Bios and Contacts


Elaine Carey (  is Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Studies at Purdue University Northwest.  Until June 2017, she was Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and she held the Lloyd Sealy Research Fellowship at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is the author of Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico (2005) and the award winning Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime (2014). She is also co-editor with Andrae Marak of Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine: Transnational Flows of Contraband and Vice in North America (2011) and the editor of the textbook Protests in the Streets: 1968 Across the Globe (2016). As a historian who researches crime and human rights, she has served as an expert witness in courts across the United States, and she has consulted for radio, film, television, archives, libraries, and museums.  From 2013-2016, she was the Vice President for the Teaching Division of the American Historical Association (AHA).

Kathryn Shaughnessy  ( is an Associate Professor and Open Education Librarian at St. John’s University in Queens, NY.  Her research focuses on the ethical dimensions of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) access  and ICT-literacy in education & library environments, and advances the use and creation of Open Educational Resources at St. John’s University.  As a Senior Fellow for the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, she works with CTL faculty and students to integrate ICT-literacy and promote the open-scholarship ecology in higher education teaching, research, service and lifelong learning.  As a Senior Fellow for the University’s Vincentian Center for Mission and Society, she serves as an expert for the Holy See Mission to the United Nations, covering agenda items dealing with ICTs, Development, Women, and Education. She is Co-chair of the ACRL/NY Distance Learning SIG, an Executive board member of the national Catholic Library Association, and continues to serve as a New York State representative for the Digital Public Library of America.



Franky Abbott works as the Curation and Education Strategist for the Digital Public Library of America. In this capacity, she leads DPLA education initiatives with teachers and students in K-12 and higher education and collaborates on digital exhibition curation. Franky came to DPLA on an American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellowship in 2013 with experience as a project manager in digital humanities and digital publishing. Additionally, she has worked in education research and as a K-12 classroom teacher. Franky has a PhD from Emory’s Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts in American Studies.

Eric Contreras is the Interim Acting Principal of Stuyvesant High School. He began his career as a bilingual social studies teacher in the Bronx, where he was a founding member of the Academy of the Arts at Taft High School. He was also a founding member of the Queens High School of Teaching where he served as Assistant Principal and Principal. HE also served as the Executive Director of Social Studies at the New York City Department of Education. The social studies department guides, implements and supports, curriculum development, instruction, professional learning, and partnerships throughout the 1,700 New York City public schools.

April Lynne Earle is a member of the Library Faculty at Farmingdale State College. In addition to her primary role as the cataloger, she provides reference service and information literacy instruction. She received her MLS in 2009 and an MA in Public History in 2016 from St. John’s University. The focus of her studies was on the creation, use, and accessibility of oral histories. Her real joy is helping other research their family history. She hopes her work helps people connect to the past in a more personal way through the stories of those who have gone before us.

Natalie Milbrodt leads Queens Library’s Metadata Services division, responsible for the system’s cataloging and digitization efforts as well as the Queens Memory program. Queens Memory hosts engaging community history events and collects oral histories, photographs and other mementos from residents for the library’s digital archives. Milbrodt graduated in 2000 from Michigan State University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and a Specialization in Film Studies and earned her MLIS in 2011 from Queens College, CUNY. Before joining the library profession, she worked for film production, design and marketing firms in both creative and management roles.

Joe Schmidt taught Secondary Social Studies in the New York City Department of Education. He transitioned into administration in the NYC DOE central office. Currently, Joseph is the citywide Senior Instructional Specialist for High School Social Studies. In addition, he is working on a Masters in Global and Comparative History at Rutgers University. His adviser is Michael Adas. Of particular professional and academic interest is the role of historical thinking and understanding in a Global History setting.

Christopher Zarr is the Education Specialist for the National Archives at New York City. For the past 9 years, he has worked with teachers, students, and the public throughout the NYC area uncover the rich primary sources of the National Archives. He has worked with the New York City Department of Education on the History Talks! series, the New Immigrants iPad App, the Passport to Social Studies curriculum and numerous other curriculum projects. He has presented professional development workshops at national conventions for NCSS, NCHE, NCTE, and AASL. He is a regular contributor to the National Archives Education Updates Blog and has written articles for NCSS’s Social Education and their Teaching the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework publica-tion. Prior to joining NARA, he was a high school history teacher in East Hanover, NJ.



