Meet our Fellows

The Lepage Center is proud to announce its first two History Communication Fellows: Claire Hoffman ’18 and Maggie Strolle MA’18. 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 to friends of the Center.
Claire Hoffman, ’18. Photo by Chelsea Gerrard, 2017.

Name: Claire Hoffman

Hometown: Danville, CA

Major: History & Classics

What brought you to Villanova University?

I applied to colleges all across the country and when I got into Villanova, my thought process was very much along the lines of “why not?” It’s been a big adventure and I feel very fortunate to have been given the chance to study here.

What do you want to accomplish as a Lepage Center History Communication Fellow?

I was attracted to the Lepage Center for the same reason that I was attracted to the study of history: for the utility of it. I love to read, analyze, and discuss but, to me, there are few things more important than having perspective — and studying the past offers us that. The Lepage Center is about developing historical perspective and I’m excited to be a part of something so useful.

What is your favorite aspect of Villanova or the Philadelphia area?

As a Bay Area native, I have very high standards for Chinese food. That being said, Han Dynasty in Philly has some of the best dumplings I’ve ever tasted.

What’s your five-year plan? Ten-year plan?

Since making Spotify playlists isn’t a “viable career path” (my dad’s words, not mine), I’m currently on the lookout for a career that will let me use my research and writing skills in order to make a positive impact on my community.

What are those of us from the East Coast missing out on most from not living in the West Coast?

Well, the obvious answer is In-N-Out Burger, but I think there’s something about the culture and pace of California that’s unlike any other place in the world. Also, in my experience, the East Coast only has three months out of the year when you can comfortably enjoy being outside. West Coast weather allows me to explore the outdoors year-round.

Margaret Strolle, MA’18. Photo by Chelsea Gerrard, 2017.

Name: Margaret “Maggie” Strolle

Hometown: North Cape May, NJ

History M.A. Program: Concentration in Public History with a Certificate in Non-Profit Management

What brought you to Villanova University?

By the beginning of my senior year at the College of William and Mary, I knew that I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in Public History; but I needed a program that at least offered some sort of financial assistance for graduate school to be an option. So, I asked my advisor for a recommendation. Villanova was one of his top suggestions, and he noted that one of his former doctoral students (Dr. Catherine Kerrison) was on the history faculty here.

Having lived in the area, I already knew about Villanova University. It was also the first graduate school I got into, which further endeared me to it. Although I deferred admission for a year, I love it here and am very glad about my choice.

What do you want to accomplish as a Lepage Center History Communication Fellow?

I want to make meaningful contributions to the Lepage Center that last beyond my year here. Essentially, I would like to help Americans learn more about their past so that they understand each other better, and so they can be better prepared to be active citizens and prudent voters.

Why study history?

I have always been interested in history. My family, especially my mother and grandmother, imparted a love of history to me. I first made an appearance in the Philadelphia Inquirer in a picture of me in my mom’s lap with my hands over my ears at the Battle of Germantown commemoration in 1998. (The second time was for being part of Dr. Judy Giesberg’s “Last Seen Project.”)

In high school, I did a summer program at the College of William and Mary called the National Institute of American History Democracy Pre-Collegiate Program in Early American History. One of the lectures was about Public History, which is when I realized that was the field I wanted to work in.

What’s your five-year plan? Ten-year plan?

These are both subject to change, but the basic idea is…

The Five-Year Plan: I would like to be working in the history profession in either Philadelphia, Richmond, or Charlottesville.

In ten years, I hope to be part of a team realizing the goal of building a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I actually won a local scholarship in high school based on my response to this question. Back then I said Hillary Clinton, and I’ve met her since so I should give a different answer. Sally Hemings popped into my head. In the debates over the Jefferson-Hemings controversy, hers is that voice that we miss. Annette Gordon-Reed, in addition to her amazing books on the Hemings family, recently wrote a piece on this subject in the New York Times. I would ask Sarah “Sally” Hemings whether, as Thomas Jefferson’s slave, she felt she had real choices about her future or that of her children.

Learn more about the people behind the Lepage Center on our website: http://lepage.villanova.edu