race and education, and music education’s relationship with jazz and popular genres. She has taught popular music history courses at Montclair State University, and recently published a music history text, These Distorted Times, in 2011.
Program Director: Thomas James
Teachers College, Columbia University 303-D Zankel