Barrs Chapel C.M.E Church

Student Assistants


Joseph M. Bryan (B.A. in History, University of Alabama) is in his second year of the M.A. in Public History at MTSU.  This semester he is staffing the Downtown Heritage Center and creating trail markers for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.  His research interests include industrial and transportation history.


Lisa Lowry (B.S. in History, Tennessee Technological University) is in her first year in the M.S. in Computer Science program at MTSU. Her interests include history of science and technology as well as topics in the digital humanities. This semester she is currently updating the Tennessee Century Farms website and assisting with digital content organization.

Amanda Barry (B.A. in History, Louisiana State University) is in her first year of the graduate program in Public History at MTSU concentrating in historic preservation. This semester she is assisting with American Democracy Project.


Torren Gatson (B.A. in History from North Carolina Central University; M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History from North Carolina Central University) is in his first year of the PhD Public History Program. This semester he is working on a publication for Polk-Clark School, which was a Rosenwald school and African American high school in Gibson County, and various projects at the Heritage center. His research interest includes twentieth Century African American, and U.S. South, as well as historic preservation and museum management.


Aleia Brown (B.A. in History with concentration in African American History from Coppin State University; M.A. in Public History from Northern Kentucky University) is in her first year of the PhD Public History Program. This semester she is working on redeveloping the exhibit space at the Heritage Center and working with a team to develop a heritage tourism plan for Owingsville, Kentucky.  For examples of Aleia's work visit her online portfolio at aleiabrown.org.


Jenna Stout (BA in history, Elon University; MA in American and Cherokee history, Western Carolina University; MLIS, University of North Carolina at Greensboro) is in her first year of the Ph.D. in public history program at MTSU. This semester she is providing staffing and support to the Heritage Center, assisting with the “Southern Places” collection digitization project, working on the Trail of Tears survey, and collaborating on a heritage assessment plan for Owingsville, Kentucky. Her research interests include the interpretation of health, sanitation, and medical treatment at historic house museums in the Appalachian Mountains and the adaptive reuse of tubercular sanitariums.

Ashley Armstrong (B.A. in anthropology, University of Alabama) is in her second year of the graduate program in public history at MTSU. This semester she is assisting with the Teaching with Primary Sources Across Tennessee program.


Ginna Foster Cannon (B.A. in history and literature, Harvard College; MBA in marketing and management, Columbia Business School; MLAS, Vanderbilt University) is in her second year of the Ph.D. in public history program at MTSU. This semester she is working on a study of Overbrook School (Davidson Co), writing entries for the on-line Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, and assisting with the CHP's development initiatives.


Amber Clawson (B.S. in public relations, emphasis nonprofit organizations, Appalachian State University; M.A. in history, College of Charleston) is in her second year of the Ph.D. in public history program at MTSU. This semester she is working on an exhibit and interpretation workshop for Parker's Crossroads (Henderson Co).


Rachael Finch (B.A. in American history and political science, Metropolitan State University, Denver, Colorado) is in the last year of the graduate program in public history at MTSU. This semester her work will include an exhibit at Traveller’s Rest Plantation (Davidson Co) and research for the Tennessee Civil War Trails program and the Carter’s Cotton Gin site (Williamson Co).

Jessica French (B.A. in American studies, Georgetown University, MLIS C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University) is in her second year of the public history Ph.D. program at MTSU. This semester she is working on National Register nominations for Civil Rights sites in Selma, AL, developing an exhibit for Polk-Clark School (Gibson Co), and writing entries for the on-line Tennessee African-American Resources Guide.


Abby Gautreau (B.A. in history, Randolph-Macon Woman's College; M.St. in history, Univer sity of Oxford) is in her residency year of the Ph.D. in public history program. This semester she is researching Civil Rights sites in Selma, AL, for her dissertation, "Affirmation and Advocacy: Heritage Professionals and the Creation of Political Identity in Marginalized Communities."


Savannah Grandey (B.S. in organizational communication, MTSU) is in her first year in the M.A. in public history program. A native of Middle Tennessee, her interests are in the area’s significance in the antebellum South and Civil War, as well as vernacular architecture in the South. This semester she is providing staffing and support to the Heritage Center, assisting with the "Southern Places" collection digitization project, and developing the Clement Exhibit for the Arts Center of Cannon County.


Lydia Simpson (B.A. in history, University of Alabama at Birmingham; M.A. in history with concentration in public history, MTSU) is in her second year of course work in the PhD in public history program at MTSU. Her projects at the Center include structural survey work for the Trail of Tears and for Historic Lebanon, Tennessee. Her research interests include community development and sustainability from the Reconstruction period through the New Deal era in the American South.

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