R. B. Z. Willits

Curriculum Vitae



EDUCATION


 

2018 – Present, PhD, New York University, United States History.

2021, MPhil, New York University, United States History.

2021, Advanced Certificate, New York University, Public History.

2017, M.A., New York University, Irish and Irish-American Studies.

2012, B.A., History, Aquinas College, Summa Cum Laude.

2007, A.A., Grand Rapids Community College.


 

FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS


 

2019, 2020, NYU – Jean Downey Fellowship

2018, 2019, 2020, NYU – Berger Fellowship

2018, 2019, 2020, NYU – MacCracken Fellowship

2014, 2015, 2016, NYU – NYU Irish and Irish-American Studies Fellowship


 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE


Research


 

2020 – Present, New York University, Graduate Research Assistant for Professor Kevin Kenny.

Prepared documentation, footnotes, images, and collaborated in the preparation for publication of Professor Kenny’s forthcoming volume, Slavery and Immigration: An American Story (working title).


 

2017 – 2021, Research Fellow, Irish Visions.

Primary archival research on the career and life of Ernie O’Malley in the Ernie O’Malley Archives at the Archives of Irish American, Tamiment Library, New York Univiversity. Primary duties include transcription of hundreds of handwritten manuscrips, collation of archival holdings, and historical analysis in preperation for the publication of edited manuscript collections.


 

2017, New York University, New York City, Research Assistant for Professor J. Joseph Lee.

Collected archival and secondary source materials for Professor J. Joseph Lee. Collated and archived files and research materials for use in future publications. Wrote and edited copy for speeches, lectures, and other official and public engagements. Transcribed oral dictation, lectures, and keynote speeches and adapted for publication.


 
 

Public History, Digital History, and Archives


 

2020 – 2021, New York Historical Society, NYC.

Historical Researcher (January, 2021 – September, 2021).

Research and Exhibitions Intern (October, 2020 – January, 2021)).

Collaborative research with the Vice President for History Exhibitions et. al. involving the New York Historical Society's archival collections, external archives, and librarires. Wrote reports, privided historical analysis, and engaged in discussions with the History Exhibits team, as assigned by the Vice President for History Exhibitions or other team members for the development and execution of pubic history exhibitions, especially for the Society’s Acts of Faith (2022) exhibition.


 

2020 – Present, Coronavirus Chronicles Archive [coronaviruschroniclesarchive.com],

Co-director and founder, archivist, and webmaster.

An independent, crowd-sourced, digital archive and public history project designed to share and preserve the everyday stories of all people during the global pandemic with an aim towards ingestion of the collection at an institutional archive.


 

2020 – Present, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

Digital and Public Communications Coordinator (May, 2021 – Present)

Digital Newsletter Assistant Editor (December, 2020 – Present)

Digital Projects Intern (June, 2020- May, 2021)

Responsible for redesign and development of the IEHS website and digital communications systems in collaboration with IEHS members, board, officers, and external contractors. Directed ongoing maintenance of the website and communication systems for regular operations of IEHS digital projects and communications. Supported and promoted online events and publications. Assisted in the editing, design, publication, and distribution of the IEHS’s digital edition of its bi-annual newsletter.


 

2016 – 2020, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, NYC,

Education Department.

Delivered thousands of artifact-based tours in a department that led over 180,000 tours on average per year. Designed and delivered curriculum, live talks, public programs for wide ranging audiences. Collaborated in delivery of live online webinars for thousands of students, reaching over 200,000 students annually in 2018 and 2019. Developed specialized programs for high ranking government and military officials, foreign dignitaries, survivors, families of victims, and other VIP and stakeholder communities. Trained docents and other public-facing education staff.


 

2017, New York University, NYC, Archives of Irish America, Archival Assistant,

Collected, processed, analyzed, and organized metadata for hundreds of oral histories held by Tamiment Library, NYU, in the Archives of Irish America. Worked to ensure consistency, technological compatibility, legal compliance, and accessibility of archival holdings.


 

Publishing and Journalism


 

2015 – 2017, Irish America magazine, NYC, Writer and Editorial Assistant.

Conducted interviews with high-profile professionals and public figures. Wrote numerous articles for each issue on topics including politics, history, pop-culture, the arts, and current events. Copy-editing, research, fact-checking, transcription, writing regular online articles and blog posts, and aiding online publishing.



 

Education


 

2012-2014, Berlitz Corporation, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Intercultural Communication and English Language Instructor.

Designed client need-based curriculum and lead programs for intercultural communications, professional development, and foreign language instruction in classroom and corporate settings for a diversity of students of all ages and backgrounds.

Clients included the Federal Republic of Germany, Solcom, DKMS, et. al. throughout the Baden-Württemberg region. Functioned as a cultural liaison, teaching not only language but also cultural understanding and communication.


 

PUBLICATIONS


 

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters:

2016, “The Stereopticon: German and Irish Propaganda of Deed and Word and the 1916 Easter Rising,” in Irelands Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising. University College Dublin Press.


