Planning, Development and Preservation


Class of 2015

Claire Achtyl

Claire Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design, University at Buffalo

I grew up outside of Rochester, New York with two parents that were very much involved in the health care system as Nurse Practitioners.. so I knew exactly what field I did not want to go into. I had a broad range of interests in high school, and it wasn’t until I went to Belgium and France when I was 16 that I figured out I wanted to do something architecture related. I went to University at Buffalo as an Architecture major and it didn’t take long to figure out that I was out of place. My peers had dreams of designing the next skyscraper or museum and I just said, “you see that 150 year old building over there? I want to restore that.” So I switched my major to Environmental Design after a year in Architecture. I loved Urban Planning and getting the broader focus of cities and how they grow and adapt to changing times or why they decline. In Urban Planning, I had the chance to focus on Historic Preservation as a sector of planning in some of my classes. I didn’t have the chance to take a class in Historic Preservation until after I had to make decisions about grad school. I was “that girl” who went up to the professor after class and told her I was going for my Masters in Historic Preservation before I had even started the class. Luckily, it worked out and I was given the chance to go straight from my undergraduate studies to my graduate studies in beautiful Charleston. I had visited Charleston when I was younger and it just stuck with me that I loved this city, so what better place to study than the place that peaked my interest in architecture in the first place!

Amber Anderson

Amber Bachelor of Arts in Art, Bachelor of Arts in History, The College of Idaho I was born and raised in Ontario, Oregon and earned my undergraduate degree from The College of Idaho in 2010. While the term “historic preservation” didn’t cross my path until after college, I have always been interested in public history and the structures associated with it.  My favorite childhood memories involve exploring the remains of an abandoned mining town where my great grandfather once worked. Beginning with these early encounters, my fascination with the tangible connections to the past only continued to grow. 
After graduating from college, while beginning work in both office management and retail, I set out to find a field that incorporated both of my majors and had essentially decided to apply for architectural history graduate programs.  When a random internet search landed me on the website of a historic preservation program, I had one of those light bulb moments.  I knew I had to know more and, as a result, began volunteering with Preservation Idaho and interned for their Education Committee, attended a National Trust Conference, and participated in the University of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest Field School.  Though I never saw it coming, two years later I couldn’t be happier to be studying in such a preservation minded city as Charleston.  While my post-graduation plans are almost entirely open at this point, I currently see myself most drawn to the documentation aspect of preservation.

Shannon Devlin


Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Pennsylvania State University

My desire to attend Graduate School for Historic Preservation sprung forth from a love for awe-inspiring architecture, as well as from my college career.  However, figuring out that’s what I wanted to do wasn’t as easy as I just made it sound!  I grew up in State College, Pennsylvania; always described as “where Penn State is” since not many people know the town away from Penn State. 
I graduated from Penn State in December of 2011 with a degree in Art History; but when I started I had no idea what I wanted to study.  I knew I loved old buildings – the architecture as well as the history – but I never realized I could actually pursue that as a career path.  I stumbled upon an Architectural Survey class in the Art History department my second semester and I was hooked.  I love the symmetry and beauty of Renaissance art and architecture, so that was my focus, but I still did not want to do Art History as a career.  And then one day it dawned on me that I could do Historic Preservation as a career.  I could work with those old buildings I love!  After my realization, I began to tailor my remaining semester to preservation.  I interned with the Centre County Historical Society (CCHS) where I accessioned and catalogued architectural drawings of a local architect.  Also that semester I took a hands-on class in 19th century Pennsylvania architecture and restoration where I was able to help restore a log house in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, and explore many of the architectural gems in the area.  Restoring that log house, exploring Pennsylvania architecture, and working with the CCHS archives, made me realize, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I wanted to do that in some facet or another for the rest of my life.              
As a final project in the restoration class Professor Dick Pencek and the Art History Department co-sponsored a trip to Charleston to give me the opportunity to research southern architecture, and that was when I knew I wanted to attend graduate school here. I fell in love with Charleston and am so excited to be able to spend my next two years here!   

