Dean College history majors and professors with president of New England History Teachers Association

The Dean College History department celebrated its 5th Annual History Reception at the Franklin Historical Museum on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.

An exhibition of student work was on display, featuring presentations from students in the “Public History” course. Students had the opportunity to share their chosen topic and research question for their final projects and answer questions for attendees, which included faculty, staff, alumni, family and Franklin community members.

The keynote address was delivered by Brock Leiendecker ’08, an alumnus of the Dean History program and instructor of preservation carpentry at the North Bennet Street School. Leiendecker spoke about the importance of understanding the history of buildings, including their significance to the people who used them, and preserving that history for current and future generations.

“It’s important to appreciate that we’re simply a pinpoint in the built environment we’re around every day and make sure that what we love so much about these buildings lives on,” he said.

During the reception, history majors Scott Kirshy ’23 and Elena Mejorado ’23 received the Laska Award from the New England History Teachers Association (NEHTA). Linda Morse, president of NEHTA, presented each student with a monetary award and complimentary membership in NEHTA.

Scott and Elena were awarded this honor for demonstrating excellence in the history classroom and for their work digitizing over 100 back-issues of the New England Journal of History during their internship with the Journal. Both Scott and Elena were nominated for this award by Dr. David Dennis, professor of history and program coordinator for the humanities, and Dr. Rob Lawson, professor of history and director of the Honors Program at Dean. Dennis and Lawson are also on the editorial board of the New England Journal of History, which is housed at Dean and published by NEHTA.

“Scott’s sense of joyous intellectual curiosity in the learning of history has stood out from the moment he first arrived at Dean and has translated into excellent work in the classroom,” said Dennis and Lawson. “He also has gone above and beyond through his work as history peer tutor in the Theodore and Cynthia Berenson Center for Writing, Mathematics and Presentation Excellence at Dean, and through his efforts to digitize back issues of the New England Journal of History.”

“Elena brings a sense of thoughtfulness, wit, and reflection to her study of history,” Dennis and Lawson added. “She’s not always the first person to speak out in class, but when she does speak, she commands the respect of her faculty and peers. She tackled her internship digitizing back issues of the New England Journal of History with tremendous energy and organizational skill.”  

The Laska Award is given to an undergraduate with a declared major in history with a focus in United States history who is attending a college or university in New England to be used to further the recipient’s study of United States history. The award is named for the late well known History Professor, Dr. Vera Laska, a Kidger Award winner, and her husband Andrew J. Laska, who was a successful businessman.

Congratulations to Scott, Elena and all our History students on your accomplishments! Learn more about History degree programs at Dean College.