Meet the Scholars

 2017-2018 Ramonat Scholars

Robert Baurley

Major: History

I am overwhelmingly excited to begin another undergraduate research experience! I am a senior at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in History with a minor concentration in English. In my free time, I enjoy reading fiction and volunteering with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership. I plan to utilize my experiences from The Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar, Loyola’s History Honors Program, and (of course) The Ramonat Seminar, to help other scholars during my academic career. Being originally from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, I hope to earn a J.D. and MPA, in the northeast after graduation. I aspire to use all of my undergraduate research experiences to help others through public service!

Elyse Burns

Majors: History and Political Science

I am a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying History and Political Science. I grew up in Batavia, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. In my free time, I love to paint and read about American history. I’m excited to be a part of the Ramonat Seminar this year because I can’t wait to learn more about the history of Native Americans, a topic that sometimes seems to get glossed over in American history. In the future, I hope to attend law school or graduate school for history, and I’m hoping that the hands-on history research involved with the Ramonat Seminar will help me decide between the two.

Christian Geoppo

Major: Economics

Minors: Mathematics and Information Systems Management

I am a junior from Mokena, IL and passionate about economics, politics, and, of  course, history. The Ramonat Seminar mostly appealed to me because of its emphasis on early Catholic history in the United States as well as the chance it offered me to deeply analyze Native American history and develop my research skills. I am looking forward to the adventure ahead!

Garrett Gutierrez

Major: History

Minor: Anthropology

I am a Senior undergraduate History major and Anthropology minor from Orange County, California. Sadly, my experience studying Native American societies and cultures is only just beginning with the Ramonat, but better late than never! I cannot wait to challenge myself throughout this course and become a better researcher, writer, and historian in the process. I hope to continue my education after undergrad by attending graduate school for urban history.

Caroline Hitt

Major: History

Minor: Sustainability Management and Marketing

I’m a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago and originally from Midland, MI, I’m majoring in History and double minoring in Sustainability Management and Marketing. In my free time I play on Loyola Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team and have been apart of this team since the beginning of my freshmen year. I’m very excited to be apart of the Ramonat Seminar because of both the topic and the program. I have never been part of a program like this before and am looking forward to the opportunities that it will give me. But also I’m excited about the topic and study of Native Americans and their encounter with Catholic missionaries because during my academic studies this topic seems to be alluded but it’s a history that should not be forgotten.

Ciara Johnson

Major: History

Minor: French

I am a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago from Milwaukee, WI. I am excited about the Ramonat seminar because it seems I have yet to find a part of history that does not fascinate me. I am very intrigued by Native American culture and am eager to to explore the questions I have about their relationship with Catholic missionaries. I am also enthusiastic about developing my research and writing skills throughout the seminar.


Jacob Kreiner

Major: Environmental Science and Environmental Policy

Minor: History

I am just a senior from the suburbs who came to Loyola with an interest in the scientific aspects of the environment. What I found was the importance of the social aspects of the environment can be even more complex and fascinating than the scientific ones. While in Ben Johnson’s environmental history course we challenged the notion of the “ecological Indian”, that is to say that native American populations were so in tune to nature that they were able to live without harming it. This drew me to this year’s Ramonat seminar as I look to challenge other long held assumptions about Native American cultures and how their interactions with incoming missionaries and settlers not only changed their cultures but also the physical environment around them.

Alexander Mackiewicz

Major: History, International Studies

I am a senior intending on pursuing a higher degree in history and a career in teaching. Born and raised in Chicago, I grew up in a city full of history and diverse cultures, my two greatest passions. This year’s Ramonat Seminar provides me a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the role of a historian while becoming more familiar with Native American culture and the influence that Catholicism had on it.

Brittany Steiferman

Major: Psychology, Pre-Medicine

Minor: History

It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Ramonat Seminar. I’m majoring in psychology and pre-medicine, and minoring in history with the ultimate goal of becoming an otolaryngologist. Although medicine and history seem like unrelated subjects, they both require strong analytical and research skills which ultimately lead to a better understanding of people. The knowledge and expertise I gain from the Ramonat Seminar will help me to improve the lives of my future patients in meaningful and unique ways. I am excited, highly motivated and looking forward to getting started.