Our Scholars


Laura Marsh is a rising junior from Augusta, Michigan. She is in the LSA Honors Program and majoring in History. She was originally interested in this project because of her passion for discussing women’s rights and was excited to know more about the women who came before her at U-M. She is interested in the history of political movements and activism and appreciated the opportunity to compare her own experiences to those of women in different times. Laura’s main goal with this project is to create a history that will be accessible to all who would like to learn about women at U-M. Her secondary goal is to learn how to sniff the old books at the Bentley without people noticing.


Mel Neal is a rising junior from Plymouth, Michigan. She is double-majoring in History and Women’s Studies and feels that this project was the perfect match for her academic interests. When she is not in the archives, she likes to read anything and everything, cook, watch movies, and visit new places. Her favorite things to do as a U-M student are going to football and hockey games and trying new breakfast places in Ann Arbor. She plans to go to law school and continue learning every day. Her favorite parts of this project have been learning about all of the strong and intelligent women who helped shape the University of Michigan into the institution it is today and finding trivia to make jokes with while she gives tours to parents and prospective students.



Levi Teitel is a rising junior from West Bloomfield, Michigan. He is double-majoring in History and Communication Studies and pursuing a minor through the Science, Technology, and Society program. Levi has always loved history and has been interested in historical facts and figures since he was in elementary school. Levi didn’t always intend on studying history in college; his freshman year he accidentally stumbled across a history class — History of Garbage with Anne Berg and Gabrielle Hecht — and has never turned back. Levi’s research interests include the history of mass media, 20th century cultural history, and the history of Detroit. Levi is pursuing a career in the social media field after graduating. He enjoys practicing ashtanga vinyasa yoga, hiking, traveling and creating Spotify playlists. He is happy to have had the experience researching the history of women at Michigan, a topic unfamiliar to him before this project.


Emma Stout is a rising senior in the Residential College from Royal Oak, Michigan. She is majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. No stranger to historical research, she has previously worked on “Mapping Mark and Erasure: Siting Parish Architecture in Medieval Rome” with Professor Catherine McCurrah and is currently working on a senior honors thesis on French and Native American relations during the Seven Years War. On campus she can be found registering student voters with the CSG Commission Voice Your Vote or writing about international politics with the Michigan Journal of International Affairs. When not reading, writing, or thinking about history and politics, she spends her time knitting, using the dog filter on Snapchat, and frequenting trivia nights.


Abigail Esbrook is a rising senior from Marquette, a city in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is studying History and East Asian Studies with an emphasis on modern Chinese and Korean history, and pursuing secondary education through the School of Education. She will receive a teaching certificate upon graduation, after which she plans to attend graduate school and teach high school social studies. Abby was drawn to this project for a multitude of reasons, but most importantly she was enthralled by the topic of women at the University and exploring their histories through archival research. As someone who is going to be teaching history to high school students, she wants to engage them by doing the real work of the discipline. Beyond that, she wants female students to see themselves as empowered and having a role in history, instead of feeling disenfranchised. She feels that high school history courses often engage only with male dominated histories that disguise how women have shaped and continue to shape the world, and this project gives her the tools to change that. When she’s not ranting about twentieth-century Chinese history, you can find her playing video games and carrying her cat around on her shoulder.



Sophia Kaufman is a rising junior in the Residential College from New York City. She’s double-majoring in English and History and is also passionate about women’s studies and social movements, so this project was the perfect interdisciplinary fit for her. When she is not getting lost in the Bentley, she likes to read, write, listen to music, and talk about feminism with her friends. Her favorite aspects of this project were collaborating with a fantastic team, working with archived materials from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and laughing at all the men who thought women could never succeed at an academic institution.



Molly Brookfield is the Graduate Student Supervisor for the 2016 Michigan in the World project. She is a PhD student in History and Women’s Studies researching women’s experiences of urban space in the twentieth-century United States. She has relished this opportunity to learn more about her current institutional home, especially the development of the Women’s Studies department. Before coming to Michigan, she spent several years working in museums, archives, and public history sites in Minnesota and London, UK. When she’s not figuring out how to be a historian, Molly can be found playing SimCity, practicing Buddy Holly songs on her guitar, and working her way through every coffee shop in Washtenaw County.

Michelle McClellan is the Faculty Advisor for the 2016 Michigan in the World project, for which she selected the theme. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History and the Residential College. Michelle specializes in American women’s history and the history of medicine and is committed to sharing historical scholarship with the widest possible audiences. Complete with sunbonnet, Michelle is now writing a book about heritage tourism at the sites associated with the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a native Michigander, she has enjoyed learning more about the evolution of the University and has been delighted to work with incredibly creative and committed students on this project. When she is not at the Bentley Historical Library, Michelle might be running, hiking, knitting (just like Laura Ingalls!), and indoctrinating her sons in the importance of women’s history.