Professor Sheau-yueh Janey Chao is currently a Faculty Librarian at the William and Anita Newman Library, Barnard M. Baruch College (CUNY). Her scholarly interests focus on Asian studies, Chinese family history and genealogy, Chinese immigration, library services to the multilingual and multicultural populations, and Overseas Chinese studies. She has taught family history courses in Utah Genealogical Association, Family History Expos, and as well as presented lectures in national and international conferences on the topic of Chinese family history and genealogies.

Shahla Hussain is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at St. John’s University. She received her PhD from Tufts University in 2014. Her field of specialization is South Asian History and her research focuses on the ramifications of decolonization in postcolonial South Asia. The American Institute of Pakistan Studies and Tufts Global Leadership Grant supported her research. She is currently working on a manuscript that explores the resistance history in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir from the early twentieth century to contemporary times. Rather than focusing on claims and counter-claims by India and Pakistan, Hussain’s book places Kashmir and Kashmiris at the center of the historical debate by reinserting conflicting and contradictory Kashmiri voices into the narrative of the Kashmir conflict. Her other research interests include: migrations, transnationalism and diaspora studies.

Andy Mink  is the Vice President of Education at the National Humanities Center located in Durham, North Carolina. Previously he served as the Executive Director of LEARN NC at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 after working for 11 years as the Director of Outreach and Education for the Virginia Center for Digital History and then the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. With all organizations, he designs and leads professional development programs for K-12 and university educators that focus on hands-on instructional models. He is currently registered as a Master Teacher with the Organization of American Historians in their Distinguished Speaker Program and also serves on the Executive Board of the National Council for Social Studies and the Board of Trustees for National Council for History Education. He states, “all of these projects, near or far, were influenced by the lessons I learned and the experiences I shared as an eighth grade teacher.”

Philip Misevich is assistant professor in the History Department at St. John’s University. He received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2009. A recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Public Library and Fulbright-Hays, Misevich’s research focuses on the coerced migration of Africans throughout the Atlantic world.  He is co-Principal Investigator of the African Origins database ( and a steering committee member of Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database ( Misevich is co-editor of The Rise and Demise of Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Atlantic World (University of Rochester Press, 2016).

Bibi R. Shakoor has worked at the Queens Library since 1998. Two of those years, she spent in the branches and the remainder at the Central Library. She worked in the Business Science and Technology division from 2001 to 2012 and from 2012 to the current time in the Unique Services unit where she is responsible for maintaining the Carter G Woodson Collection, a reference collection dedicated to African American history, culture and religion from slavery to the current time. In addition to doing reference and collection development in the areas of American and European history, she also provides bibliographic instruction on some of the electronic databases that include the ones that specialize in history, social sciences, and business.


Michael Freydin is chairman of the Greater Metropolitan New York Social Studies Conference, national chairman of the Fund for the Advancement of Social Studies Education, and board member of Association of Teachers of Social Studies/UFT, and of the Middle East Outreach Council. He teaches American History and Global History at Stephan Halsey JHS157 in Rego Park, Queens. He has developed and presented curricula at the NCSS, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of African-American History and Culture, GMNY, LICSS, CityLore, New York  State Historians Society, and NYSCSS. He has written 9th grade curriculum for NYC DOE, and completed the Astor Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sean McManamon is a teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School specializing in Advanced Placement World History. He has a Master’s Degree in History and publications in such topics as the Great Irish Famine, Japanese Tokugawa history and co-authored an AP World Review Book. He has been selected for a number of programs with institutions such as Gilder Lehrman, China Institute, Korea Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities and does curriculum writing for the New York City Department of Education. Born to immigrant parents in the Bronx, Sean regularly goes back to Ireland and has researched his family history back centuries.

Michael Mondello is an enthusiastic, second year Social Studies teacher in Queens, New York. As a Molloy College graduate, he continues to develop his craft by continuously setting ambitious professional goals, seeking out professional development opportunities, and collaborating with fellow teachers to develop engaging lessons for this high school students. Even though his career is in its infancy, Michael’s ultimate goal is to one day become a department administrator at a Long Island school district, while teaching as an adjunct professor at night so that he can share his passion for education with aspiring teachers.

