Our Staff

kathy bess

Kathy Bess, Administrative Assistant. Kathy has worked with CHSSP since Summer 2021 and has worked for UC Davis since 2006. She also works as administrative assistant for the Area 3 Writing Program on campus. Previously she worked for the History Project at UCD and in the UCD Plant Sciences Department as Admin Assistant/Program Coordinator. Bess holds a Bachelor’s of Science from UC Davis.

Kate Bowen

Kate Bowen, Elementary Consultant.  Kate is a retired elementary teacher with over 35 years of classroom experience. Kate develops both in-person and virtual workshops for teachers throughout California and designs TK-6th grade integrated curriculum aligned with the California History-Social Science Framework. A love of picture books, Kate also serves on the California Department of Education Recommended Literature List Committee and is a contributor to the California Global Education Project Global Book List.

shelley brooks

Shelley Brooks, Program Coordinator.  Shelley Brooks completed her Ph.D. in United States History at UC Davis in 2011, where she studied California environmental history. She sits on the statewide California Environmental Literacy Initiative to help integrate environmental literacy in the K-12 history-social science classroom, writes the Current Context installments, the Teach the Election series, and edits the CHSSP's quarterly magazine, The Source. She teaches U.S. History courses at UC Davis. Her book, Big Sur: The Making of a Prized California Landscape, won the 2018 Weyerhaeuser Book Award for conservation history.


Daniel Castaneda, Marchand Public Engagement Intern. Daniel Castaneda is a history PhD student at the University of California, Davis. His research is in United States political history, specifically on Democratic Party politics from the 1970s to the 1990s. Daniel is passionate about California history and has studied the state’s political history, most recently in his master’s thesis, entitled “An Agency of Ideas: How Jerry Brown and The Office of Appropriate Technology Promoted Alternative Energy in California.” As a first-generation college student, Daniel is interested in education policy and ensuring that all California students have access to quality education, especially in history and social science.  He is eager to have the opportunity to work with the CHSSP and with K-12 educators across the state.

katharine cortes

Katharine Cortes, Program Coordinator.  Katharine Cortes earned her Ph.D in US history from the University of California Davis with an emphasis in Women and Gender studies. Since 2009, Cortes has worked as part of the CHSSP network crafting curriculum, professional development, and primary source sets for TK-12 teachers across the country. She also currently serves as the Director of the Area 3 Writing Project at UC Davis, a sister program to CHSSP focused on writing instruction. In both organizations she works closely with classroom teachers to create diverse, inquiry based, and culturally sustaining resources for students. 

Ashley Fregoso

Ashley Fregoso, Student Assistant. Ashley is a current 4th year history and political science double major. She’ll be graduating this spring with her bachelors degree. Ashley has helped craft social media posts for the history department and fliers for events that CHSSP hold. Her favorite history class so far at Davis has been Human Rights in Latin America. Ashley hopes to pursue a history related career when she graduates.

ellen hartigan oconnor

Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, Faculty Advisor.  Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor is associate professor of history at the University of California at Davis, where she teaches courses on gender, American social and cultural history, and the histories of colonialism and capitalism.  She is the author of The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America (U Penn, 2009), co-author of Global Americans (Cengage 2017), a college textbook on American history in global context, and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History (OUP, 2018), in addition to articles on gender and economy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  She is currently completing America Under the Hammer, a history of auctioning and market culture in early America.  Hartigan-O’Connor has been an elected Trustee of the Business History Conference, is a Founding and Standing Editor of Oxford Bibliographies Online—Atlantic History, and a board member of Women and Social Movements.  Since 2018, she has served as Associate Dean for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars at UC Davis.  Her previous work with K-12 teachers included leading over a dozen Teaching American History talks and serving as scholarly reviewer on source sets.

lisa hutton

Lisa Hutton, Elementary Specialist.  Lisa Hutton taught elementary school in Inglewood and Santa Monica for 15 years before joining the faculty in the College of Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2001. She taught elementary methods courses, served as the site director of the History Project at Dominguez Hills, and has held a variety of administrative positions in the college. Lisa is a strong advocate for teaching history-social science in elementary classrooms and has worked extensively with elementary teachers in Southern California with a focus on inquiry-based teaching, historical thinking in the elementary grades, and developing discipline-specific literacy through the teaching of history-social science. Lisa received her BA, teaching credential, M.Ed, and Ed.D from UCLA.

