The Lepage Center is delighted to announce its 2018–2019 History Communication Fellows: Andrea Spencer MA’19 and Jubilee Marshall BA’19. The Fellows will assist the Center in all the ways it communicates historical scholarship to various audiences, including events, social media, and the Web. Below, our fellows answer each other’s questions as a way of introduction.

Jubilee Marshall, ’19. Photo by Joanna Zajicek, 2018.

Name: Jubilee Marshall

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Major: History with a concentration in Peace and Justice

What brought you to Villanova?

My father went to Villanova, I lived in Pennsylvania when I was really young, and I have family in the area. When I was applying to colleges, I looked all over the East Coast and Villanova seemed like a great place. The university allows you to enter “undeclared” if you’re a student in the College of Arts, so as soon as it was possible I declared a major in history.

Why did you want to be a Fellow at the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest?

I applied for the Fellowship because I’m really interested in public history, and that is what I want to pursue after graduation. This position isn’t solely public history, but I thought it would be important to have experience in blog writing, event organization, and the more hands-on aspects of the profession that are needed in order to do public history work well. I know people in the field who work at museums, as well as those who manage sites that require many organizational and communications tasks, so I thought this Fellowship would be a great opportunity to gain those skills. I also wanted to feel involved in something that isn’t as strictly academic as what I normally do.

What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

I really like going into the city. I didn’t go into Philadelphia as much as when I was a freshman and sophomore, but this summer I was here doing research, and I had a SEPTA pass, which helped a lot. I did a lot of research in several archives, and I went to some local community organizations and really small music venues. I grew up in D.C. and I don’t drive, so I missed having a command of public transportation, and now I feel like I know where things are. I like being able to just go into the city and figure it out.

What music venues did you go to?

I mostly go to Union Transfer, but I also have been to a bunch of coffee shops to catch some great acts. When I went to Union Transfer for the first time, I wondered what it had been before it was a music venue, because it has these really beautiful arched ceilings. I thought it could have been a church. I researched it, and it turned out it used to be a spaghetti warehouse. I was so delighted by that concept, except it turns out Spaghetti Warehouse is the name of a restaurant instead of a place where they store spaghetti. It’s a bit misleading (and a bit of a disappointment, really).

What’s your 5 year plan? 10 year?

I’m applying for a Fulbright to do an English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic. I’m also applying to some graduate schools and some jobs. Hopefully one of those works out! Long term, I’d like to work in public history and probably own a dog.

What’s your favorite thing about D.C.?:

Wow, that’s really hard. It’s really hard to top the Smithsonian. Whenever I’m home I can travel downtown and visit a world-class museum for free. I live two blocks from the National Zoo so I can also wander around there. I miss the Smithsonian museums a lot. But one thing that is nice about Philadelphia is the weather (compared to Washington). It is far less humid here, and there are far fewer gnats.

What historical topic are you most passionate about? What projects are you currently working on?

I am really interested in both public history and early American history. This summer I was awarded a research grant to do work on African American burial grounds in Philadelphia directly following the Revolutionary War, which was a really interesting experience. I learned a lot about the topic, but also how to work in the archives, network with historians, and interpret everything from newspaper articles to death records. I’m continuing that project in the form of my senior thesis, which will be about both the burial grounds themselves and how those sites can be effectively memorialized by public historians.

Andrea Spencer, MA’19. Photo by Joanna Zajicek, 2018.

Name: Andrea Spencer

Hometown: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

What brought you to Villanova?

I was working on my undergraduate thesis and my advisor knew Villanova historian Dr. Whitney Martinko, who sent her an email about the program. My advisor sent it to me and said, “They have fully funded positions which is very unusual, so you should apply.” So I did! I was thinking about applying to Ph.D. and Master’s programs but I was really busy my senior year, writing a thesis, and being a head RA. So I took a year off, worked from home and lived with my dog for a year. When I was ready to apply for graduate schools again, I kept Villanova in mind because I had received that email my senior year of college. I applied, received a fellowship, and here I am.

Why did you want to work with the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest?

Last year I worked with Villanova historian Dr. Judith Giesberg. I was a graduate research assistant and a teaching assistant for her History of Childhood class. It was an awesome experience. In the midst of spring semester, I received an email from Lepage Center faculty director Paul Steege about the Lepage Center. I met with Dr. Steege and he and I spoke about the writing aspect of the Fellowship, as well as the chance to gain experience outside the traditional academy. He made it seem like such a good opportunity that I decided to go for it!

What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

I love Philly. My boyfriend is from here so every weekend I make him take me into town and show me around. We’ve been getting a lot of dim sum — the food here is amazing. I’m trying to find the best iced matcha in Philly. He’s a coffee snob and I’m a tea snob, so we’ll go to different coffee shop every time we go into the city and I’ll sit and work, since I always seem to have so much work to do. I also go to a lot of music venues, so I can see smaller bands that don’t hit the non-major cities very often.

What coffee shops do you recommend?

Since I generally only go to each place once, I often immediately forget the names. In Conshohocken there’s ‘Feine, which I go to a lot since it’s so close. In the city, I like Gleaner’s, and I also go to the Gryphon a lot — a few times a week. Hothouse is okay; they have very good oatmeal. I go to a lot of coffee shops, so I have a lot of opinions.

What’s your 5 year plan? 10 year?

Four to five years is a Ph.D.! I’d also like to own another rabbit. I have one rabbit, who’s really cute but also really mean. She has red eyes and she used to growl at people. She’s less mean now, we get along great, but rabbits are nicer if they have a bonded bunny so I want to get a least one more after I move. In ten years I want to be a professor at a liberal arts college, teaching interested students about gender, race, and slavery.

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown, Cape Cod?

The best things about Cape Cod are the ocean and the beach. Also, there are a lot of local restaurants, which is something I admire. I really like all the little coffee shops and independent restaurants. What I like about Philly, though, is that I’m so much closer to the city. I’m a big city person and I want to live in cities for the rest of my life. I just love having everything in arm’s reach, and being able to people-watch whenever I want.

What historical topic are you most passionate about? What projects are you currently working on?

I’m a feminist and I’ve always been really passionate about women’s history. I used to work on the American suffrage movement, but since I came to Villanova I’ve been studying the intersections of race and gender in American slavery. For the past six months or so, I’ve been working on a research project about light-skinned female slaves who were sold for concubinage. Hopefully by the end of the semester I’ll be done writing an article-length paper on these women and possibly submit it for publication.

Learn more about the people behind the Lepage Center on our website.

Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest

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Bringing historical scholarship & historical perspective to bear on contemporary global issues. Proud part of Villanova University.

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