Kenneth Porter spent nearly fifteen years working for Verizon Communications in various management positions before leaving the corporate world to pursue a more rewarding course in education and youth development. Through his company, Mind Candy Media, Mr. Porter has published various books and partnered with youth agencies and schools to implement educational programming, character education and mentoring programs. After transitioning into teaching full time, he taught history at the middle school level.  He is currently a global history teacher at Epic High School South, in Queens, New York.  Most recently, he led a group of students to successfully win the New York City Urban Debate League’s Beginner Public Forum Championships, which was a major accomplishment for a group of students with no prior debate experience. Mr. Porter has a Masters of Science degree in Technology and Automation Management obtained from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Masters of Arts degree in Teaching obtained from Relay Graduate School of Education. He enjoys using his education, work and life experiences to transform the lives of our youth.

Korell Pierson is the Chair/Lead Teacher of the Social Studies department at Brooklyn Lab School, in Brooklyn New York. He received his BA in History from Morgan State University, his MA in Early Modern History from the University of Manchester, and his Advanced Certificate in Secondary Education from Queens College, CUNY. In his spare time, he enjoys studying cultural, economic, and military history, along with foreign and public policy. He frequently attends and participates in educational workshops and events throughout New York City with the goal of utilizing the information and resources from the events to help enrich his curriculum and teacher practices.

Lucas Rule is completing his 15th year as a social studies teacher in NYC.  He is currently teacher at Pathways College Preparatory School in St. Albans.  Prior to Pathways, Lucas taught at Jamaica High School.  He has taught multiple history courses in each of these schools.  Lucas also worked to develop and implement a geography course as well as a successful law program at Jamaica High School.  Since joining Pathways HS, Lucas has worked to expand the advanced placement and college course offerings that are taught in it social studies department.

Roberto Saavedra is currently teaching for New York City Department Education at Robert H. Goddard High School in Ozone Park. He is the founder of Latin American Student Organization and serves as an advisor to student and new teachers. Saavedra is also part of devising curriculum and implementation of lessons for the global studies department. As an educator, his career began at St. John’s Preparatory High School (2003-2006) and then at The Leadership Institute in the Bronx (2007-2010), where he was able to establish a Council for Unity chapter to end gang violence and racism, becoming department chair, and being students’ activities chairperson. Saavedra graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from St. Johns’ University in 2003 and received a Master of Arts in Contemporary World History from the same institution in 2006.

Marc Shoichet is a social studies at in New York City public schools for 13 years. He is currently teaching at Martin Van Buren High School and before that he taught at Murry Bergtraum High School. He is the lead teacher for 10th grade Global history and before that he was the lead teacher for 12th Grade Government and Economics. He currently teachers a co-enrollment Government class through Syracuse University and has also taught an co-enrollment Sociology class through Syracuse University.

Stephen Spear teaches AP World History and serves as the moderator of Model United Nations Club at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Manhattan. He is also the organizer of the school’s Memory Project, in which students conduct research on family history. He holds Master’s degrees from Boston University and Fordham University in American history and Education.

Jennifer Suri has been teaching in both private and public schools for 29 years. She has been the Assistant Principal of Social Studies at Stuyvesant High School since 2000. She earned her B.A. in History from Barnard College and her M.A. in History at Brown University. Ms. Suri currently teaches Global Studies. She has published curriculum materials on the teaching of Islam and on 9-11. Both of these subjects are her continued areas of interest and research.

Deirdre H. Tuite is a History teacher in the Department of Education. She has been teaching for 15 years at Academy of American Studies, Gilder Lehrman’s Flagship school. Over her teaching career, she has taught Senior Thesis, Sophomore Global History, Freshman American History, Junior American History, Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement European History. She received her M.A. in history from Queens College, where she wrote her thesis on America’s Denazification Plan in post-WWII Germany.



