Alumni Profiles

Alumni from our MA and PhD Programs

Amber D. Kostuchenko

Amber

Public Servant

Graduated: MA, 2012

Thesis title: “I am an Indian and live on the Indian Reserve”: history, culture, politics, colonialism, and the (re)making of Chief Billie Hall

Having an M.A. in history from the University of Saskatchewan has been a significant benefit to my career as a public servant. In the years between finishing my B.A. and deciding to start an M.A., I worked as a researcher on Indian residential school claims for the federal government, eventually reaching a point where I was no longer learning or progressing in my career. After completing my MA, I had the skills and knowledge to apply for more senior positions and became the lead staff working on the Government of Canada’s obligations to provide documents to the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, records now available to the public as part of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. The skills I learned about working with and for Indigenous communities from the U of S directly informed my work, and hopefully resulted in the development of a collection of records that will be of interest to IRS survivors, their families and communities, the general public, and academic researchers. I would not have had the skills, knowledge, or confidence to take on these higher positions if not for the great discussions I had with professors and fellow graduate students about the methodological and ethical considerations to “doing” historical, and especially ethnohistorical, research with and for Indigenous communities.  I’m proud to see how those skills and approaches I learned are now a part of my daily work as a public servant.


Dr. Jonathan Clapperton

Johnathan

Assistant Professor

Department of History (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Graduated: PhD, 2013

Thesis Title: Stewards of the Earth: Aboriginal Peoples, Environmentalists, and Historical Representation

Pursuing a PhD in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan provided me with the skills to prepare me for my current position as an Assistant Professor, with a specialization in Aboriginal history. The opportunity to work with my supervisor, Dr. Keith Carlson, as well as with those on my committee – all of whom were incredibly supportive, and pushed me to strive for excellence, throughout the entire doctoral process – honed my approach to historical research with Aboriginal peoples and shaped my approach to teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. During my time at the U of S, I had numerous opportunities to teach as a sessional instructor, to serve on various committees, and to work as a research assistant for numerous projects that involved cross-campus collaboration, as well as for expert witness cases. It was, no doubt, this combination of experience which solidified my belief in the necessity of community-based, mutually-beneficial research, as well as the value of interdisciplinary partnerships, and it certainly prepared me for the job market post-graduation. Since leaving the U of S, and before taking up my current position at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, I spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, where I also taught in both the History Department and the Faculty of Native Studies. I have also served as an expert witness on a variety of treaty rights, land claims and other cases, such as the hearings for the Kinder Morgan transmountain pipeline expansion.​


Dr. Andrew Dunlop

Dunlop

Senior Administration

Graduated: PhD, 2014

Thesis TitleProgress, Crisis, and Stability: Making the Northwest Plains Agricultural Landscape

My work as Director of Community Engagement at the University of Saskatchewan centres on connecting public interest with the university’s research and teaching priorities. My office supports scholars from all disciplines, from Art and Art History to Veterinary Medicine. Skills and knowledge gained though completing the history Ph.D. program have helped my work in two main ways. Firstly, the study of history required a broadening of my intellectual approach to research in ways which have helped me better relate to scholars from different disciplines. I had come to history from a geography background, originally leaning more towards scientific approaches in terms of research method and writing style. Learning to read and write historiographically helped me understand and express the breadth of perspectives that exist across the university setting. Secondly, my dissertation findings bolstered my personal interest in community-university bridging work, and convinced me of its importance. My research on twentieth century agricultural innovation revealed that many important discoveries have non-institutional origins, achieved by individual members of the public in response to local needs. Furthermore, there is much evidence that public institutions such as universities were well positioned and equipped to test, refine, and disseminate these local innovations. I firmly believe the University of Saskatchewan has not only had a clear regionally-important historical responsibility in this process, but can, and should, continue to listen to and understand regional problems, seek local knowledge, build upon it, and share it widely so as to contribute to our collective understanding of the world in which we live.


Marc Usunier

Usunier

University Administration

Graduated: M.A, 2010

Thesis Title (M.A.): The Aspiring Men of Punch: Patrolling the boundaries of the Victorian gentleman

In addition to developing an in-depth knowledge of the specific subject matter that was the focus of my course work and thesis, my time as a graduate student in the Department of History at the UofS enabled me to develop many highly sought-after professional skills. While teaching specific skills, including the ability to write, to analyze and to critically engage with theories and ideas, and engage in self-directed work, my M.A. also provided me with the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of academia and a platform from which to collaborate and interact with colleagues from various backgrounds in a professional setting. In my current roles as Coordinator, International Initiatives, Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies, Edwards School of Business and as Chair of the International Network of Tomorrow’s Leaders, I draw on many of the skills I acquired during my time as a grad student in the Department of History.  Working in the international sector too has allowed me to further expand upon my knowledge of culture and identity developed as a direct result of my research activity as an M.A. student. While a knowledge of history is valuable in and of itself, the ability to see the broader picture and think of long-term implications beyond the day-to-day activities of a particular position is perhaps one of the skills I draw on most in my professional activities.

Dr. Sarah Nickel

Sarah Nickel

Assistant Professor

Indigenous Studies (University of Saskatchewan) 

Graduated: Masters of Arts, 2009

Thesis Title (M.A.) “The Right to be Heard”: Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis Political Activism, 1922-1946

History degrees produce critical minds, meticulous researchers, and excellent communicators. The skills of archival research, oral history work, critical analysis, and writing produce excellent historians, but these skills also translate across disciplines. My Masters degree in History has helped me prepare for my current role as a Professor in Indigenous Studies by training me to find the information I need, and synthesize, analyze, and communicate it in effective ways to different audiences. Being able to communicate information to first year undergrads, community members, upper level students, and professional colleagues means knowing your audience and your material well. It also means knowing how to explain things in different ways. My experience writing and presenting helped me to become a more proficient writer and public speaker, as well as a more engaging one. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how interesting you think your material is, you have to present it in a way inspires and excites your audience.

In my current role, I continue to approach everything I do with a historical mind. I’m always asking, “how did we get here?” in order to place current and historical events in their broader context. Understanding historical relationships, continuity and change, is critical for understanding the world. My historical training has therefore given me interesting and effective approaches to researching and teaching in Indigenous Studies.


Dr. Rachel Hatcher

Hatcher

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice
(University of the Free State, South Africa)

Graduated: PhD 2015; MA 2005.

Thesis Title (PhD): On the Calle del Olvido: memory and forgetting in post-Peace public discourse in Guatemala and El Salvador

The time I spent as a PhD student in the History Department at the University of Saskatchewan was rewarding, to say the least. In addition to the remarkable community of scholars (both faculty and students) in the department who study an impressive range of topics, the PhD program provided me with the theoretical foundations necessary to analyse primary and secondary sources. As well, my several research trips to Guatemala City and San Salvador to collect sources for my dissertation allowed me to “do history” and to sharpen my research skills. These are, without a doubt, indispensible in my current position as a research fellow. More than this, however, being familiar with history and historical trends across borders is essential for my fellowship. A knowledge of historical trends is helpful when trying to draw lessons from the past and from other societies’ experiences trying to reckon with and work through historical trauma and work toward reconciliation. While the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice is in many ways focused on the present and future—on fostering reconciliation and achieving social justice now and for the generations to come—it is clear that these things require a deep understanding of the past, of how a society came to need to be reconciled. 

Photograph taken by Alexandre Claude.