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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.


Branden Gunn

BRANDEN GUNN

BA in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts, Colorado State University

Growing up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I always knew that I had a passion for history and whether it was visiting historic sites, watching documentaries, or spending hours exploring the local museums, I never could get enough. As a way to literally step into the past, old buildings, perhaps unsurprisingly, quickly became one of my greatest interests. Years later, after graduating from Colorado State University with a BA in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts I moved to Seattle, Washington, where I worked as a historic tour guide. During this time, my interest in historic buildings was further ignited and I began to seriously consider turning my passion into a career. Ultimately, the opportunity to live in one of our nation's most historic cities while learning about a topic I love became too good to pass up and I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead as I begin my journey into this amazing program.


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.


chelsea

CHELSEA PAYNE

BA in Criminal Justice, Univesrity of Georgia

I was raised in Roswell, Georgia, a suburb of north Atlanta. I grew up surrounded by new architecture. I always felt dissatisfied with the new buildings that I saw and it wasn't until I visited Savannah with my family, that I realized why. The historic shops, homes and buildings captured my interest immediately. I was not use to homes that had multiple owners or unique character and I was fascinated by their stories and history. As I ventured through my undergraduate years, I declared my major of Criminal Justice. I chose that major because I wanted to have a career where I did something with meaning and where I made a difference. As graduation crept closer I realized that Criminal Justice was not where my interests and passions resided. After I graduated I took two part-time jobs, one of which turned into a full-time position. It was a job at Bed Bath and Beyond, and as the years passed and I worked my way from part time associate to the Bridal Lead at the Atlanta store, I once again felt a lack of passion in what I was doing. These vital experiences pushed me to reflect on what I was truly passionate about and after ages of inner reflection my proverbial light bulb illuminated: Historic Preservation and Historic Architecture. After many years of self-reflection and research into he field of Historic Preservation and its educational programs, I am ecstatic to be a part of the Clemson/College of Charleston Program. I cannot wait to apply what I learn in the next two years to a fulfilling and meaningful career.


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

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 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. Thesis: Taking a closer look into the sustainability of historic digital reconstruction, with the ultimate goal of creating an interactive model of 1822 Charleston.


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. Thesis: The stewardship of historic structures ownded by public entities.


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. Thesis: National Park Service's "Mission 66" program and the architecture is inspired.


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. Thesis: Exploring and evaluating the contributing factors of the rise in popularity of concrete as a building material in Augusta County, VA, during the time between late Antebellum and Resconstruction periods. Thesis title- Orson Fowler's Influence in the Valley: Gravel Wall Plan Buildings in Augusta County, VA.


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. Thesis: Analyzing mid-19th century structures in the Charleston area and determining if there is a pattern for structrual failure. Using the information I acquire, I will create guidelines to recognize early signs of structural isues in these building, what they could mean and steps to fix them.


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. Thesis: A comparative study of gender and equine landscapes in Virginia and South Carolina. It will evaluate how the regional culture of racing society influenced how racehorse owners, espcially women, presented themselves, their farms, and their relationships to their peers through the spatial layouts and architecture of their stables.


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. Thesis: Comparing Macon, GA and Greenville, SC's revitalization efforts and their successes urban planning.


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. Thesis: Examine best practices in designing adaptations for historic buildings as a means of flood mitigation.


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! Thesis: Investigation micro and macro spatial arrangements of early 19th century camp meeting grounds and their impacts on southern communities.


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. Thesis: How the protection of historic American Beach on Amelia Island, Flordia is essential to keeping this small community from overdevelopment and a loss of its history.


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. Thesis: Examine the histoirc architecture in the Toledo Zoo and its changes.


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. Thesis: Methods of data retrieval of lost and undocumented structures now submerged Under Lake Marion and Lake Moultire.