 

2016, “The Man in Philadelphia: Joseph McGarrity and 1914,” with Maura Anand and Andrew S. Hicks in Irelands Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising. University College Dublin Press.


 

Newspaper, Magazine, and Online Articles:

2017, “How Germany Courted Irish Americans and Supported the 1916 Rising,” IrishCentral.com.


 

2016, “The German-American role in the fight for Irish freedom,” Irish Times.


 

2016, “The Bonds of a Nation, 100 Years On,” Irish America.


 

2016, “The Real Life Story of Bridge of Spies Lawyer James B. Donovan,” Irish America.


 

Book Reviews:


 

The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan. City University of New York’s Gotham Center for New York City History, 2017.


 

Short reviews as history and politics reviewer for Irish America magazine:

2016, Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers by James B. Donovan.


 

2016, Courage Boys We are Winning: An Illustrated History of the 1916 Rising by Michael Barry.


 

2016, Ireland’s Exiled Children: America and the Easter Rising by Robert Schmuhl.


 

2016, John Hume: Irish Peacemaker edited by Séan Farren and Denis Haughey.


 

2015, Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most by Timothy Shriver.


 

2015, The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff.


 

2015, Compassionate Stranger: Asenath Nicholson and the Great Irish Famine by Maureen O’Rourke Murphy.


 
 

CONFERENCE PAPERS, INVITED LECTURES, PUBLIC PROGRAMS, PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES


 

Conference Papers


 

“German and Irish Diaspora Interactions: Boer War, World War, and Revolution.” American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference, University of Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri, March 31, 2017.


 

“Jeremiah A. O’Leary and the American Truth Society: Americanist, Propagandist, Revolutionist, Peace Advocate, Traitor, or Saboteur?” American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference, University of Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri, March 31, 2017.


 

“Boer Fever: The Cause and Consequences of Fin de Siècle Irish and German American Diaspora Relations.” American Conference for Irish Studies, Mid-Atlantic Regional: Ireland’s Global Dimensions, New York University. New York City, New York, October 29, 2016.


 

“German and Irish Propaganda Before and After the Easter Rising.” Symposium: Independent Spirit: America and the 1916 Easter Rising. A symposium to enlighten, interrogate, and locate Ireland’s Rising in its trans-Atlantic context. New York City, New York, April 21-22, 2016.


 

“The Deed and the Word: German Support in America for the Easter Rising in Practice and in Print.” American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference: The Worlding of Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame. South Bend, Indiana, March 30, 2016.


 

“The Role of Identity, Technique, and Purpose in the Writing of History: An Assessment of Irish Historian and Journalist, Tim Pat Coogan.” Phi Alpha Theta Michigan Regional Conference, Oakland University. Rochester, Michigan, March 26, 2011.


 

Invited Lectures


 

“Creating Oral Histories of the Forgotten: Race, Gender, Public History and Prejudice after 9/11.” Guest Lecture; Adventures in Interviewing: Oral History, Method, and Theory. New York University. Invited by Dr. Miriam Nyhan-Grey, March 10, 2020.


 

“September 11 Health Effects and Immigrant Labor on ‘The Pile.’” Guest Lecture; Adventures in Interviewing: Oral History, Method, and Theory. New York University. Invited by Dr. Miriam Nyhan-Grey, April 23, 2019.


 

“Immigrants and Empires: Transnational Subversion in a Time of War.” Guest Lecture; History of Ireland. Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Invited by Dr. Jason Duncan, September 7, 2017.


 

“German and Irish Diasporic Interactions in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.” Guest Lecture; Global Diaspora: The Irish Case. New York University. Invited by Dr. Barry McCarron, March 8, 2017.


 

“German Official Espionage and Irish Anti-Imperialism in Europe, America, and South Africa, 1899-1919.” Guest Lecture; Advanced Honors Seminar: Spies in Ireland, Literature and Surveillance. New York University. Invited by Dr. Kelly Sullivan, November 8, 2016.


 

Public History Programs


 

“Stories of Flight 93.” Auditorium based lecture created and delivered for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.


 

“The Security Directory: John O’Neill and the Quest to Stop Al Qaeda.” Auditorium based lecture created and delivered for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.


 

Conference Panel Organizer and Chair


 

“Narratives, Trauma, and Public Memory,” panel moderator. Traversing the Gap: Relevance as Transformative Force at Sites of Public Memory. Second annual National September 11 Memorial and Museum conference in conjunction with Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and New York University. June 20, 2019.


 

“The Failures of Revolution: The Unrealized Aspirations in Connection with 1916,” Panel organizer and chair. American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference, University of Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri, March 31, 2017.


 

“Global Irish Studies: The Comparative and Transnational Approach,” panel organizer and chair. American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference, University of Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri, March 31, 2017.


 

“1916: An International and American Effort for Revolution in Ireland,” Panel Organizer and Chair. American Conference for Irish Studies, National Conference: The Worlding of Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame. South Bend, Indiana, March 30, 2016. Panel awarded special mention and featured in the 2016 ACIS yearly report*


 

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