The History Majors’ Committee

The History Majors’ Committee (HMC), headed by the department’s Academic Intern, plays an important role in creating a community connecting students and faculty, which goes beyond the classroom. They have organized events such as our annual Pizza Party, Faculty/Student jeopardy, senior thesis presentations as well as conversations about positionality and methodology within History. Working closely with faculty supervisors, the HMC also publishes fall and spring issues of Gulliver, the departmental newsletter, along with annual volumes of the Vassar History Review featuring student research papers.

Committee Members

  • Molly Canfield
    Molly (she/her) is a senior History and Hispanic Studies major from Tamworth, New Hampshire. She spent last spring in Madrid and is interested in US, Latin American, and women’s history. She learned how to knit in quarantine and made 2.5 sweaters.
  • Fatima Osman
    Fatima (she/her) is a senior history major with an international politics correlate. Her main academic interest is sexuality/ sexual expression throughout the African diaspora during the 20th century and how it can transform when it interacts with revolutions, religion, art, and colonization. Outside of school, I love dancing and going on walks around campus.
  • Julianna Aguja
    Julianna (she/her) is a sophomore from outside of Boston. She is most interested in studying 20th century U.S. history, focusing on labor history and the experiences of marginalized groups. Along with the Majors Committee, she works as Professor Brigham’s research assistant. Outside of Swift, you can find her spending time with friends on library lawn, listening to music, or exploring the scenic Hudson Valley.
  • Pia Tate
    Pia is from Mill Valley, California and is a History and French double maior. She is most interested in Indian history during and after British colonial rule. In addition to being on the History Major’s Committee, Pia has worked as a research assistant for the department and is part of EPI and the Vassar Student Philanthropy Council. She hopes to work abroad after her studies at Vassar. Pia loves hiking and backpacking, traveling, coffee, a (occasional) good book, and drawing when she can find the time. Her favorite Vassar spots are the sun room in the library and the orchard above Sunset Lake.
  • Alexander Nowak
    Alexander Nowak is a sophomore History and Japanese double major. He is interested in just about everything, but has especially enjoyed courses on the effects of and resistance to imperialism around the world. Xander is from Arlington Heights, Illinois. He spends most of his time adding books to his goodreads, rather than actually reading them. He’s also on the Loeb Student Committee, and enjoys jogging with RunVassar.
  • Louise Ambler
    Louise (she/her/hers) is from Cambridge, MA. She is a History and Drama double major. She has a wide range of historical interests including 19th century history, maritime history, and women’s history. Outside of the classroom she is captain of the Rugby team and is involved in student theater.


  • Eleanor Happy
    Eleanor (she/her/hers) is a senior History and French and Francophone Studies double major from New York City. She is working on her history senior thesis and is interested in Modern Middle Eastern and American history. Eleanor is also the co-president of Big Kldz Sketch Comedy on campus. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her friends.
  • Heidi Compton
    Heidi is a junior History major and Anthropology correlate from New Jersey. She has a particular interest in the History of Medicine and Disability as well as the History and Archaeology of 19th-century United States. On campus, she is a member of the field hockey team and off campus she loves to explore local ruins, historical sites, and cool coffee shops in the Mid-Hudson region.
  • Jacqueline Gil
    Jacqueline is a senior History and English double major from California, with a particular interest in 19th century literature and women’s history. On campus, she’s a Copy Editor for the Miscellany News and enjoys reading in the Music Library
  • Brian Scannell
    Brian (he/him/his) is a senior History major from New York. His interests are in the late 20th century and foreign relations. Besides studying history, Brian likes running around Poughkeepsie and playing Just Dance on the Wii
  • Sashawna Isaacs
    Sashawna is from Poughkeepsie, New York and a senior History major with a correlate in American Politics. She is also the current academic intern. She is most interested in Black studies, especially the intersection of race and gender throughout global history. She hopes to study law and become an immigration attorney post Vassar. She also stays connected to her community by working with the Vassar Education Collaboration program Exploring College, which provides mentorship for Poughkeepsie High School students
  • Yael Gelman
    Yael (she/her) is a junior History major, with Creative Writing and Jewish Studies correlates! She is a member of the Women’s Lacrosse Team as well as Project Period and the Outings Club! Yael loves reading and writing, and her life goal is to one day publish a novel!

Areas of Interest

Nation, Colony, Borderland, and Frontier

  • Colonialism, imperialism, post-colonialism, frontiers and conquests
  • Nation Building, Nationalism
  • Migration, Immigration, Frontiers, Borderlands
  • Cultural exchange

Gender, Race, Class, and Family

  • Women, gender, sexuality
  • Family, childhood, youth
  • Class and Social Rank, oligarchies, social reform
  • Race, Ethnicity, anti-semitism, race relations, genocide

Conflict, Resolution, Rights, and Revolution

  • War, militarization, conflict and society
  • Human Rights, Social Rights, citizenship
  • Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance Movements

Power, Politics, Labor, and Capital

  • Politics, Political Thought and Culture
  • Foreign Relations, diplomacy
  • Economic History, capitalist development, industrialization
  • Slavery, Bonded Labor

Ideas, Religion, Culture, and Education

  • Technology, Medicine and Science
  • Religion and Society
  • Intellectual History, Ideas, Education history and Literature
  • Cultural History

City, Region, Environment, and the Transnational

  • Environmental History
  • Urban History, cities
  • Transnational History
  • Transnational social movements

Memory, Survey, and Historical Method

  • Historical Method, Memory and Public Memory
  • Survey Course—No one or two dominant themes

Header image: Artist Unknown, Untitled [Four Women in Parade Attire Step Forward with Hands on Hips], 1946, Gelatin silver print, Gift of Peter J. Cohen, Photo credit: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center