Our Alumni

Since 1969, graduates of the History undergraduate and graduate programs have gone on to distinguish themselves in a wide variety of careers. This is a listing of some of our former students (organized by last name) and what they are doing today. For more information about the Alumni Association of Lakehead University go to https://alumni.lakeheadu.ca/.

If you are a former student not on the list, or you are on the list and wish to update your entry, please e-mail the department administrative assistant at hist.phil@lakeheadu.ca 

Rhonda Barlow (HBA 2006) received a MA in Greek and Roman Studies from the University of Calgary in 2008 and a PhD in History from the University of Virginia in 2016. She is a past recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship. Currently Rhonda is  an Assistant Editor at Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, USA; she maintains the [John] Adams Papers.

Elinor Barr (HBA 1989, BA 1974) was raised in Ignace by Swedish parents, boarded out in Port Arthur and Fort William for high school, then trained as a registered nurse. She married a Port Arthur boy and raised two sons. She attended Lakehead University as a mature student, graduating with an HBA in history. When she ran the gamut of interesting histories - White Otter Castle, Ignace, the PeeDee Railway - she turned to her Swedish roots. Her most all-encompassing book is Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants, University of Toronto Press. She is a research associate of the Lakehead Social History Institute at Lakehead University.

David Battistel (BA/BEd 1996) is a history teacher, curriculum chair and football coach at St. Patrick High School in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is President of the Silver Mountain and Area Historical Society, an organization committed to preserving the history of the railway among other things. Read more about David and his organization here http://www.padwrr.ca/about.html

Michel S. Beaulieu (MA 2003, HBA 2001, BEd 2001) received a PhD in History from Queen's University in 2008. He is currently the Associate Vice-Provost (Academic) at Lakehead University. He is a past Chair and a full Professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University. Michel is also a Docent of Social Science History at the University of Helsinki, a Docent of North American History at the University of Oulu, an Associate of the Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

Claudia Belda (HBA 2000) received a LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School at York and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2004.  She was appointed as a Justice to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2021.

David Blanchard (MA 2011, HBA 2009) is currently a doctoral candidate in Forest Sciences at Lakehead University. Currently, he is an Underwriting Assistant with New Business Triage in Toronto.

Leslie Bode (HBA 2004) worked as a Parliamentary Researcher in the Senate until 2009 and then returned to academia and received a MSc in Archaeological Research (2012) and a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Nottingham (2018). She then worked for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) in a Doctoral Training Partnership supporting early career researchers. She returned to Thunder Bay in late 2020, and is now the Cultural Development and Public Art Coordinator for the City of Thunder Bay.

Bediako Buahene (BA 1986) is a Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. An immigration lawyer, he has also worked for the United Nations in Syria ensuring the legal rights of refugees and others under UN care.

Luana Buckle (MA 2016, HBA 2014) is continuing her doctoral studies at the University of Western Ontario in 19th Century British History.

Patrick Chapin (MA 1996) completed a PhD in History at the University of Manitoba in 2004.

Brandon Corderio (MA 2017, HBA/BEd 2015) received his PhD in History from McMaster University in 2021.  He is currently a film researcher and a contract lecturer in Lakehead University's Department of History.

Zachary Deuxberry (MA 2013) began doctoral studies in History at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2014. He is researching “Anglo-American Relations and the Road to the Pacific War 1919-1941.”

Tom Doherty (BA 1994) teaches in Red Lake, ON and received in 2017 the Prime Minister's Award in Teaching Excellence. 

Ryan Duplassie (MA 2008) enrolled as a doctoral candidate in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba where he taught Introduction to Native Studies. His research explored the role of water in the meaning and interpretation of Treaty Three at Grassy Narrows First Nation. Ryan is self-employed as an Indigenous Land-Based Education Consultant.

Anna England (MA 2017) graduated from the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto.  She is currently the Projects Manager and Digital Curator with Defining Moments Canada.

Ruth Ferguson Sawyer (MA 2007) is a caseworker with the County of Simcoe Ontario Works Company.

Jonathan Foreman (MA 2013, HBA 2011) is the Bell Telecommunications Corporate Store Manager, Kingston office.

Norm Gale (HBA 2008, MBA 2011) is the City Manager for the City of Thunder Bay; formerly he was the chief of Superior North EMS for the city.

David George (MA 2011, HBA 2010) currently serves with Thunder Bay Police Services.

Amanda Graham (MA 1994) is currently the Coordinator/Instructor of University of the Arctic programs at Yukon College. She is also the former Managing Editor of The Northern Review and an adjunct instructor in Yukon College's Northern Studies programme and liaison to the University of the Arctic. Currently she is a doctoral candidate in Canadian Studies at Trent University.

Andrew Hacquoil (MA 1994, HBA 1991, BA 1990) is a Research Grants Officer for Research at Lakehead University. He is the author of a number of articles on the history of Northwestern Ontario and the book 'The History of Thunder Bay Telephone, 1877-1996: The 120-year Connection' (1999).

