Meet the Research Team

Public Lands History Center at Colorado State UniversityRuth Alexander, Project Principal Investigator

I am a faculty member in the History Department at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, where I teach U.S. history, specializing in environmental history and the history of women, race/ethnicity, and sexuality. I have been a Principal Investigator with the Public Lands History Center since 2008, leading projects for Rocky Mountain National Park, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The Scotts Bluff History project is one of the PLHC’s biggest and most ambitious undertakings, and we’re excited to be working with the wonderful staff at SCBL and the larger community. Our goal is to provide historical research that will help the park staff make effective decisions about exhibits, visitor interpretation, and natural and cultural resource management for years to come.

 

Public Lands History Center at Colorado State UniversityAdrian Howkins, Project Co-Principal Investigator

I am a faculty member in the history department at Colorado State University where I teach global environmental history.  My research usually focuses on the history of the polar regions, but I am very excited to be involved in this project.

 

 

 

 

bzdek Maren Bzdek, Project Administrator

Maren is the Program Manager at the Public Lands History Center, and administrates and oversees all projects undertaken by the PLHC. She is responsible for overall management of the Scotts Bluff project, including providing crucial budget and administrative support.

 

 

 

Doug Sheflin, Lead Researcher

I am an Adjunct Instructor in the History Department at Colorado State University and Lead Researcher for this project.  I study the history of America since 1865 with special emphases on environmental history and the history of the American West.  I am very excited to work on this project, as it aligns very well with my own work that deals with the environmental history of southeastern Colorado during the twentieth century.  More importantly, this project provides us an excellent chance to forge new ways for staff, residents, and visitors to appreciate the history of this unique place and the ways that people have interacted with it over time.

 

100_6455Hannah Braun, Lead Researcher

I am the Program Assistant and Research Associate at the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University. I hold an M.A. in Public History from CSU, concentrating on the areas of Museum Studies, Historic Preservation, and Western U.S. Environmental History. My research focuses on interpreting cultural landscapes by looking at the relationships between people, the natural environment, and the built environment, and the ways in which people have modified and altered the landscape over time. I am excited to bring my research background to this project and assist park staff with interpreting the history of the monument’s rich cultural and natural resources.

 

DSC_0459Andrew Cabrall, Graduate Student Researcher

Andrew is a master’s candidate at Colorado State University’s history department. He has provided research for and written an chapter for the project on Native Americans during the contact period of Scotts Bluff’s history, and a second chapter on Native Americans in the Scotts Bluff area from the reservation era to the present. In early stages of the PLHC’s work with the monument, he also worked on a comprehensive history of irrigation and water use in the area of Scotts Bluff National Monument.

 

DSC_0699Jordan Cooper, Graduate Student Researcher

I am a master’s candidate of Colorado State University’s history department with a concentration in cultural resource management. In the spring of 2014, I had the opportunity to work with the Public Lands History Center on a project for CSU’s Lory Student Center, which looked at the ways in which the LSC contributed to and reflected the democratization of American higher education. I am passionate about history and exploring the ways in which people create and perceive cultural identity, thus I feel fortunate that my research for the Scott’s Bluff project focuses on American Indians, post white-settlement (roughly 1870-the present). In the summer of 2014, I contributed research to the chapter on Native Americas from the reservation era to the present.

 

FullSizeRender-1Nic Gunvaldson, Graduate Student Researcher

I am a graduate student in the history master’s program at Colorado State University where I currently study  the American West. My thesis (in progress) examines the role of the human body in creating and defining Colorado’s red light districts in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The Scotts Bluff project has allowed me the wonderful opportunity to look at how people and ideas moved across the continent on the Overland Trail before ultimately setting in some interesting and turbulent places like Leadville, Aspen, Telluride and Denver, Colorado.

 

DSC_0002Joel Scherer, Graduate Student Researcher

Joel graduated from Colorado State University in May of 2014 with his M.A. in History. While a student, Joel provided crucial foundational research for the Scotts Bluff project, including writing a comprehensive historiography of the overland trail migration literature.

 

 

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