It takes talent, commitment, passion, hard work and a team effort to do what we do. Take the time to get to know our interviewers, videographers, schedulers and other staff members.

Our Staff

Vice President, Business & Operations

ZHU SUN

As the Vice President of Business & Operations, Zhu Sun manages the business and financial operations for The HistoryMakers. Her duties include developing and implementing the organization's policies and procedures, business management planning, grant and accounting management, financial analysis and forecasting. With over 5 years’ experience in financial management and accounting in higher education and government accounting, Sun received her B.S. degree in Electronic Commerce from Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, and her MSA and MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also a Registered Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois.

Special Assistant to the Executive Director

DIONTI DAVIS

As the Special Assistant to the Executive Director at The HistoryMakers, Dionti Davis supports the Founder and Executive Director of The HistoryMakers in an administrative capacity, conducts research and formulates presentations, and also drafts, evaluates, and proofreads historical analysis. He joined The HistoryMakers as a researcher and writer in 2014, with duties that included crafting biographical outlines and profiles on interview subjects from diverse sources. Davis has been with the organization for over a year, and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned his B.A. degree in History, and minored in African American studies.

Travel and Producing Coordinator

COURTNEY SHAREEF

As the Travel and Producing Coordinator for The HistoryMakers, Courtney Shareef is responsible for the logistics of the video oral history interviews that make up the archive. She works closely with the Founder and Executive Director and the Vice President of Business and Operation to identify history makers across the country. Courtney earned her B. A. in Print Journalism with a minor in Afro-American studies from Howard University and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago.

Interviewers

LARRY CROWE

Crowe has been steeped in African American arts and culture, and the humanities for over 30 years. With an undergraduate degree in history from Wright State University, he has held a variety of positions including theater manager; assistant editor for Third World Press, the largest black publisher in the United States; and manager of an African American bookstore. In his current position, he interviews HistoryMakers and completes research. As of July 2009, Crowe has conducted around 900 interviews for The HistoryMakers’ project.

Videographers

MATTHEW HICKEY

Hickey is very proud to have been a videographer for The HistoryMakers from the start. A 25-year industry veteran, Matthew Hickey produces, directs, edits, and shoots for video, still photography and feature films. His production experience includes live events, talk shows, travel shows, corporate training, documentaries and drama. His work has appeared on WTTW, C-SPAN, Fox Sports, The International Channel, ESPN, and many other broadcast and cable TV outlets. Hickey was formerly Production Manager for SCTN Teleproductions, The HistoryMakers, Take 1 Video Productions and the Athenaeum Theatre.

SCOTT STEARNS

Stearns has over twenty-five years of experience in the video production and multimedia industries. After attending the University of Denver, he went on to pursue a career in the production industry. Stearns served as Director of Production for over three years and played a key role in developing the Interviewer and Videographer Guidelines. Prior to joining The HistoryMakers, he ran his own video production and rental facility.

Processing Team Co-Managers

Treva Walsh

Treva Walsh co-manages the segmenting team, which is tasked with the digital archival processing of The HistoryMakers’ full collection. In this role, she is primarily responsible for editing and setting standards for the collection’s abstracts and other archival records. She also conducts biographical research in preparation for interviews, and developed The HistoryMakers’ social media presence. Treva graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, where she studied anthropology and philosophy. Her thesis explored issues of race and gender in relation to pest control practices in the City of Chicago.

AUBREY BUTTS

Aubrey co-manages the segmenting team, overseeing daily processing operations for The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Her primary responsibilities include setting metadata standards and creating research guides. In addition to contextualizing the HistoryMakers’ recollections, the interview metadata functions as a data set for future digital humanities projects. Aubrey also sets weekly processing schedules and works with the organization’s tech lead to resolve audiovisual issues. Aubrey is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northeastern University. Her subject specialties include 20th century American political history and the Presidential Library and Museum system.

Oral History Research

Mandella Younge

Mandella Younge is an Oral History Researcher with The HistoryMakers and a graduate of Northwestern University. She majored in History, with a geographic concentration in Africa and the Middle East. Her academic interests include African American history and critical race theory. At The HistoryMakers, she fact checks and formats videos in preparation for publishing. She is also a contributor to The HistoryMakers’ social media presence.

Kelsey Shaw

Kelsey Shaw has worked as a segmenter and oral history researcher since August 2016. She received a B.A. in English Literature and religion from East Texas Baptist University in 2013 and a M.A. in the Humanities with a focus in modernist literature from the University of Chicago in 2016. At The HistoryMakers, she adds metadata and formats stories of HistoryMaker interviews. She also works on standardizing and implementing video quality control.

Katrina Sivels

Katrina joined the segmenting team in July of 2016. She graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Creative Writing. Prior to working with The HistoryMakers, she worked as a freelance proofreader and copyeditor. She enjoys helping people tell their stories.

Alison Weck

Alison joined The HistoryMakers as an Oral History Researcher in April of 2016. She received her B.A. degree in French and Gender & Women’s Studies from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa in 2011. After teaching English for thirteen months at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, she returned to the United States to pursue her career interests in archival studies and oral history.

TOM MURPHY

Tom Murphy hails from North Haven, Connecticut, where he lived until moving to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago. He graduated with his B.A. degree in 2012. He has also worked in the City of Chicago as an actor, drama instructor and writer in the city’s theater industry, and is an ensemble member of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. He has worked as an Oral History Researcher for The HistoryMakers since April of 2016.

LAURA HERLOCHER

Laura joined The HistoryMakers in November of 2016 as an Oral History Researcher. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she earned her B.S. degree in History and minored in Art History. Currently, Laura is a master’s candidate in the Art History department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her master’s thesis focuses on mid-century interior design in the City of Chicago with a focus on Austrian-born designer, Marianne Willisch.

Regional Coordinators

AMY BILLINGSLEY | Washington D.C. / Mid-Atlantic Region

Descended from generations of civil rights activists, Billingsley earned her B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and her M.A. degree from the Ohio State University. While living in Berkeley, California, she was active in the political arena, supporting a number of candidates, including Congressman Ron Dellums. Billingsley later moved to Washington, D.C. and formed her own consulting company, and later co-founded Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. before serving as a consultant in the Clinton White House and serving as special assistant to Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman. Billingsley later returned to consulting, forming Amistad Associates before joining The HistoryMakers.

Volunteers

MARGARET RICHARDSON

Margaret has been a volunteer with the organization since its inception. She serves an indispensible role with the organization tending to the reception area and answering office inquires.

Consultants

DANIEL JOHNSON

Daniel joined The HistoryMakers in May of 2008 as a graduate assistant through a collaboration with The University of Illinois. After the collaboration dissolved Johnson was brought on full-time as an archival assistant overseeing the digitization of all of the documents in The HistoryMakers collection as well as 15,000 photographs and 3,000 Beta Cam SP videotapes. Johnson then became digital archivist in 2010 and took over the content management for The HistoryMakers’ website, The HistoryMakers databases and all new HistoryMaker interviews. In 2012 Daniel became the project archivist for the Gordon Hall and Grace Hoag Collection of Extremist and Dissenting Printed Propaganda at Brown University and is currently the Digital Preservation Librarian at the University of Iowa. Johnson earned his B.A. degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and his MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009.

AARON JOHNSON

As the Technology Partner for The HistoryMakers, he has hosted The HistoryMakers website. He has over 20 years of experience in web, data, and software technologies, and served as a Data Wrangler for Spotify in his most recent position.