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Current Students

Class of 2019

John Bennett

JOHN BENNETT

PE, SE, BS and MS in Civil Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

I am a native Charlestonian with a deep appreciation for historic houses. While working on my family's 1820 house throughout my youth, surrounded by the architecture and history of Charleston, I decided to focus my education and career toward the goal of becoming a structural engineer specializing on the preservation of historic structures. After completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering at Georgia Tech, I worked in Atlanta for 6 years designing concrete structures for one of the largest firms in the southeast. I designed mid-rise and high-rise offices, apartments, parking decks, and hotels. After becoming registered as a PE and an SE, I decided it was time to return home with my wife and son. With my MS in Historic Preservation, I hope to tailor my engineering practice toward existing structures and designing solutions for our aging buildings for future generations.


Kim Hlavin

KIM HLAVIN

BA in Historic Preservation and Community Planning, College of Charleston

Originally from a small suburb of Cleveland Ohio, I earned my BA in Historic Preservation and Community Planning from the College of Charleston. My respect for historic structures emerged as a child when I unsuccessfully advocated for my family's historic barn against demolition and subdivision. I remember studying even the small details; the hayloft ladder rungs worn smooth through year of use, and the timber-peg construction. I appreciate the nostalgia that these simple details bring. I worked in architecture, and preservation in Charleston before moving west to explore other careers. I founded a sustainable food business, and worked as a textile designer. After some time in San Francisco, I was thrilled to return to Charleston to delve into different aspects of conservation, to climb under some old buildings, and to revive my passion in preservation.


Kate howard

KATE HOWARD

BA American Studies and Archaeology, The George Washington University

I was born and raised in an old house in a historic district in Baltimore City. I was raised by parents who were both history majors that turned into lawyers, never leaving their love of history behind. This led to many trips to museums, historic homes, and even antique shows as a kid where I began to realize old things are cool. From there I knew history was my passion, but I wanted to go beyond the textbooks that usually focus on winners and elites and help tell the story of societies as wholes through their left behind materials, especially groups that can get overlooked. I chose to study archaeology in D.C. for this very reason, and then quickly realized understanding American identity and heritage was equally as important. During my time in D.C. I worked with a non-profit that helped under-served youth with academics, interned at a historic house museum in Georgetown, and finally, interned for the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a solid 5 minute walk from my apartment). I chose preservation because it is the perfect intersection of everything I am interested in; hands-on-work, fun and old documents, and ability to work with communities to share their stories and important places with others who may not ever get to hear them.


Rucha

RUCHA KAMATH

BA in Architecture, University of Mumbai, India

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India and my interest in my country's diverse heritage was instilled in my by my parents and my ancestral history. I took up my undergraduate education in architecture as I had keen interest in art of building design and interpreting their relationship to the build environment. But it was when I visited my first palace I was head over heels in awe of the beauty of historic buildings, their spatial experience and craftsmanship. To bolster my passion for historic buildings I have also worked as a heritage walk leader in Mumbai. I am interested in understanding traditional buildings construction techniques and the use of various materials, but I am also looking forward to experience the various facets of Historic Preservation through this beautiful course base in Historic Charleston.


Dana

DANA MARKS

BA in Architecture, Wellseley College

A native of Bethesda, Maryland, I received my BA in Architecture from Wellesley College in Massachusetts where I sparked an interest in architectural history. Upon graduating from Wellesley, I stayed in New England to work at an art gallery and intern with the Boston Preservation Alliance, where i was able to gain perspectives in historic preservation from the public and private spheres, as well as read up on many past and current projects throughout the city. Prior to coming to Charleston, I was the Gallery Coordinator at the Copley Society of Art, a non-profit art association and gallery with a rich history going back to the 1870s. Always with a interest for cities and their built environments, I came to the MSHP program in Charleston to gain hands-on experience in a new city south of the Mason-Dixon Line.