Kat Baumgartner is an MLIS student in the Library and Information Science Program at St. John’s University, where she also works as a graduate assistant in the library. Throughout her time in the program, Kat has worked in various academic and community archives preserving materials and creating websites to house and display content. Upon graduation (December 2017), she will be working as a Children’s Librarian, a position that will allow her the opportunity to teach important information literacy skills to future generations.

Ashley Bozian is a Ph.D. student in history at St. John’s University. Her dissertation research, currently in progress under the advisement of Dr. Nerina Rustomji, focuses on women in the Armenian Apostolic Church. Ashley received her B.A. in history and music (2009) and an M.Ed. (2014) from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. She holds an M.A. in music history (2012) from Hunter College, where she wrote her master’s thesis on the Armenian ethnomusicologist and liturgical composer Komitas Vartabed.

Sanna Cheema is currently in her final year as a MLIS student and Graduate Assistant at St. John’s University. As part of her assistantship, she has conducted research on emerging technologies and web accessibility for students and faculty in the academic setting. Under the supervision of Professor Caroline Fuchs and Shilpa Karnik, Sanna is tasked with working on web redesign, web architecture and other related aspects of the web design process including focus groups and data analysis. Additionally, Sanna provides assistance to Professor Kathryn Shaughnessy and is charged with gathering information about best practices for ADA compliance for the grant deliverables. As she continues in her career, she hopes to specialize in public librarianship.

Stephanie Fortino is a recent graduate of the Division of Library and Information Sciences at St. John’s University (2017) and currently works as a Children’s Librarian for the New York Public Library system. She also holds an M.S. in Education and taught middle school American and world history for 5 years.  Her past volunteer work has included working with the archival collections of the Poppenhusen Institute in Queens, N.Y. and transcribing the oral histories of World War II veterans for the New York State Military Museum.  She recently conducted her own oral history project of Italian immigrants to New York City during the 1960s, which is currently pending publication to the Queens Memory Project.

Dean Guarnaschelli teaches German language and culture in the Massapequa Public Schools and is also an adjunct instructor at Hofstra University. He is a doctoral student in the World History department at St. John’s University and maintains an interest in European cultural history. The focus of his dissertation is German author and artist Lothar Günther Buchheim and his relevance to youth opposition in National Socialist Germany. Dean is co-presenter for the teacher training sessions for the NHPRC Queen’s Immigration Project.

Matthew Halikias is working on his Ph.D. in history at St. John’s University. His dissertation is primarily focused on the transnational relationship between political parties in Italy and political organizations in the United States during the period of the Cold War. He is currently working under the advisement of Dr. Mauricio Borrero. Matthew earned his M.A. in history from George Mason University and his B.A. in both History and Political Science from Rutgers University.

Malcolm Harris is an MLIS student in the Library and Information Science Program at St. John’s University, where he works as a Graduate student in the university’s library and archives. With a program focus on Archives and Records Management, Malcolm is pursuing a career path towards working in either an historical museum or with a federal government agency. At the time of this project he is working on a Black abstract artists archival project and a local socio-political archival project with residents in Newark, New Jersey.

John Ronzino is currently a Ph.D student in history at St. John’s University. His research interests have focused on nationalism, educational history of New York, and Malcolm X’s role in the Civil Rights movement. Dr. Lara Vapnek is his advisor. John has also been a teacher for the NYC Department of Education since 1999. He has taught his entire career at Flushing High School. Over the past sixteen school-years John has taught both levels of Global History, AP World History I & II, U.S. History, and Economics.

Gengwu Wang is a graduate student in Department of History at St. John’s University. He earned his bachelor degree of History in Museology from Sichuan University in China in 2013. With honor, he was one of a few selected students in an exchange program to transfer to the University of Washington in my junior year, where he received extensive academic and experimental training, and also started my study on Chinese American history at the same year. In the same year, he worked at the Wing Luke Asian Museum cataloging 342 letters received by a Chinese American family in Seattle from 1912 through 1938. After graduation, he worked as an accounting audit, however, to continue the research on Chinese American History had been lurking in his mind. Thus, in 2015, he returned to the States and continued his study at St. John’s University. He has taken courses on historical method, historiography, US history and the Atlantic World, and finished a literature review of Chinese American history. Recently, he has received and accepted the PhD offer from University of Minnesota and will start his PhD process in the fall 2017.