Jackie Don


Bachelor of Science in Archaeological Science, Pennsylvania State University

In fifth grade, I was assigned a research project to find information on anything that fascinated me and to share with the class. While my friends were reading about dolphins and Care Bears, I was researching the Seven Wonders of the Ancient and Modern world.  Many blank stares and some awkward clapping later, I realized my interest in history and monumental architecture was fairly unique. This discovery sent me on a path towards Archaeology. 
I decided to attend Penn State University because it has one of the only archaeological programs separate from Anthropology in the United States. My love of Nittany nation soon followed. While studying at Penn State, I took the opportunity to go on a field school to Mendes, Egypt. The artifacts we found were amazing but I also really enjoyed my assigned mission: to find the western wall of a small temple to a Fish goddess.
Fast forward a couple years to graduation in May 2012. I decided to take a year to get some field experience working as an archaeologist in Cultural Resource Management. For the past year, I have worked on digs throughout the Midwest and North Dakota. As much as I love archaeology, digging along pipelines with no goal or purpose was not exactly the path I wanted to continue on. Always knowing I wanted to go back to school as soon as possible, I sent most my applications to Archaeology Ph.D. programs. While applying and looking at my favorite sites and geographical areas, I realized how much I loved the ancient or historic built environment. Fifth grade me had known especially with all the trips to Williamsburg I had begged my parents to go on much to the dismay of my siblings. But my 22 year old self had forgotten.
From here I started looking into historic preservation and found the Clemson/Charleston program. I had visited Charleston twice before and had instantly admired the preserved town feel. There was no better place I could think of to pursue my interests in preservation. I hope to combine my passion for archaeology and historic preservation in work with house museums and recreated towns like Williamsburg.

Alison Dunleavy


Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

I have always loved old things. I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, learning about history and art from my frequent childhood trips to the many museums and theaters in Chicago (the Field Museum is my favorite, I love the way it smells). My first semester at SIU was spent hand drafting in the architecture department where I realized I didn’t want to draw straight lines all day and promptly switched my major to my real love, ceramics. I had always been interested in early renaissance and medieval art, and after my first medieval art history class, I was hooked. I studied for a semester in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, where I was surrounded by all of the things I had seen in my art history books. Walking through the streets of Florence every day forced me to look at remnants of the past and to consider how they influenced the future of the city. It was truly an amazing experience.
After graduation, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I loved working with my hands and making art, but I was also interested in the scholastic rigors of art history. I took a job as a picture framer at a local art supply/framing store in Chicago where I learned about conservation framing. The combination of the hands on work and the scientific aspect of conservation, along with my experiences in Florence led me to explore historic preservation. My art installations had focused on the way people interact with a space; studying the history of people’s interactions with buildings is an aspect of preservation that fascinates me. I hope to learn much more about the roles that people played in shaping a building’s use while here in Charleston.

Katie Dykens


Bachelor of Arts in Art History - Public Art and Architectural Culture, University of San Diego

I have lived in many places: most recently San Diego, but I have also spent time in Iowa and Michigan. As a high school student and even later in college I had wide-ranging interests, from biology to history to art and literature, but eventually decided on pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Art History with an emphasis in Public Art and Architectural Culture at the University of San Diego.  I have had a variety of jobs, ranging from working at the San Diego Natural History Museum to the City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department, where I conducted legislative research and analysis in sustainability issues.
My interests in historic preservation currently focus on vernacular architecture and the intersection between sustainability and preservation, but I hope to learn a great deal in the next two years which may result in an entirely new direction. I love the puzzle-solving aspects of historical research and embrace the idea of being able to connect with other intellectually curious people in my career. My hobbies include sewing from vintage patterns, hiking and maintaining salt-water aquaria, although I had to leave my tank behind when I left San Diego.  Living in Charleston is a brand-new experience for me and I am very excited about being able to explore such a historically provocative city.

Elizabeth Hannon


Bachelor of Arts in History, Cedar Crest College

I have been exposed to the wonders of the past for as long as I can remember.  Older
homes and buildings are a natural part of the landscape in the area of northeast Pennsylvania where I was raised.  As a young girl I loved exploring old structures.  Thinking about the history old buildings can tell has always fascinated me.  I became interested in continuing my graduate education in the field of historic preservation after careful career planning.  As an undergraduate I eagerly pursued a degree in American history.  However, it was not until my senior research seminar that I got the opportunity to marriage my love of historic architecture and history studies. 
While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I began working at the Asa Packer Mansion Museum, in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania,  as a historical interpreter and researcher.  Asa Packer was a highly esteemed industrialist, politician, philanthropist, and the founder of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Packer, along with prominent Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan, designed a grand Italianate villa in 1860.  The mansion, which still contains the original contents, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  Over the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to care for and clean the home’s furnishings and fixtures, as well as maintain it’s exterior structures.  I found this introduction to nineteenth century construction methods and building materials intriguing.  This was my first hands-on experience with preservation.  My work with the Packer Mansion solidified my desire to pursue a degree in historic preservation.
I am greatly looking forward to the educational opportunities that the Clemson/College of Charleston MSHP program has to offer.  Charleston’s rich history and dedication to preservation makes this a wonderful learning environment.  I see the city as a place where I can nurture and grow my preservation career over the next few years.

