I earned my Ph.D. from Ohio State University with a concentration in the history of American Foreign Relations in 2004 and joined the CCSU history faculty that year. I became chair of the department in 2018 and served until January 2021. I am currently an Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, with responsibilities for Graduate Studies. I previously was the Interim Special Assistant to the Provost for Interdisciplinary, Multicultural, and Student Programs, overseeing and supporting projects such as the Center for International Education, academic multicultural centers, the Honors Program, and Living Learning Communities. I have also served in academic leadership roles as a Presidential Fellow, Senior Presidential Fellow, and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs.
In September 2021, Central presented me with the “Distinguished Service Award,” the University’s highest honor.
I have written, cowritten, or coedited three books. In 2019 I helped to bring the final piece of scholarship of the late Dr. Lawrence Gelfand of the University of Iowa to print when McFarland published The United States and the Rise of Tyrants: Diplomatic Relations with Nationalist Dictatorships Between the World Wars. The University of Wisconsin Press published Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War, which I coedited with Brad Austin and Matthew Masur, in 2013. The book helps teachers at all levels navigate through cultural touchstones, myths, political debates, and the myriad trouble spots enmeshed within the national memory of one of the most significant eras in American history. My first book, Ireland and Irish Americans, 1932-1945: The Search for Identity, which grew in part out of my research as a Visiting Fellow at the Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin, came out in 2010. My long-term research interest is a book that examines the effects of Robert F. Kennedy’s foreign travel on his domestic policy positions.
Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War was the first book in the Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History, published by the University of Wisconsin Press. I coedit the Series with Brad and Matt. Two books in the HGS have won the James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association. Volumes in the Harvey Goldberg Series give college and secondary history instructors a deeper understanding of the past as well as the tools to help them teach it creatively and effectively. Each focuses on a specific historical topic and offers a wealth of content and resources, providing concrete examples of how teachers can approach the subject in the classroom.
In 2009, I won both the Connecticut State University Board of Trustees Teaching Award for CCSU and the CSU System-Level Trustees Teaching Award, becoming the first CSU system teaching award winner at the university. I have written and won five US Department of Education “Teaching American History” grants, totaling almost $5 million. I also served as the Director of Secondary Education for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
I have given talks in Ireland and Poland and presented conference papers at national meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Conference for Irish Studies, and many others.