Amy

AMY MENDELSON

BA in Journalism and  Urban & Community Studies, University of Connecticut

MA in Urban Planning & Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

As a freshman, I was pretty set on pursuing a career in journalism with an interest in copy editing and layout design. In the final stretch of undergraduate I took a history course focusing on architecture and city development, and in finding a new interest I quickly switched gears to urban planning. In graduate school my concentration was in urban design, but I again found myself drawn to the history courses, specifically an elective in historic preservation. After graduating I took a job in southern Delaware working for an engineering firm as a municipal planner. While I enjoyed my job, more recently there was a nagging feeling something was missing. I had always been interested in historic preservation and this seemed like the perfect time to refocus my career. I'm excited to be a part of the MSHP Program and studying in a city with a long history of dedication to historic preservation.


kerri

KERRI ROSS

BFA in Fine Arts, The University of Tennessee

I grew up in various smaller counties surrounding Nashville, TN. From larger towns to smaller ones, I saw an assortment of different architectural styles. I went in to my undergraduate career knowing I wanted to pursue art but unsure what I specifically wanted my concentration in. While in one of my many art history classes, I was introduced to the world of preservation and restoration with a semester long project where the students had to put a show together with archeological finds from Eastern Europe. The culmination of this project and experiencing such a variety of architectural design during my childhood and later, studying abroad, inevitably led to my decision to join the Historic Preservation Program at Clemson and College of Charleston. While I do not have a very large knowledge of the world of preservation, I love searching the unknown and looking for what might be a good fit for me. I cannot wait for the experiences to come!


sada

SADA STEWART

BA American History and American Cultural Studies, Princeton University

Born in York, Pennsylvania, I grew up with a fascination of any story from history-my elementary school librarian could not stock the Dear America Diary books fast enough for me. THough I moved on from that series and stories of historical fiction, I did not lose my interest in history; I simply grew into a love of history in academia. I continued on to Princeton University, that passion for stories of the past only grew, and I received my degree in American History and American Cultural Studies, where my research concentration was 19th and 20th century American history, culminating in a thesis entitled Tides of Change: How Sandbars and Shipwrecks Along the Coast of Corolla, North Carolina Reformed the United States Life-Saving Service. During a year off from school, I found myself living in Corolla and Boone, North Carolina-small towns on opposite borders of the state, both of which have rich histories that have evolved into rich traditions of preservation. Forgoing my initial plan of law school, and following my passions and interests, I pursued this program of Historic Preservation, and hope to use this as a path into becoming an advocate for the buildings from the past who rely on people to tell their stories of significance. 


chris

CHRIS TENNY

BA in Applied Anthropology, minors in French and History, UNC Charlotte

Growing up in the Carolinas, I was brought up in the history of my large, extended but local family. The stories of times long since passed that I would hear from relatives and friends fascinated me. Rather than simply images these yesteryears, I longed to be immersed in them. And then, I realized I wanted to share my fascination with others-and protect the past that made this passion of mine possible. My undergraduate tenure at UNC Charlotte, earning me a BA in Applied Anthropology and minors in French and History, permitted me opportunities to do just that. Although diverse in application, (the excavations in the Carolinas and Israel, and internship as a researcher at a plantation, and employment teaching middle school children English in France), they all reinforced to me the prospect that the past is fragile and needs scientific preservation approaches to curate, maintain, and speak for the histories behind it. After returning to the U.S. after my stint in Europe, I revisited some family members in the Charleston area and was informed of Clemson University and the College of Charleston's joint program in Historic Preservation. After applying to the program and attending 2 of its Open Houses, I was completely confident that this institution, its education, and the experiences to come would set me up for a leadership career in cultural resource management. 


kendra

KENDRA WATERS

BA in Architecture, Wellesley College

Growing up in the seacoast of New Hampshire, I was introduced to historic buildings from a young age. While I always knew I wanted to enter the architecture field in some form, I chose a liberal arts architecture degree for undergrad to allow myself the opportunity and time to explore the different aspects of the field, and find what part drew me the most. Fortunately, I had some excellent professors who introduced me to the field of studying and researching old buildings. A couple of family moves while I was in college to Aachen, Germany and Raleigh, North Carolina, introduced me to the world of historic architecture outside of New England, and I fell in love with southern buildings. After a year of teaching in (wicked) rural northeastern North Carolina, I knew I wanted to enter the preservation of filed and bring those techniques and opportunities to communities that have amazing historic structures but no idea how to interpret and use them in ways that are beneficial to those struggling regions. To follow this dream, I knew I wanted to study Historic Preservation in the South, and there's no better place or program to do that the Clemson/College of Charleston Historic Preservation program!


kwon

KYUNHEA KWON WEST

BA in Journalism, University of Maine

From the land of big woods and wild ocean to her love of cities, I grew up in Old Town, Maine, a long way from my hometown of Seoul, South Korea. My academic background is in communications with a minor in studio art. I've worked in advertising for years as an Account Director for renowned creative agencies from Saatchi & Saatchi to Young & Rebicam in NYC. I've always been interested in public service and volunteer with NYJL serving underprivileged communities working closely with children. My favorite topic in school was history and I've traveled extensively seeking various historic sites from the oldest existing parliament in Pingvellir, climbing the Great Wall in Changping and exploring Moorish castles in Sintra. I'm interested in bringing my background in communications and experience in technology to the field of historic preservation to serve the greater public. I'm excited to advance my education in historic Charleston with its wealth of buildings and rich history to learn from.