Mandy Hadenko (MA 2004, HBA/BEd 2001) completed her PhD in History at York University. She is a past recipient of the Hannah Senior General Scholarship from the Associated Medical Services Inc. (AMS). Mandy is also a motocross champion, winning her class at the 2003 Women's Motocross League Championship Cup in San Antonio, Texas.

Charles Nathan Hattan (MA 2007) completed his PhD in History at the University of Waterloo. Nathan is a past recipient of a four-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship and SSHRC Sports Canada grant.  After teaching at Lakehead University for nearly a decade, he moved to Cape Breton University in 2023 to take up a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of History.

Steven High (MA 1994) is currently a Professor of History at Concordia University. In addition to numerous articles on Canadian and American urban history, his book, Industrial Sunset: The Making of Canada's Rust Belt, 1969-1984 was the winner of the 2004 Albert B. Corey Prize (Canadian Historical Association and American Historical Association), the 2004 Raymond Klibansky Prize, and the 2004 John Porter Memorial Book Prize (Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association).

Travis Hay (MA 2012) received his PhD from York University in 2018.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Indigenous Studies Program at Mount Royal University.

William Hay (MA 1974, HBA 1967, BA 1966) taught as a History teacher in Thunder Bay, and in Kingston before retirement.

Jenna Kirker (MA 2017, HBA/BEd 2015) is completing a PhD in History at McMaster University and is a candidate in the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, pursuing research on the role of youth in socialist and communist movements in twentieth century Canada. Currently she is the Advancement Coordinator for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University, west campus. Volunteering to the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, she serves as the Board Secretary, as well as Chair of the Fundraising, Membership, and Special Events Committees.

William Langois (MA 2012) has taken a position with the City of Thunder Bay as a Senior Sales Representative.

Steven Jobbitt (MA 2001, HBA 1998) received his PhD in modern east central European history from the University of Toronto. He was an Assistant Professor in History at the University of California State (Fullerton Campus) prior to his return to Canada. Steve joined the Department of History at Lakehead in 2013, and is the Peer Mentorship Coordinator and Associate Professor. He is fluent in Hungarian and technical editor of the AHEA: E-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association. Recently Steve became the Assistant Artistic Director of the Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group.

Rick Lazar (BA 1970) is a World Music Legend. The founder of several innovative, Juno-award-nominated musical groups, his work with percussion and drums pulses with the heat of Afro-Latin-New World fusion and the cool rhythms of North American Jazz. Read the complete story in the Lakehead Alumni Magazine Journeyhttps://issuu.com/lakeheadrecruitment/docs/journey_mag_summer_2019_final/16. You can also check out his Samba Squad Club Show, a live performance in Toronto: https://youtu.be/oZkTQNap2_M

Marvin Macdonald (MA 1976, HBA 1972) taught History in Fort Frances. He was honoured by the community for his dedication in coaching soccer.

Aaron MacMillan (MA 2014, HBA 2013) is working for the Government of Alberta as a Senior Policy Analyst.

John MacPhail (MA 2000, BEd 1997, HBA 1996) currently teaches grades seven and eight at St. Dominic Catholic School in Oakville, Ontario. In 2007, he was one of six recipients of the national Governor General's Award (GGA) For Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.

Steven Margarit (HBA 2013) is working as the Administration and Communication Coordinator at Bombardier Transportation, Thunder Bay. He also volunteers as the President of the Fort William Rotary Club in Thunder Bay.

Bill Mauro (BA 1987) served as the Mayor of Thunder Bay from 2018 to 2022. He was previously an MPP in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 2003-2018, representing the riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan.  During his time in the provincial government, he served in several Parliamentary Assistant roles assisting ministers including the Minister of Northern Development and Mines (2003-2007, 2011-2013) and the Minister of Natural Resources (2007-2009), and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (2015-2018).

Samantha Meredith (BA/BEd 2012, HBA 2013) is the Executive Director and Curator of the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society.

Jean Morrison (MA 1974) was the Historian for Old Fort William (1975-1990) and one of Canada’s leading experts on the history of the fur trade, and having written extensively on labour history. The Department of History in 2013 awarded Jean an inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award. She served on the Ontario Geographic Names Board and the Old Fort William Advisory Committee, before passing away in September of that same year.

Denise Munro (MA 2013, HBA 2011) works for Brokerlink as an Insurance Advisor.

Miranda Niittynen (HBA 2010) received her MA in 2011 from the Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario and her PhD from the same department in 2018.  Currently she is a contract lecturer at Lakehead University, in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies.

Gabrielle Parent-Doliner (MA 2008) currently is the Program Manager for Swim Guide at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. She also volunteers with Israel's Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

Ulysses Patola (MA 2012, HBA 2011) received the 2013 President's Award, one of the highest honours given to graduating students. He completed his PhD in history at the University of Manitoba. He has published in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.

Jaimi Penney (MA 2013, HBA 2011) currently works for Legal Aid Ontario as an Aboriginal Justice Strategy Operational Business Analyst (Toronto office).

Joseph Peotto (MA 2009, HBA/BEd 2007) completed his thesis on Sport and Cultural History in Great Britain and the USA. Currently, he teaches Middle School United States History at Taipei American School, in Tien Mu, Taiwan.

