Alumni News

Leila McNeill, OU alumnus (MA, History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Oklahoma) and co-editor of the online journal Lady Science, has published an article in the August issue of The Atlantic. In “The Constellations Are Sexist”, Leila explores how Greek and Roman star configurations depict men as conquerors and heroes, while women are victims and bit players. Read the article here, in The Atlantic.

On July 16, 2016, Henry Zepeda (M.A., Ph.D., History of Science, University of Oklahoma; B.A., Liberal Arts, Thomas Aquinas College) and Elizabeth Del Curto (M.A., Classical Philology, University of Arizona; B.A., Classics and Early Christian Literature, Ave Maria University) were married in Oakdale, California.  While she was a graduate student at Arizona, Elizabeth received a Centers and Regional Associations [CARA] summer program and tuition scholarship to attend the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Medieval Studies’ 2014 summer course in Paleography and Codicology.  OU’s Margaret Gaida was also a student in the course and served as informal matchmaker to introduce Elizabeth and Henry.  Elizabeth taught Latin at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson during the 2015-2016 academic year.  The Zepedas have relocated to Munich, where Henry is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus project.


Sarah Swenson, who graduated from OU with a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in the History of Science, was jointly awarded the 2014 Singer Prize by the British Society for the History of Science for her essay “‘Morals can not be drawn from facts but guidance may be’: The early life of W.D. Hamilton’s theory of inclusive fitness.” Sarah's work is based upon unique access to William Hamilton's archive, and it has contributed greatly to changed views among scholars on Hamilton’s work on social insects. Hamilton's letters reveal a whole new perspective on what he thought the human implications for his work might be.

After graduating from OU, Sarah studied under Pietro Corsi at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Completing that MA, she continued at Oxford to complete her D.Phil. in early 2015.  She recently began her medical studies at the Mayo Clinic.

Kathleen Sheppard Publishes Her First Book

Kathleen L. Sheppard, a 2010 Ph.D. alumna, has just published her first book, The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology.  This is the first book-length biography of Margaret Alice Murray (1863-1963), a woman practicing professional archaeology at the beginning of the twentieth century, but usually presented in the historical shadow of the work of her mentor Sir Flinders Petrie.  Dr. Sheppard, however, focuses on Murray’s theories, ideas, and accomplishments to argue that she was a practicing scientist.  She also analyzes Murray’s life within the larger context of her involvement in the suffrage movement, her work in folklore and witchcraft studies, and after her retirement from University College London.

Kathleen Sheppard received a B.A. in anthropology and sociology from Truman State University, an M.A. in Egyptian archeology from University College, London, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma.  Her dissertation was entitled "The Lady and the Looking Glass: Margaret Murray's Life in Archaeology".  Currently, she serves as an assistant professor on the faculty of the History and Political Science Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology.  She teaches the history of science survey and western civilization courses.  Her research is situated in early twentieth-century Britain, and she also is interested in the popularization of science in America, the history and significance of World’s Fairs, and the Space Race.  She is on the executive committee of the Histories of Archaeology Research Network.

The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology


Kelsey Bjornsgaard who graduated with a Major in International Relations and a Minor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in 2011 has been accepted into the graduate programme of King’s College London, to study for a Masters degree in International Conflict Studies.



 Jared CurranJared Curran, who expects to graduate with a double major in History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and Philosophy in 2012 will be among the first students to graduate with an undergraduate Major from our program.

Jared has been accepted into the graduate program in the Department of the History of Science here at the University of Oklahoma where he will pursue his interest in the history of the philosophy of science.

Ramez MalufRamez Maluf completed his PhD in the History of Science in 1985, with a dissertation, “Jean Antoine Nollet and Experimental Natural Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century France.” Since that time, he has been an active journalist and author, as well as a faculty member in the Communication Arts Department of Lebanese American University. His observations about issues in the Middle East can be heard regularly on National Public Radio, including:

Professor Maluf’s interest in history of science continues. In November 2009, as Chair of the Communication Arts Department, he organized a three-hour discussion of Darwin’s evolution theory and its social, religious and philosophical implications, part of world-wide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. The next month, he participated in an international conference at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, delivering a presentation on Arab media reporting on Darwin during the anniversary.

