New Faces at the AHA
Meet Scot McFarlane and Ben Rosenbaum
The AHA is excited to introduce two new members of our staff. In August, Scot McFarlane joined as a researcher for the Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education team, part of the Teaching History with Integrity initiative. Ben Rosenbaum arrived at the AHA in September as a program assistant.
Scot McFarlane graduated from Bowdoin College with a BA in history before teaching high school history in Massachusetts and Oregon. He went on to earn a history PhD from Columbia University with a focus on US history and rivers. During that time, Scot was first introduced to the AHA through a career diversity program called History in Action. Funding from this program allowed him to launch a public history series on rivers with virtual walks, a conference, and the website riverhistories.org. Scot told Perspectives, “These events encouraged me to map out a nonacademic career in history. So, in a sense, the AHA helped train me to work for them.”
Since earning his PhD, Scot served as an inaugural research scholar for Historic New England’s Recovering New England’s Voices initiative, “collaborating on research and reinterpretation at their 12 properties in Maine and New Hampshire so they could tell more inclusive and compelling stories.” As a river historian, Scot has led river history paddles, collaborated with conservationists, and published portions of his dissertation in Slavery and Abolition and other outlets. In 2022, Scot founded a historical consulting firm called Oxbow History Company.
Along with working at the AHA on the Mapping team, Scot is now working on a book about the history of Texas’s most populated river, called The Forgotten Trinity: A History of the Longest River in Texas. “The manuscript is based on my research at nearly 50 different archives as well as my personal experience growing up along the Trinity,” Scot explained.
As a river historian, Scot has led river history paddles, collaborated with conservationists, and published portions of his dissertation.
In his free time, Scot enjoys going on adventures big and small with his family, including taking his sons to their neighborhood skate park, camping on Brick Island in Merrymeeting Bay, and returning to their former home in New York City “to take in the sights, sounds, and smells.”
Ben Rosenbaum joins the AHA after two years of teaching high school US history and government in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ben earned a dual degree in history and secondary education at the University of Maryland in 2021, where he fostered his passion for education. As a teacher, Ben loved being able to share his research interests of American political history and the local history of Washington, DC, with his students. This fall, Ben decided it was time to pursue different aspects of history education and enrolled in the MA program in public history at American University, “which will prepare [him] to share history with a greater share of the public through a greater variety of media.” Ben chose this program initially because of his interest in museum work but hopes to expand his focus to learn more about the potential career paths of public history.
Along with Ben’s interest in history, he has had a longtime interest in government and public policy, which he is excited to explore as a program assistant whose chief responsibilities will be with the Congressional Briefings program. “I used to think that I really wanted to work in policy, but over time, I felt it didn’t have the history and research components, or the teaching and learning, that I wanted to spend more time on,” Ben told Perspectives. “I think this position combines those in a unique, best-of-both-worlds kind of way.”
Ben has had a longtime interest in government and public policy, which he is excited to explore as a program assistant for the Congressional Briefings program.
When he’s not working, you can find Ben baking and making all kinds of things in the kitchen. Ben bakes some form of bread almost every week, usually challah for Friday-night dinners with friends. He likes the idea of making things from scratch, which, he said, “has translated into attempts to make cheese (broad success), chocolate from a cacao pod I bought on Etsy (valiant effort, but overall failure), and lox from fresh salmon (definite success), among other projects.” Ben also enjoys taking advantage of the DC museum scene; the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Building Museum are among his personal favorites. Given his interest in local DC history, Ben especially loves to walk the DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails that showcase local history around the district.
Please give a warm welcome to Scot McFarlane and Ben Rosenbaum!
Lizzy Meggyesy is research and publications assistant at the AHA.
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