Thomas Peotto (MA 2007, HBA 2006) completed his doctoral dissertation on cultural histories of colonial violence in North America at the University of British Columbia in 2018. Tom joined Lakehead University in 2021 as a contract lecturer and also works as a film researcher.

Roy Piovesana (MA 1969, BA 1965) was the Historian at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay. He is the author of Hope and Charity: An Illustrated History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay (2002), Robert J. Manion: Member of Parliament for Fort William, 1917-1935, co-author of Paper and People: An Illustrated History of Great Lakes Paper and Its Successors, and the author of numerous articles on the history of Italian-Canadians at the Lakehead. He is a past president of the Thunder Bay Historical Society and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and served as a trustee with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa. In 2013, he was awarded one of the department’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards and was made a Fellow of the University in 2015. Roy passed away in 2020.

John Potestio (MA 1982, HBA 1970) was a teacher of history in Thunder Bay until his retirement in 1996. He has been a contract lecturer in Italian culture and language at Lakehead University. He is the author of several books, including The Italians of Thunder Bay (2005), In Search of a Better Life: Emigration to Thunder Bay from a Small Town in Calabria (1999), The Memoirs of Giovanni Veltri (1987), and The History of the Port Arthur Italian Mutual Benefit Society (1985). He also co-edited The Italian Immigrant Experience (1988) and Thunder Bay's People (1987) with Antonio Pucci (MA 1977).

Antonio Pucci (MA 1977, HBA 1973, BA 1971) taught history in the high schools of the Lakehead District Catholic School Board. He is the author/editor of a number of books exploring the history of the Italian community in Thunder Bay. He was awarded the President’s Award in 1973.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Ratz (MA 1995, HBA 1989) was formerly the Commanding Officer of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment. He received his PhD in History from the University of Oulu, Finland. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor at Lakehead University and a contract lecturer in History and in Northern Studies.

Brent Rossborough (MA 2011) is the Digitization Coordinator/Collection Technician for the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, Red Lake, Ontario.

Amy Samson (MA 2008, HBA 2007) completed a PhD in History at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the Faculty Historian at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Tanya Sampson (HBA 1996) currently serves with the OPP out of Orillia OPP Headquarters as a Detective Sergeant.

Samira Saramo (MA 2007, HBA 2006) completed a PhD in History at York. She has worked as a contract lecturer at Lakehead University. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral researcher at the John Morton Center, University of Turku.

Thomas Scott (MA 1985) is a professional librarian at York University.

David Shanahan (MA 1984) completed a PhD at Carleton University and has been involved in research regarding Native land and other claims. He runs his own consulting firm.

Beverly Soloway (MA 2007, HBA 2006) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at York University. She is currently a contract lecturer in History at Lakehead University.

Nick Sottile (MA 2015, HBA 2009) is the Chief Administrative Officer with the Thunder Bay Historical Museum.

Sean Speer (HBA 2005) is Associate Director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Fiscal Studies. He has served in different roles for the federal government including senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister and director of policy to the Minister of Finance; and has been cited by The Hill Times as one of the most influential people in government and by Embassy Magazine as one of the top-80 people influencing Canadian foreign policy. Sean was a researcher for Brian Lee Crowley’s best-selling book Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values. Sean holds an MA in History from Carleton University and has studied as a PhD candidate in economic history at Queen’s University.

Devon Stillwell Bowley (MA 2008, HBA 2007) completed her PhD in History at McMaster University and recently was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins' Institute for the History of Medicine. Her dissertation was entitled "Interpreting the Genetic Revolution: A History of Genetic Counselling in the United States, 1930-2000." Her new project explores the history of research on the inheritance of breast cancer and Huntington's disease, and genetic counselling for adult-onset conditions in the 20th century United States.

Paul James Stortz (BA 1982) is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Calgary.

Gordon Stover (MA 2011, HBA 2010) works for the City of Thunder Bay Office of the City Clerk. 

David Trembley (MA 1983) teaches in Dorion, Ontario.

Constantine Tsekouras (MA 1978, HBA 1967) retired after teaching history for many years in Thunder Bay high schools.

William Vinh-Doyle (MA 2006, HBA 2004, BA 2003) completed his PhD in History at the University of New Brunswick. While at Lakehead, William was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master's level). He is a Digital Preservation Archivist with the Government of New Brunswick.

Ashley Walker Rewcastle (MA 2008, HBA/BEd 2007) teaches at Foothills Academy in Calgary.

Brian Walmark (MA 1993, HBA 1991, BA 1990) is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. He was a researcher for Keewaytinook Okimakanak (Northern Chiefs Council) and is a Founding Director of The Metis Nation of Ontario.

Sabrina Winters (nee Del Ben) (MA 2012, HBA 2011) completed her JD at the University of New Brunswick and is now an Associate at McInnes Cooper.

Matthew Wiseman (MA 2011, HBA 2010) completed his PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University.  He is currently a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo.
Whitney Wood (MA 2010, HBA 2009) received her PhD in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University.  She is currently the Canada Research Chair in the Historical Dimensions of Women's Health at Vancouver Island University.