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Current Students

Class of 2018 

Matt Amis

BA in History, Reinhardt University

Growing up in the suburbs of London, I quickly developed an appreciation for the significance of historic sites and landmarks towards local and national identity. The abundance of these sites within striking distance from my house allowed me to immerse myself in history and culture from a very young age. When the time came to attend university, I decided to combine my passion for history with my athletic capability and pursue a soccer scholarship to the United States. Living abroad as an international student athlete, while challenging at times, was an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. After receiving my undergraduate degree in History with a minor in English, I explored various sporting and academic avenues for a professional career, but ultimately became attracted to the field of Historic Preservation. Here at the MSHP program in Charleston I hope to develop a deeper understanding as to the practices and theory of Historic Preservation, and to ultimately set myself up for a career that will positively impact my community.      

Alix Barrett

BA in Political Science, Clemson University

Alix Barrett is from Spartanburg, South Carolina. She grew up in a historic house and has fond memories of playing with the cannonballs dug up from the garden. She watched her parents lovingly restore their house to its original condition and credits this for her initial interest in historic preservation. Alix went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Clemson University. Shortly after graduating, she became head of B2B marketing and competitive intelligence for a Fortune 100 company. After three years in marketing, Alix left to become a ghost writer on a cookbook in Charleston, South Carolina. She decided to seek a career which she was truly passionate about and found the MSHP program in Charleston. Alix is interested in historic interiors specifically material goods.

Nathan Betcher

BA in History and Political Science, University of Kentucky

I am originally from Placerville, California I attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with BAs in History and Political Science. I chose Historic Preservation as a way to stay involved with history, but in a more practical and hands on way. It is exciting to have the opportunity to work in historic buildings and sites like so many of the places I enjoy visiting. Prior to enrolling in the Clemson/College of Charleston Historic Preservation program, I had a small taste of historic preservation during my time volunteering at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor while at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was gaining experience in documentation, research, preservation, and restoration. I am excited to explore everything Charleston has to offer, and look forward to the challenges the next two years bring.

Sam Biggers

BA in Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington

My time growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia played a huge role in my decision to pursue a career in Historic Preservation. I grew up in an early 19th century brick farmhouse that had gone through multiple changes throughout its history. Trying to sort through these changes served as the spark for my interest first in local history, and then in preservation. To top it off, I lived minutes from Staunton, Virginia, one of the nation’s finest examples of the benefits of preservation. In 2012, I began school at UMW thinking that preservation may be a field I was interested. After a few classes, I knew that it was. As I continued at UMW, my interest grew. This program is the logical next step in my studies, and I’m excited to get a perspective on a different region of the USA.

Claire Bushemi

BA in Architecture, Miami University

I grew up in Crown Point, Indiana, right outside of Chicago.  I was raised around grandma’s kitchen table, hearing stories about the good old days.  My architecture background opened my eyes to not only the built environment, but also the skill and thoughtfulness that went into older buildings.  I studied in Florence, Italy for a semester, where I realized every detail has a story to tell.  After working as an exhibit designer for a few years and never being truly satisfied, I decided to go back to school for something I know I love.  Historic Preservation seemed to be the perfect fit for all things I deem awesome, old buildings and their stories.  When I grow up I’d like to work with architects doing adaptive reuse and preservation projects. 

Andi Cooper

BS in Structural Engineering, Clemson University

Growing up in Charleston formed the foundation I think for my interest in Historical Preservation. I used to spend Sunday afternoons with my family walking around the city soaking up the surroundings. Having a background in Structural Engineering, I hope to meld the two fields together as I continue into my career. I have found that old buildings are something I have always been interested in and passionate about. I figured if I was going to do structural engineering, I should do it with something I care about. I mentioned this to a professor of mine my senior year at Clemson and they suggested the Clemson and College of Charleston MSHP Program. After discovering the program, I jumped right on it and have been excited to immerse myself in the studies and techniques it has to offer.

Mary Fesak

BA in History and Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington

I am from Fairfax, Virginia, and I was drawn to the study of history and historic preservation due to the destruction of historic resources in Northern Virginia. My academic background is in history and historic preservation with an emphasis on gender and sexuality in American history, the Antebellum and Civil War, technology and culture, digital history, agricultural preservation, and building conservation. Much of my research has focused on the study of gender and the built environment, seeking to understand how women’s perceptions of gender norms were manifested through their construction of spaces outside of the domestic sphere during the early-to-mid twentieth century. Additionally, internship experiences with conditions assessments at Woodlawn and the Pope-Leighey House, investigation and documentation at President Lincoln’s Cottage, and the application of photogrammetry in preservation engineering with Silman Associates, as well as my participation in the exterior conservation treatment of the Pope-Leighey House, have stimulated my interest in building pathology and the role of technology in building documentation, conservation, and management.