 Natalie Peck (MA/MLIS 2002) reports that she and her husband, Colin Read, have opened The Champlain Wine Co. in Plattsburgh, NY. On 40 acres in Mooers, near the Canadian border, they have a vineyard of 4000 cold-hardy vines and a winery. Natalie says, “the rigors of graduate school helped prepare me for the trials in my vineyard and with making wine.” When she is not making and selling wine, she is Director of Development Information and Research at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Office of Institutional Advancement. To read more about the winery and business, see the recent article in the Press-Republican.

Watch this space for news about alumni.  If you are an alumnus/alumna of the program, please send news to

Donald R. Baucom named Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus for 2010

Dr. Donald R. Baucom

In recognition of his outstanding achievements as an exceptional alumnus of the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Donald R. Baucom was selected as a 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences. This honor is bestowed each year on four graduates of the college who represent respectively the humanities, professional schools, natural sciences and social sciences. Dr. Baucom was recognized during the annual Focus on the College of Arts and Sciences (FOCAS) week, February 22-26, 2010. On Thursday, February 25, he presented a lecture, “Hitting a Bullet with a Bullet: The Emergence of Kinetic Energy Interceptors,” and on Friday, February 26, he was one of the guests of honor at the Kaleidoscope Evening, attended by students, faculty, alumni and friends of the college. Proceeds from the evening provide funds for the college’s scholarship program.

Donald R. Baucom is a 1962 graduate of the USAF Academy, who earned his Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1976. During twenty-eight years in the Air Force, he served tours as a communications-electronics officer in Spain and Thailand, taught history at the Air Force Academy, taught strategy and history at the Air War College, and served as the editor of the Air University Review, professional journal of the Air Force. In May of 1987, he was detailed to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in the Pentagon where he established the official history program for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 1990, he returned to federal service as the civilian historian for DOD’s missile defense program. His book, The Origins of SDI, was awarded the 1994 Leopold Prize by the Organization of American Historians. He has published numerous articles on military history and the profession of arms and reviewed books for a number of historical and professional military journals. In addition to the Leopold prize, he has received several other awards for his professional writing, including a George Washington Medal presented by Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge (1986) and an article of the year award (2008) from the Air Force Historical Foundation.
Dr. Baucom retired from the Department of Defense in June 2003 and now lives in El Prado, NM, just north of Taos. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and various campaign and service awards. He has been married for forty-seven years to the former Margaret Rivers. They have three children and six grandchildren.

In memoriam

Dwight Eugene "Red" Mayo

Dwight Eugene “Red” Mayo, retired Major in the USMC and Northern Arizona University History Department Professor Emeritus, died May 13, 2017, at his home in Flagstaff, AZ.  He was 96.  Dwight was born on November 28, 1919, in Sherburn, MN to George Earl and Lois Lamyra (Hamden) Mayo.  He was part of the “Greatest Generation” shaped by the Great Depression and World War II.  He worked odd jobs from the time he was 12 to help support his family, enlisted in the military in 1942, and served courageously for the following 20 years.  He was a US Marine Corps (F4 U Corsair) fighter pilot in World War II, stationed aboard the Essex class aircraft carrier, USS Bennington in the Pacific Theatre.  During the Korean War, he flew aerial observation flights and directed air strikes to support troops on the ground.  During the early years of the Vietnam War, he transported advisory and support staff.  He attained the rank of Major and was awarded many commendations, honors, and medals, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, eleven Air Medals, and two Presidential Unit Citations (WWII, Korea).  After retirement from the Marine Corps at the age of 43, he earned his Master’s Degree in History from Arizona State University in 1964.  In 1967, he earned his Doctoral Degree in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma and went on to teach in the history department at Northern Arizona University full time from 1967-1983 and part time until 1991.  In 1958, Dwight purchased a small log cabin Spirit Lake, ID and spent his summers there for the remainder of his life.  He inspired those around him with his love and delight of the outdoors, sharing countless hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing adventures with family and friends.  He sang in choirs for over 80 years.  He was a founding member of the Flagstaff Master Chorale, singing with the group for over 30 years, and also the Flagstaff Oratorio Choir.  He was devoted to his family and was diligent in continually visiting his relatives around the country.  He loved hiking and fishing and took over 80 trips into the Grand Canyon, most often hiking the South Kaibab Trail at dawn and returning in time for dinner.  He enjoyed water skiing and snow skiing.  He skied at the Arizona Snowbowl until he was 86.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his two brothers, Lloyd and Gordon, and his sister, Helen Theobald.  He leaves behind his wife, Jo Ann Mayo, 6 children, 9 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.  A marine Honor Guard ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, May 22, in the Veteran’s Section of Citizens Cemetery, 1300 South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, AZ.

