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Claire Tratnyek

PhD in History


Claire is a history PhD student at Northeastern University studying cultural history in the Atlantic World, the urban history of the Northeastern United States (particularly in New England), the history of the American education system, and public history methodologies (particularly in museums). After teaching for nearly a decade in Boston schools, she is especially interested in the history of teaching history – the curricula, the textbooks, and the pedagogy. Her goal is to produce public facing work that can inform educators who work both in K-12 systems and in higher ed. institutions. Claire’s experience working in a program for Boston Public School teachers called Thinking Through Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has made her curious about the uses of imagery – from museums, from textbooks, and from digital media collections – in K-12 United States History curricula. Claire earned her BA in Anthropology and European History at a small liberal arts college called Franklin Pierce and graduated from Northeastern with MA degrees in World History and in Teaching before becoming an educator. Through Northeastern’s ‘Experiential PhD’ program, Claire has worked as a Doctoral Fellow in GBH Boston’s history education department (Summer 2020), and as a Doctoral Fellow in the Thinking Through Art program at the Gardner Museum (Fall 2020). She has also worked on the Journal of the Plague Year digital archive writing curriculum (Summer 2020), and recently published a review of “Land and Legacy” for Reviews in Digital Humanities (Vol 2, No. 5, May 2021). She is currently working as a Digital Integration Teaching Initiative Fellow and as a research assistant in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s education department.

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Claire’s Path

“Northeastern recognizes the value in connecting pragmatic, non-academic experiences with traditional university learning opportunities – not everyone wants to work on projects that have a purely academic audience of experts, and these ‘real world’ experiences allow graduate students to do work that may be more public-facing or wide-reaching.”

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