Applied History Lab

Historical Methods, Enhanced Understanding, Better Public Policy

The Applied History Lab exists to improve public policy through the application of historical methods and enhanced contextual understanding of the challenges impacting the state of Rhode Island and Southern New England.


Dr. Rod Mather (Professor, Department of History)
Dr. Catherine DeCesare (Assistant Professor, Department of History)







Applied History Lab Fellows

  • Autumn Guillotte
  • Bridget Hall
  • Ryan Nadeau
  • Anna Snyder

Applied History Lab White Papers

Preparing for the Next Pandemic: U.S. and Rhode Island Pandemic Preparedness; Dennis Haggerty 

Leveling the Educational Playing Field: Parochial Schools and School Choice in Rhode Island; Madison Palmieri

A Call to Action: Addressing the Root Causes of American School Shootings; Bridget Clossick 

Location and Inequitable Education; Anna Snyder  

New Technology, Old Problem: Developing OER Policies to Provide Low-Cost Materials for Rhode Island’s Public Universities; Ryan Nadeau 


Recent Projects

  • A Walk Through Time

    The University of Rhode Island rests on ancestral land belonging to the Narragansett people. Remnants of their history are sprinkled around campus. Yet, how much do we know about the people who lived here first and their story? Directors of the Applied History Lab (Dr. DeCesare and Dr. Mather) and Professor of Archaeology Kristine Bovy have been working with members of the Narragansett Tribe , specifically Lorén Spears (pictured below), Director of the Tomaquag Museum, to create an undergraduate course on this topic. Subtopics of the course can change and cover a variety of other issues such as gender studies, and its implications on our campus and the land we reside on. Find the full article, “A Walk Through Time” by MaryBeth Reilly-McGreen here 

    Lorén Spears ’89, Hon. ’17, director of the Tomaquag Museum, beside a monolith outside the URI library. This monolith represents the only visible acknowledgement at URI of the Narragansett Nation.