Shennan Hutton

Shennan Hutton, World History Specialist.  Shennan Hutton taught world history in high school for 15 years, before entering the graduate program at UC Davis.  She earned a Ph.D. in medieval European history in 2006.  She teaches medieval, European, and world history at various colleges and universities, as well as promoting K-16 collaboration at the California History-Social Science Project. She is one of the lead authors of California’s History-Social Science Framework, which guides K-12 history-social science instruction in the state. She is also the author of Women and Economic Activities in Late Medieval Ghent along with several articles on that topic.

Ava Kian

Ava Kian, Student Assistant. Ava Kian is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in international relations, specializing in peace and security in the Middle East, along with a minor in political science. Her primary academic interests include environmental justice in the Middle East, political transformations in Western Europe and the United States during the 20th century, and the symbolic role of femininity in historical revolutionary moments. On campus, she is currently the director of public relations and marketing for the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She is excited to work with the CHSSP and support K-12 across her native state.


Vanessa Madrigal-Lauchland, Marchand Public Engagement Intern. Vanessa Madrigal-Lauchland is a history Ph.D. student of Latinx History and a first-generation scholar from the Central Valley in California. In addition to researching the school-to-prison pipeline in Stockton, she works to innovate new pathways toward equity and achievement—whether in the community or academia. Working to increase student retention and achievement, Vanessa developed the History Department’s first graduate student association as a key intervention to departmental programming, community mentorship, resource communication, and as an institutionalized mechanism to advocate for curricular change informed by Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her current projects at UC Davis include creating and institutionalizing resources for graduate students and postdoctoral professionals in the Graduate Studies Anti-Racism Working Group and developing the History Department’s first Grad Map, a tool aimed to demystify the hidden curriculum of graduate education. 

nancy mctygue

Nancy McTygue, Executive Director. A former high school history and government teacher, Nancy McTygue has served as Executive Director of the California History-Social Science Project since 2005. McTygue also served as the  Site Director for the CHSSP site at UC Davis from 2001 – 2007. Prior to her CHSSP appointments, she taught in the Vacaville school district for eleven years. From 2012-2016, she served as a member of the Instructional Quality Commission, and as Co-Chair (with Bill Honig) of the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee.  McTygue holds a BA in Political Science, a Clear Ryan Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Science and Government, and an MA in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, all from UC Davis.

beth slutsky

Beth Slutsky, Program Coordinator.  Beth Slutsky earned her Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), where she focused her study on the U.S. during the Cold War and Women’s history. Slutsky has teaching experience at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, and has worked extensively with teachers as part of the UC Davis CHSSP professional development team. She is one of the lead authors of California’s History-Social Science Framework, which guides K-12 history-social science instruction in the state. She is also author of Gendering Radicalism: Women and Communism in Twentieth-Century California along with several articles.

Jeremy Till

Jeremy Till, Administrative Manager Jeremy Till joined the California History-Social Science Project as Administrative Manager in September 2022. Prior to joining CHSSP, he served as Business and Graduate Operations Manager for the Blue Administrative Cluster in the College of Letters and Science and was previously the Graduate Program Coordinator for the History PhD program. He holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MA from UC Davis, both in Cultural Anthropology.

Tuyen Tran Portrait

Tuyen Tran, Assistant Director.  Tuyen Tran received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in 2007. Tran’s fields of interest are twentieth century United States history and Asian American history, particularly Southeast Asian American. She has taught at UC Berkeley, Saint Mary’s College, and Laney College. As a graduate student researcher and teacher coach, Tran worked with the UC Berkeley California History-Social Science Project from 2002 - 2006. In addition, Tran authored “The Newly Uprooted: Southeast Asians in California,” a fifteen lesson history unit for Oakland Unified School District. She joined the CHSSP Statewide Office in August 2008.

Dominique Williams

Dominique Williams, Ethnic Studies Coordinator. Dominique Williams is the Ethnic Studies Coordinator at the UC Davis History Project. Dominique taught at C.K. McClatchy and Luther Burbank High Schools in Sacramento City Unified School District. Dominique piloted Ethnic Studies in SCUSD shortly after supporting the student-led effort to implement Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement. With Ethnic Studies Now-Sacramento, she advocated for the passage of Assembly Bill 2016, which authorized the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. Dominique has served as a teacher leader for both the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project and the History Project at UC Davis. She has been an active educator in the Black Parallel School Board in Sacramento, Teachers for Social Justice, the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and the Education for Liberation Network. She has a BA in African American Studies and History, her secondary teaching credential, and is currently pursuing her Administrative Services Credential. During the shelter-in-place directive, our state office, the California History-Social Science Project featured her in a teacher spotlight. Read her teacher spotlight, here. Her writing is featured in Rethinking Ethnic Studies.