Meet Our FOUR New Graduate Assistants

This year the Albert Gore Research Center welcomed four new graduate assistants from the Public History department. These graduate assistants are vital to the operation of our archive. They conduct everyday tasks, like processing, reference, exhibit development, digitization, and preservation. The Gore Center also provides them with a laboratory learning environment, so they can prepare themselves for successful careers as future public historians and archivists. Learn more about each of these wonderful students below!

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Front to back: Marley Abbott, Quinlan Odom, Casey Swank, and Alissa Kane.

Marley Abbott was born in Nashville, but moved around a lot growing up. She lived overseas and attended TEN different schools before she graduated high school! She received her B.A. in History with a minor in English Literature from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Due to her travels, Marley visited many museums and historic sites during her youth, which led her to study public history here at MTSU. “Being able to surround myself with real, physical artifacts and places…is what made me realize that working in a museum would be a dream come true.” She is ready to share her passion for history with the world! Marley’s currently researching and curating an upcoming exhibit on Albert Gore, Sr.

If she could interview any historical figure it would be Oscar Wilde, her favorite writer. After reading Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, she would ask him what he would advise the youth of today given the chance (bonus points if he did it in the form of one of his famous quips). She also desperately wants to know if the wallpaper was really that ugly?


Quinlan Odom was born in Virginia, but spent most of her childhood in Florida. She received her undergraduate degree in History from MTSU. This is her second year as a master’s student in public history, and she comes to the field interested in bettering the lives of others. She said working at the Gore Center has shown her how archival work can be vital to communities. “I love the idea of archives being centers for community action and empowerment.” She is currently developing an exhibit display for MTSU’s homecoming festivities, so be on the look out for that this October!

Quinlan would love to interview Anne Boleyn, her problematic history fave, about the religious changes she experienced during her lifetime. What influenced her actions, considering her love for Henry VIII?


Casey Swank is from York, Pennsylvania and received her bachelor’s degree in social studies education from Millersville University in May 2015. She moved to Murfreesboro a year ago in order earn her master’s degree and pursue a career as an archivist. This past summer, Casey interned at Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in northeastern Tennessee where she processed the Sgt. Alvin C. York Papers and the Gracie L. York Papers, as well as gave guided interpretive tours of the York home. Upon graduating, she hopes to find a job as either a processing archivist or as an educational specialist for an archive.

If Casey could interview one historical figure, either living or dead, she would choose her favorite Beatle, George Harrison. Her #1 question would be “How did you manage to deal with such an extreme level of fame and yet live such a spiritual and private life after the breakup of the Beatles?”


Alissa Kane is originally from Frankenmuth, Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree in History with a minor in Public History from Saginaw Valley State University. The areas of public history that interest her most are collections management and curatorial work. Alissa is currently developing an exhibit for the Gore Center’s research room on MT Lambda. The student organization is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and they are the oldest LGBT+ higher education student organization in the state of Tennessee.

Alissa would like to interview Queen Elizabeth I, and she would ask, “How did it feel to be such a boss woman in a heavily patriarchal society?”


Now that you “know” our graduate assistants, feel free to stop by and say hi! Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see what our graduate assistants are up to during the academic year. We look forward to helping you research and preserve the past!

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