Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Alumni Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Below, Megan Baumann, Owen Brittan, Maddie McDermott, Daniel Platt reflect on how their Loyola degrees in history have shaped their current accomplishments.

‌After working as a legal representative for asylum seekers in Chicago and then working on small-scale urban and peri-urban vegetable farms, Megan Baumann, who received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology from Loyola in 2008, decided to return to academia. In August 2017, she received her Masters of Science degree from the Department of Geography at Penn State University. Her master’s research investigated how farmer involvement in a participatory seed project in Nicaragua influences farmer environmental knowledge. Megan is presently a doctoral candidate in Geography at Penn State. Her dissertation examines the relationships between and social-environmental impacts of irrigation megaprojects and agricultural intensification in dryland Colombia. Megan says that it is apparent that her training in history at Loyola University Chicago will be extremely important to her doctoral work. Megan will be conducting archival research on irrigation development, land reform, and changes in water governance throughout the past century. Moreover, Megan is grateful for Loyola’s emphasis on social justice and keeps it central to her work. Her research ultimately questions how irrigation and development impact marginalized communities, especially women and racial and ethnic minorities. She is excited for the research and writing challenges in the coming years and hopes to research and teach in an institution that shares Loyola’s commitments to rigorous scholarship and student development.

Owen Brittan, a Loyola graduate in 2011, recently received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge after defending his dissertation in November 2017. His dissertation, "British Masculinities Beyond Patriarchy, 1689-1702," has thus far led to two publications in leading journals in his field, The Seventeenth Century and The Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Owen's interest in early modern British history became particularly strong during his time as a history minor at Loyola and he credits the help and guidance of Dr. Robert Bucholz as being very influential in his postgraduate success.

Maddie McDermott, a graduate of the joint Public History/Dominican MLIS degree last spring, is now the Associate Archivist for Collection Management at the Jesuit Archives and Research Center in St. Louis.  After co-coordinating the move of tens of thousands of linear feet of archival material to a brand new building in the fall, she now heads up processing an extensive backlog of materials and making them accessible to researchers.  With her degree from Loyola, Maddie came into her role with a strong foundation in Jesuit mission and history and a passion to continue the development of the Archives and Research Center as a place for intersectional research.

Daniel Platt is a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies at Brown University. His scholarship considers issues of law, political economy, and cultural change in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Over the past several years, his work has been supported by several national grants and fellowships, including the William Nelson Cromwell Fellowship, given by the American Legal History Society, and the John E. Rovensky Fellowship in U.S. Business and Economic History. An article of his, dealing with the struggle to combat urban loansharking in the 1910s and 1920s, received the Organization of American Historians’ Louis Pelzer Memorial Award in 2017 for the best graduate student essay in U.S. history and will be published in the Journal of American History this year. Daniel continues to draw upon the skills and insights he learned as a History major at Loyola University Chicago. Suzanne Kaufman’s Junior Colloquium introduced him to interdisciplinary methods that remain at the forefront of his work. John McManamon’s Senior Capstone Seminar taught him essential research principles and fed his passion for historical writing. His friendships with fellow Loyolans, nurtured over chess games at Metropolis and drinks at Moody’s and the Sovereign, continue to be a source of learning, support, and inspiration.