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Alexandra O

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)


20th Century American History


My interest in history began in my high school classroom. Up until this point I thought I knew a lot about history, but it was here that I realized the popular versions of history just barely scratched the surface. As I have continued to study history, my primary interests have been 20th century American history, African American history, and the history of the black press. I also have an interest in 20th century British history as well. As I finish my PhD, my dissertation focuses on depictions of Black love and relationships in Black-owned print publications in the 1980s. In my spare time I love to try new recipes and read. I have recently begun cooking my way through new cookbooks, and have found it to be a great way to decompress. I have also become quite fond of audiobooks. This year I want to break my own personal records for how many books I have read.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Contemporary Connections to Historical Themes

One of the most exciting things about history is making connections between historical research and our present moment. These kinds of connections are important not only in traditional academic writing, but also in journalistic pursuits as well. Together we could delve into archival sources to uncover historical trends and phenomena, and connect them to present day events and trends. These connections can be explored in a traditional academic paper, or be used as the basis for a podcast series, social media project, or digital archive. An online exhibit, social media page dedicated to a concrete theme, or even a news article or an op-ed would be a fun project that we can work to develop together.

Teaching experience

I have worked as a graduate instructor for 5 years now, and my core focus is 20th century American history. I have also been a visiting lecturer and taught a course I created called The History of the Black Press. I also tutor college students in history and humanities courses.



Grinnell College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2016)
Queen Mary, University of London
MA Master of Arts (2017)
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
MA Master of Arts (2019)
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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