Hometown: Lake Placid, New York
Major: Doctor of Philosophy in United States History and Public History
Expected date of graduation: 2020
Hope Shannon ranks in the top 5 percent of the Department of History’s graduate student population. She has presented her extensive body of work in a range of venues, including the National Humanities Conference, the National Council on Public History annual meeting, the Urban History Association Biennial Conference, the American Library Association annual meeting, and the Conference on Illinois History.
Her service record includes work with the National Council on Public History and the American Association for State and Local History. She was also one of six students who founded the Public History Lab in 2013, a student-led service project that facilitates graduate student partnerships with history groups and community organizations. She has also worked for the past five years with the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society, most recently as the head of its website and social media team.
Here, Hope discusses how her passion for history is linked to a commitment to social change.
What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person? Working with people interested in local history has helped me envision ways local history can be used to promote social equity, as well as find a larger community of historians interested in mobilizing history as a force for change. I'm especially grateful to have worked with board members and volunteers from the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society since starting my program at Loyola. Their willingness to explore creative ways to connect people over a shared interest in the past created a rich learning environment, and the lessons I learned there will remain with me the rest of my life.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education? The Jesuit belief in cura personalis — "care for the whole person" — provides a useful framework through which to understand my professional work. As a public historian, I work with and for a variety of audiences working to better understand the past and how it shapes our lives and identities in the present. History can be incredibly personal and heartbreaking, and public historians can help people navigate history's meaning in and impact on their lives and the lives of others. In this way, and by speaking truth to power, public historians can help create a more equitable world for people and communities oppressed by white supremacy, sexism, and other forms of intolerance.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you? In 2017, I co-founded a consulting business called Omnia History with Rachel Boyle, PhD, a fellow public historian and Loyola alum (who was, incidentally, the 2015 President's Medallion winner for The Graduate School). I'll go to Omnia full time after graduating next May. Working with faculty and fellow graduate students in the history department helped me identify my professional goals and values, which include using the past to promote social change whenever possible. That's Omnia's mission, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue this work when I leave Loyola.