Class of 2020

HOLLY BEHM

BA in Studio Arts, Penn State

 Growing up I was surrounded by people who loved to travel the world, and their passion for the unknow and the cultures abroad truly shaped me as a person. Seeing photos from their trips inspired a long and deeply held love for art, architecture, and foreign studies. I ran through a slew of majors before settling on Studio Art, for my undergraduate, but in the end I wasn't really satisfied with my career path. It was upon further introspection that I realized that my passion truly laid in the preservation of cultural heritage, and in the stories that these artifacts and buildings tell. I'm looking forward to learning even more about preservation.


KAYLEIGH DEFENBAUGH

BA in Advertising, Southern Methodist University

 A trip to Versailles when I was 11 sparked my deep interest in understanding historic buildings and the lives of those who have lived in them. It wasn't until I moved from Texas to Chicago in 2014, however, that I actually began to consider a career change into historic preservation. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by inspiring, old buildings on a daily basis. I started spending my free time at Chicago History Museum and volunteered for my neighborhood's historic preservation association - Chicago's Old Town Triangle Association. I also had the deep pleasure of helping my family restore their 1870's townhouse in Chicago at this time. Finally, a trip to Charleston and the Clemson/College of Charleston program, confirmed my interest making my passion for historic preservation a career path rather than just a hobby.


MONICA HENDRICKS

BA in History, SUNY New Paltz

 Born in New Jersey, and raised in New York, I moved to Charleston three years ago after graduating from SUNY New Paltz and became a licensed carriage tour guide. I had always loved architecture and old buildings. Once learning about the buildings of Charleston to become a tour guide was when I realized that working on old buildings and sites to preserve them is exactly what I wanted to do. My family's lake house in Upstate New York has been passed down for six generations, and sparked my interest historic buildings since I was young. I've lived in New York, Connecticut, and North Carolina and have been lucky enough to travel all over the US and Europe furthering my love of history, monuments, and architecture. I thought I wanting to do more of renovation/construction side of preservation, but now seeing that there is much more that I can learn in the program. I know that when I am done I will love the work I'll be doing.


TANESHA HIGH

 BA in Art History, St. Andrews Presbyterian College

 I have spent my entire life between Virginia's Historic Triangle and James River Plantations. I was nearly a teenager by the time I realized that Colonial Williamsburg was not your typical historic downtown. Watching the successes and failures of local preservation efforts inspired me to pursue a career in the field. I started off as a field archaeologist for CRM firms and then worked as a tour guide in house museums. I cam to the program ot gain the knowledge and skills needed for positions that will allow me to have more of an impact on preservation rather than conducting excavations on sites already lost or interpreting sites that have already been restored.


ELLIOTT SIMON

BA in Architecture, Savannah College of Art and Design

I grew up in Deland, Florida and from an early age was interested in historic places. Family vacations had many historic sites and museums where I was dragging my family along instead of the other way around. My undergraduate studies in the historic city of Savannah, GA gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the historic context and the cause and effect relationships on communities. I was drawn to the program to gain firsthand experience from a city that really helped preservation get its start, and learn where I wanted to go in the field of historic preservation. With my experiences in the program, I hope to work for different heritage conservation organizations and government institutions to use preservation as a way to improve the lives of others and help communities all over the world.


RACHEL WILSON

BA in Fashion Merchandising, Drexel University

I came to Charleston from Philadelphia where I completed my undergrad degree. I was introduced to the historic preservation program through an archeological dig I did in Tel Megiddo, Israel in 2017. After coming back home I wanted to find a way to get involved with the maintenance of ruins and structures and that led her to Clemson and CofC's Historic Preservation program. I am interested in pursuing the conservation and restoration of historic structures owned by National Park Service, particularly in the West and Southwest. I hope to work on historic structures and advocate for them through policy work and direct conservation efforts.