Lauren Hoopes


Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Pittsburgh

I hail from Downingtown, Pa, a suburb within an hour’s drive west of Philadelphia.  My Undergraduate work took me across Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa where I worked towards my Bachelor of Arts in History.  I was studying the World Wars believing I would go into teaching, but I managed to almost always slip an art history, photography, or architecture class in as an elective.  During my senior year at U of Pitt an opportunity finally presented itself to study abroad in London, a place I had dreamed about since, well, forever.  I was to study over there for my Fall Semester and return to finish up my Undergrad degree in the Spring Semester and then begin thinking about how to pursue my teaching career.  One of the best trips of my life, I discovered that when looking through my camera at the thousands of pictures I had taken, over three-quarters of them were of building ornamentation, gardens settled beneath sprawling castles, and history-laden brick work.  I had always been unsure about becoming a teacher and that trip assured me I wasn’t up to the task.  My love of photography, travel, and historic places was exponentially strengthened while studying abroad in London and during my last semester at the University of Pittsburgh I began my new journey towards Historic Preservation.  Academically speaking, I have been partially working towards this throughout my academic career, but my interests have been steering me towards this career for my whole 23 years.

Taylor Johnston Taylor Johnston

Bachelor of Arts in History and Comparative Literature, University of Georgia

As an individual always interested in the Arts and creative endeavors, it was initially hard for me to define what I wanted to do with myself when I graduated from the University of Georgia. With a Bachelor of Arts in History and Comparative Literature, I could certainly find some sort of academic path to take in the professional world; however, I wanted to be able to fuse my creative passions with some sort of practicality. That being said, the program in Historic Preservation at Clemson University and the College of Charleston has provided me a path with which to direct my slightly unusual interests—learning everything from historic materials and methods of construction to Historic Preservation Theory and its research methods, I couldn’t be excited for what’s to come next.  I’d like to apply what I’m learning to rehabilitation and restoration contracting, but then again, there are so many other fields of study, research, and application that the program could guide me until then! Outside of school, I have a jewelry business that keeps me pretty busy. Otherwise, I’m a football enthusiast (Go Dawgs!), an avid runner, a junk collector, and a lover of the culinary arts. If I don’t have my face in a book these days, you can probably find me in any of local eateries around town.

Frances (Frankie) Pinto


Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

When I was a child we lived many places, traveling for my Dad’s job, but no matter where we were we always taught that we were from South Carolina, Charleston specifically. It’s not a far stretch as my grandfather was born on Anson Street and my dad grew up west of the Ashley. Even when I lived elsewhere I spent every summer in the low country, often working downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to do after I finished my undergrad, working as an architect seemed like it would wrong Charleston somehow. I almost stumbled into Historic Preservation by accident. My brother tells people that “old stuff’ makes me happy. So why not study “old stuff” in a place I love? I am jealously protective of my Charleston, even with all its faults. My uncle says that once you take that first breath off the salt marshes, Charleston gets in your blood and never lets go; people that are from Charleston never leave and people that aren’t never stay. When not studying I volunteer with a local search and rescue group, I am a “victim” for training search dogs; otherwise I spend as much time as possible on the water; tubing, fishing, and kayaking.

Sarah Sanders


Bachelors of Arts in Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington

I have always considered myself lucky to have spent the entirety of my twenty-two years in the same 1850s farmhouse in Mansfield, Ohio. Growing up on a small farm in the Midwest was as you might expect: corn, cows, the county fair and drive your tractor to school day, and I loved every minute of it. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, I had the blessing of great parents who loved to pack my two sisters and me into the backseat of our car and we would traverse all over the country in pursuit of historic houses, museums, battlefields...you name it. I think it was this wide exposure at a young age that got me hooked on history. It was on one of these many trips that I ventured to the fair state of Virginia for the first time and visited James Madison's Montpelier during the early days of the house’s restoration. After seeing what was going on with the project, I knew that was what I wanted to do- I wanted to spend my life working with historic buildings.

After doing a bit of research during my senior year of high school, I discovered the field of historic preservation and I was enamored with the idea. I did some extensive digging into undergraduate programs and decided to head back to Virginia to pursue my Bachelors of Arts in Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. During my time as an undergrad I had some awesome opportunities to work two summers as a NCPE intern with the National Park Service, one summer in Jackson, Wyoming and the other in Omaha, Nebraska. I also had the chance the summer of my junior year to work for the British architectural firm Purcell in their cultural heritage sector. These experiences made me realize I was headed in the right direction- I love being out in the field and working with historic structures and that is something that I hope to continue to focus on during my time here in Charleston. So after graduation this past spring, I packed my bags and headed to the deep south to indulge my inner preservation nerd for two  more years while I work to complete my masters.

