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Current PhD Students

Greg Carter

Greg Carter

Greg is a doctoral student in history with secondary fields in Africana Studies and Theology. He is a policy historian who specializes in the 1960s War on Poverty and whose dissertation will examine the Model Cities program in several American states. Greg has been published in Enterprise and SocietyNuggets of HistoryThe Miner’s Journal, and Loyal Legion Magazine. Prior to earning his master’s degree and beginning PhD work at Southern Illinois University, Greg earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Quincy Franciscan University. Greg received the Illinois Sons of Union Veterans award for distinguished service in 2012 and the Owen J. Blum Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement in History in 2014.


Matt Egbert

Matt is a doctoral candidate in History with a specialization in North African Christianity, martyrdom, and sainthood from the 4th to 7th centuries. His dissertation emphasizes the North African Christian community’s unique perspective on death, which developed due to the region’s liminal position between the Mediterranean and Trans-Saharan trade networks.  He received his M.A. degree in Ancient History from King’s College London in 2013, with his thesis tracing the agonistici branch of the Donatist Church and its role as both a religious and socio-economic movement. Prior to his graduate work, Matt obtained his B.A. from Campbellsville University in History and English.


Brooks Hudson

Brooks is a studying American history, specializing in the transformation of law, culture, and medicine from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression.  His dissertation traces the evolution of America’s first opiate crisis and the reaction to it.  He highlights how this period was pivotal in solidifying a criminal justice approach regarding addiction and narcotic use, and more importantly, the ways it expanded law enforcements’ ability to surveil and police personal behavior.  He received his B.A. from Murray State University, winning the Beasley Award for outstanding undergraduate.  He completed his M.A. at MSU in 2017.


J. David Kemp

David graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. In 2001 Mr. Kemp received his Master of Arts in history from Lehigh University. His thesis entitled “‘Musk-Cats and Monkies:’ Africans and Domestic Slavery, the Judicial Process, and Somerset’s Case in Eighteenth-Century England” was cited in the 2002 edition of Slavery: Annual Bibliographical Supplement.  While residing in Pennsylvania Mr. Kemp was an instructor of record at Ryder University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where he taught world history. He later taught world history at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Mr. Kemp is currently in his second year as a PhD student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In addition to the black Atlantic, his academic areas of interest include colonial America and early modern Europe. Mr. Kemp plans on expanding his previous scholarship on Somerset’s case into his doctoral dissertation.


Liana Kirillova

Liana is a doctoral candidate in History, specializing on the Youth Movement in the Soviet Union in the context of the Cold War and Soviet Internationalism. Her dissertation focuses on the Soviet student construction brigade movement in the 1960s-1980s and the role of international students in these Soviet shock-work constructions. Liana received her M.A. degree in History from SIUC in 2016 and the Specialist degree in International Relations from Udmurt State University (Izhevsk, Russia) in 2014. She is a recipient of an Outstanding Thesis Award (2016) and Emma Smith Hough Library Research Scholarship (2016). Liana has published articles in Essays in History and Vestnik Udmurtskogo Universiteta.


Geoff Lybeck

Geoff Lybeck

Geoff Lybeck is a doctoral candidate in historical studies specializing in twentieth-century American environmental history. His dissertation focuses on the effects of the Clean Air Act and its amendments (1963--1990) on the politics, industries, and communities with interests in the Illinois Basin, one of America's largest fossil fuel energy reserves. (Title: "From the 'Coal Wars' to the 'War on Coal': The Struggle over Environment, Politics, Industry, and the Communities of the Illinois Basin, 1945--2016").Geoff received his MA in history from SIUC in 2017. The culmination of his master's and early-doctoral work, a study of the 1832 cholera epidemic, the subsequent discourses of disease, and their roles in American religious-community formation, received the Stanley Zucker Prize and will be published in Ohio History.


Carlos Medina

Carlos is a doctoral candidate in the SIU History Department with a focus on twentieth century Puerto Rico, reproductive rights, and Latino studies.  He is currently nearing completion of his dissertation The Very Insides of Nationality: Reproduction and Women's Bodies as a Site of Colonial Encounters in Twentieth Century Puerto Rico, 1898 - 1973.  Carlos is a first-generation college student with a B.A. in History from Southern Illinois University and an M.A. in African American History from Northeastern Illinois University. He is a recipient of the Graduate Professional Student Council Research Award (2014) and an SIU Doctoral Research Fellow for the 2016-17 academic year.


Isacko Diba Yattani

Isacko’s research areas explore African political history and peace and conflict studies in Africa. His dissertation is titled “Inter-communal Conflict and Devolution in Marsabit County, Kenya: 1963-2015.”  Isacko earned his Master of Arts (MA) degree in History from Kenyatta University, specializing in political history, and a Bachelor of Education (Arts) from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), majoring in History and Swahili studies. Isacko has published an article, “The Legacy of Colonialism and its Contribution to Conflicts in Communities living in the Marsabit County of Kenya (1964-2011),” in the Journal of Global Peace and Conflict.