Kathleen is a doctoral student in Architecture and Historic Preservation and is currently writing her dissertation exploring issues of race and representation in preservation. She began her doctoral training as a historian, expanding into historic preservation after seeing how history can be used to preserve communities alongside built and natural environments. Proficient in Russian and Kazakh, her research spans across the Americas and the former Soviet Union, focusing on how to preserve and interpret places of “difficult heritage”—sites of trauma, contested history, or atrocities.
With UT’s Preservation Studio, Kathleen traveled to Badlands National Park to develop a framework to better preserve and interpret its cultural landscape. Her team won the Design Excellence Award for their project to rehabilitate the historic Mission 66 visitor center. She has held fellowships with the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV). At the CSD, Kathleen worked with the Texas Department of State Health Services to investigate how historic buildings and landscapes could transform patient care in modern psychiatric hospitals. She later worked with the NPS to develop new treatment options to protect cultural landscapes at risk of disasters resulting from climate change, such as rising sea waters and increased wildfires. Through the GCV’s Rudy Favretti Historic Landscape Fellowship, Kathleen started her dissertation research in Virginia, studying the cultural, sociological, historical, and ecological complexities of preserving and interpreting a plantation. In 2019, Kathleen recieved a P.E.O. Scholar Award to support her dissertation research.
She continues to practice in the field through working as a historian and architectural historian at HHM & Associates. Kathleen has consulted on projects across the country, and particularly enjoys working in communities rebuilding after natural disasters, such as last year’s devastation from Hurricane Harvey.