Jackson R. Pope, III

Jackson Rinn Pope, III, passed away in early September in Norman, Oklahoma. He moved to Norman in fall 2014 from his hometown of Gallatin Gateway, Montana, to join the graduate program of the History of Science Department. Jackson joined the MA program in the history of science, technology and medicine as an Alumni Fellow after completing a BS in Psychology at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico, and a BA in History at Montana State University. While at Montana State, he worked as a volunteer with The Extreme History Project helping to transcribe oral histories of reservation life from Crow tribal elders as part of the Fort Parker Oral History Project. After graduation he decided to pursue his interests in the history of science and spent a year in independent research in preparation for graduate school. Jackson had many scholarly interests, but he was particularly interested in the history of amateur science and the relationships between scientists and amateurs. In his master’s thesis, which he defended in May 2016, Jackson examined the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology as a space where professional ornithologists and amateur bird watchers interacted as part of a larger community of bird watching.

Jackson intended to expand his thesis project as he continued into the doctoral track. He was awarded a 2016 George Miksch Sutton Scholarship from the Department of Biology to create a digital online archive of bird song records with assistance from the Fine Arts Library, the Digitization Laboratory, the Department of Biology, and the Digital Scholarship Lab. Under the direction of his committee chair, Associate Professor of History of Science Dr. Katherine Pandora, at the time of his death, Jackson was researching recordings made from the 1930s-1960s by Arthur A. Allen, Albert R. Brand, and Peter Paul Kellogg of Cornell University. Their work, along with their interactions within a network of amateur bird song recorders in the 1950s-1960s, created the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s famous Library of Natural Sounds, now the largest repository of animal recordings in the world. Jackson had begun work on an archive to be available to researchers through ShareOK, and at other sites as it developed.

Jackson was an active member in the HSCI graduate student community, including service as President of the History of Science Association campus student organization. In his free time, Jackson enjoyed reading, especially H. P. Lovecraft, watching what he termed “terrible” sci-fi movies, and experimenting with photography.

Jackson is survived by his mother Sue, his father Jackson R. Pope, II and his wife Sarah Pope, and siblings Abby Pope and Gabriel Pope, as well as his HSCI student, faculty, and staff family.

Jackson blogged about his research at Parliament of Owls, and posted some of his work on his YouTube channel Jackson Pope.


Forest SharpForest Sharp

January 30, 1983 - July 3, 2011 Forest Dayne Sharp, 28, of Norman, Oklahoma, passed away in Vega, Texas on July 3, 2011. He was born on January 30, 1983 in Oklahoma City to Gretchen Evans and Karey Sharp. Forest graduated from Shawnee High School in 2002 and from the University of Oklahoma in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology.  At the time of his death he was preparing a thesis for his Master's degree in the History of Science. Forest was the president of the OU Animation and Manga Society, which he helped to organize for many years. He was also highly involved in organizing video game tournaments in Oklahoma, both individually and as part of HXC LAN Center and OKgamers.

Alexander OspovatAlexander M. Ospovat (1923–2010)

Alexander Meier Ospovat died 21 December 2010, at Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was a member of the History Department at Oklahoma State University from 1962 until his retirement in 1988.

Born in 1923 in Königsberg, East Prussia, Ospovat spent most of his childhood in Memel, Lithuania. In 1940 his family fled, first to Mexico, then to the US. Ospovat earned a degree in civil engineering at the University of Oklahoma in 1945. Following several years of employment as an engineer, he returned to school and earned his PhD in 1960. He was the first to complete the OU doctoral program in history of science.

At Oklahoma State Ospovat taught history of science and medicine, and early modern European history. His research focused primarily on the development of geology in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He is particularly well known for his research on the geological career and thought of Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749–1817). His was a pioneering voice in revising the negative judgments on Werner that had been taken in most British and American histories of geology since the time of Charles Lyell. In recognition of his contributions to the history of geology Ospovat received an honorary doctorate from the Bergakademie Freiberg (1990).

Ken Taylor, University of Oklahoma

from the History of Science Society Newsletter, April 2011

Ken Taylor has published a more extended éloge published in Earth Sciences History.