Position: Assistant Professor of History, Montana State University
Field: Higher Education
Thesis: Frederick Townsend Ward & Charles Gordon in China’s Taiping Civil War
When I transferred to Mary Washington in the spring of 2003, I had no idea I was traipsing into a department that would change my life. Although history was a natural fit for me, I couldn’t have imagined that one senior seminar in the spring of 2004 on the Chinese revolution, taught by Sue Fernsebner, would lead to life as a Chinese history professor nine years later. After graduating, I moved to Taiwan for Chinese language training, and then entered the modern Chinese history PhD program at UC San Diego in 2007. I completed my PhD in 2013, and am now an assistant professor of history at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. I attribute much of my post-undergraduate success to the foundation I received at Mary Washington, and the continued support of faculty long after I had graduated.
Having seen undergraduate education at four institutions thus far, I have come to appreciate more and more the structure of the history major I experienced at Mary Washington. I was learning to write, research, discuss, and think critically about a range of materials, topics, and areas – skills that would have served me well in any career. At all stages, we had access to talented faculty members who were also incredibly invested in our success both in and outside of the classroom. I strive to bring the same enthusiasm and accessibility to my own students. And, as someone who teaches courses not just on Asian history, but games and play, I am grateful for the willingness of the department and professors to share their work & that of UMW’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT): I am incredibly inspired by the creative applications of technology to the teaching of history, and have found my alma mater a great resource and source of support.