Justin Schwebler


Bachelor of Arts in History, Northern Kentucky University

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised across the river near Union, Kentucky. Even as a young child I had an early appreciation for history, running through Gunpowder Creek playing “Indians” with my sister and our friends, while always looking forward to family vacations in historical cities like Williamsburg, St. Augustine, and of course Charleston. My love of history grew throughout my early education, and also with the stories of my own family lineage. Fast-forwarding a few years I decided to follow my passion and seek a BA in History at Northern Kentucky University after a few fruitless years at the University of Louisville as an “undecided” major. This was a life changing period for me as I came to see history as more than just a reading hobby, but as an avenue I wanted to pursue for my career.
Struggling to find a way I could actively work in a historical field aside from teaching, I came across the MSHP program at Clemson/College of Charleston while randomly browsing their website and I was instantly hooked. I’m looking forward to working hands on in our historical built environment, taking on an active role in documenting and preserving history in a way I couldn’t have imagined even a short time ago. Outside of school I am still an obnoxious history buff, but mostly I enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking etc. I also have a fascination with the arts and dabble in painting and photography. I’m unsure of where the MSHP program will take me, but there are a great number of opportunities in the preservation field back home in Cincinnati, although I would also love a chance to work within the National Park system, especially out west.

Melanie Weston


Bachelor of Arts in History, Mills College

Born and raised in rural, central Maine, I’ve had a personal interest in historic preservation since childhood. Growing up in an early 19th century farmhouse, issues of rehabilitation and preservation were always on my mind. Throughout my life, I constantly found myself drawn to older buildings, but not knowing that preservation was even a field of study I could go into, I sought my undergraduate degree in history from Mills College in Oakland, California. With an emphasis in American history and a minor in anthropology, I graduated in 2012 and then took a year off from school. During that time, I dabbled in archaeology (an amateur passion of mine), completing a two week field school at a Paleo-Indian site in Northern New Hampshire, and worked at bakery located in an old bank building (adaptive reuse at its best). Besides history and archaeology, my other interests include archival science, country music, long road trips, cactus gardening, and furniture restoration. While I am unsure what area of historic preservation I would like to go into for the long haul, I am certain these next two years will help me to see where I will fit best.

Laura Lee Worrell


Bachelor of Science in Building Construction and Design, Virginia Tech

I grew up in Suffolk, Virginia, in an old farm house that my dad had remodeled in his twenties. I often explored neighboring farm houses and sheds that were left to the elements, curious about who had lived in them, where they had gone, and how they had built the structures. Most of my family vacations growing up consisted of visiting historic places such as Jamestown, Monticello, Charleston, and many more. When I was 16 years old I met a former Clemson/College of Charleston Historic Preservation graduate. That meeting with her was a defining moment for me when I realized I could do this, something I was fiercely passionate and curious about, for a living.
I attended Virginia Tech were I majored in Building Construction and Design and received a minor in Real Estate. I got to help build log cabins, work with amazing construction industry professionals, and learn from talented professors who were experts in various fields. With the knowledge and skills I have obtained from my undergraduate degree, I am ecstatic to begin my next chapter here at Clemson University/College of Charleston MSHP program.

Quan Zhou


Bachelors of Archaeology, Northwest University, China

I am a student who graduated from Northwest University, Xi'an City,Shaanxi Province China with a Bachelor of Archaeology. Xi’an, where I lived, is a city with strong cultural atmosphere and magnificent historical heritage. This city has many different museums like Xi'an Museum, Shaanxi History Museum, and so on. Since I was young, I always went to the museums and I was instilled the importance of cultural heritage by local people’s increasing awareness of heritage preservation in daily life.  I started my college life as an archaeology major student and my interest to historic preservation increased day by day by studying a wide variety of relevant disciplines. The learning of archaeology is an enjoyment and pursuing a career of historic preservation deeply rooted in my heart.
Charleston has its unique architectural environment and the web of family linkages associated with this historic architecture. I'm excited to study and live here!

I grew up in the upper Midwest, and with two civil engineers as parents, had the opportunity to visit a number of significant architectural and engineering-related sites during my childhood, always having a particular interest in ecclesiastical structures. After undergraduate graduation, I interned and then worked for the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, MN. In the fall of 2011, our site, the Jackson Street Roundhouse, was chosen for the National Trust’s ‘Partners in Preservation’ program, and I realized that I enjoyed my work revolving around this project more than anything else I was doing. After recognizing that I could further my education and knowledge of historic preservation by going back to school, I applied to a number of master degree programs, but Clemson, with its well-rounded approach, was the best fit for me.

My academic and professional interests are in architectural glass design and conservation, more specifically stained and leaded glass. I spent the summer of 2013 interning with Charleston Architectural Glass and gained a better understanding of both current as well as historic methods of production and design (and also realized how much I like working with my hands!). My master’s thesis will look at stained and leaded glass of the ecclesiastical and cemetery structures of Charleston as representative of the larger material culture of the city from approximately 1875-1930.

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