Kate Gallotta

BA in History, James Madison University

I grew up in the small town of Suffolk, VA, only an hour away from the Historic Triangle. Before settling in Suffolk, I spent a year in Newport, Rhode Island and after being surrounded by the beautiful mansions of their historic district, I knew that my passion was going to be historic homes. While at James Madison University, I studied History with a concentration in Public History which focused on the study of museum work. With this focus, I interned with the Virginia Quilt Museum as a Curatorial Intern, my first real exposure to preservation work. I loved the attention to detail the internship required and how the process of preserving the objects was also a learning experience.  During undergrad, I took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy. While I as abroad, I made every effort to see as much as I could. I was so moved by the beauty of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that I decided to pursue a path that would allow me to work with other beautiful structures. I chose this graduate program because of its focus on historic buildings and the study of  building details and upkeep. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to live in a place where the entire city can be used as a teaching tool.

Diana Inthavong

BA in Art History and Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington

Architecture has been an interest of mine ever since I was a child, but my appreciation for historic architecture in particular developed later in life. I grew up in Northern Virginia surrounded by constant development, in a house that looked like all the other houses on the block- not very exciting. One of my favorite things about going to college in historic Fredericksburg was being able to appreciate the character and integrity of the homes downtown. I quickly became enamored with their beauty, and the stories that they told. While at the University of Mary Washington, I earned degrees in art history and historic preservation, with a majority of my course load focusing on architectural history, and design. After graduation and much soul searching, I decided to continue my education and further pursue my passion for historic architecture, and learn more about building conservation and pathology.

Lauren Lindsay

BA in Architecture, University of North Carolina Charlotte

I was born and raised in North Augusta, South Carolina. From an early age, I have had an interest for both buildings and for historic things. Handling artifacts and thinking of the important roles they played the lives of people centuries ago captivates and excites me. Old structures are no different. As I walk through historic spaces someone once called “home” my heart begins to beat fast. My passion for buildings and their design lead me to pursue two architectural degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a student, I interned with an architectural firm where I was given the opportunity to work on several projects with historic buildings. Though I have always had an appreciation for the craftsmanship and design of old structures, the excitement and joy I experienced while working on each of these projects was a revelation to me that my future career had to be one which incorporated the architecture of historic buildings and their sites. As I begin this new phase of my education, I am both excited and grateful to have been given such a unique opportunity to study Historic Preservation in, what I believe is, the most beautiful city in the South!

Steven Lyles

BA in Political Science, University of South Carolina

As most of the other students in this program, I have always felt the draw of the lodestone rock that is Historic Preservation, but the draw has not always been readily apparent. I wanted to be a lawyer, but as my undergraduate experience drew to an end I knew my heart was not in it, so I delayed. I took time off from school, I took a job for the money, I took a fun job with no direction. I took a long time reflecting upon what aspects I valued most in a career and I knew what I wanted when I found my heart in the bottom of an old, rotten sailboat. In my earlier years I spent time on construction sites with my grandfather who was a contractor specializing in historic preservation. Being on these sites exposed me to the wonderment of discoveries beheld in antiquated buildings, some of which revealed only in the dissective and destructive process of remodeling. In a way you could say those were my beginnings, but it wasn’t until I had the right combination of experiences in different fields that I realized I would too embark on a career in adaptive reuse and preservation. I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Clemson MSHP program and look forward to building the foundation of a successful career in historic preservation over the next two years.  

Katie Martin

BA in Art History, University of North Florida
I was raised in northeast Florida, and spent quite a bit of time in Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine, two cities rich with history. I have always been drawn to old buildings and structures and some of my best memories were spent in the attic of my grandparents’ Tudor home in Nebraska. While in college, I studied abroad in Italy and thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by the beautiful architecture and ancient ruins. After graduation, I worked for a law firm in the old Title & Trust Company of Florida's building in downtown Jacksonville. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and still has its original elevator and two of its vaults. While I enjoyed my time at the firm, I knew that I was more curious about the building I worked in, and I wanted to shift my focus towards historic preservation. I moved to Charleston in the summer of 2015, and fell in love with the city and the opportunities it presented. I was drawn to the Clemson/College of Charleston MSHP program because of its hands on approach. I am excited to be a part of such a respected program, and look forward to all of the experiences it has to offer.

Torie McCollum

BA in History and Communication Studies, Ohio University

I am from Toledo, Ohio and I graduated from Ohio University with two degrees in History and Communication Studies. My interest in historic preservation came about from both an interest in history and in building construction. My parents own a contracting company, which allowed me the opportunity to experience the building process. My specific interest is in Midwestern architecture, because historic preservation is not well represented in the Midwest. I am interested in buildings and community connections, and I am excited to be working in Charleston and experiencing the history and preservation efforts here.

Kristina Poston

BS in Anthropology, College of Charleston

Originally from Florence, SC, Kristina received her B.S. in Anthropology from College of Charleston in 2010. Her field school was part of the Charleston’s Walled City Task Force in conjuncture with the Charleston Museum in Charleston, SC. She has archaeological field experience at the Topper Site in Allendale, SC and Colonial Dorchester State historic site as well as extensive cultural resource management projects throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. Her interests include historical and prehistoric archaeology with emphasis on public engagement. She recently was the Archaeology Field Coordinator for the Home of James and Dolly Madison in Orange Virginia. Her interest with the program is to gain a better working knowledge of preservation and use it to help further educate the public with cultural materials.