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Undergraduate Spotlights


Carter Ellis Popkin

I arrived at Northwestern as a History Major and Theatre Major. I used to believe these passions were disparate. As I end my time here, I cannot help but see them as inextricably tied. Both give us stories that help us contextualize our world. History courses at Northwestern taught me about my parents’ lives and the larger trends they were caught up in. They taught me about the history of the land I occupy. And, they taught me how interconnected my own stories were with the rest of the world. 

However, the greatest gift I received from the department was the opportunity to pursue original research. From my Leopold Fellowship to my senior thesis, conducting research to craft my own narratives was a full-circle experience that let me apply the skills I developed throughout my academic journey. Under the invaluable guidance of Professor Grisinger and Professor Fitz, I examined how Judge Robert Bork’s scholarship transformed contemporary antitrust jurisprudence by centering economic considerations over social ones. In other words, how Robert Bork changed antitrust to allow businesses to grow larger and more rapidly. I cannot thank the department enough for this opportunity to craft the stories central to my interests and experiences.

After I graduate, I will be heading to Cambodia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant. For this opportunity, I must thank Professor Allen and Professor Macauley for introducing me to Cambodia’s history. Without them, I never would have pursued a Fulbright to Cambodia. After my year teaching English, I intend to pursue a JD and/or a Masters in Economic History to continue my study of the intersection and impact of law and economics. Wherever life takes me, I will carry the lessons and stories I learned from the Northwestern History Department.


Carter Popkin (he/him/his)

Northwestern University, Evanston IL | Class of 2024

Majors in History and Theatre



Joanna Hou 

The history major was the highlight of my experience at Northwestern. This department gave me some of my most meaningful experiences in college: It was here that I learned how to clarify my writing and craft deep arguments. I took classes on topics ranging from drag queens to refugees across diasporas, engaging with many authors and perspectives that shaped not only my work in the classroom but also the way I approach the real world. The lessons I learned from classes and my Leopold Fellowship influenced my senior thesis, which reconstructed the history of the Wages for Housework movement. The causes behind the socialist second-wave feminist movement’s demise in 1977 were largely underexplored in historical scholarship. My thesis argued the movement’s rigid theory, which grouped all women as one unwaged class, and its inflexible leadership, who backed away from talks about what a monetary wage would look like, prevented the movement from ever reaching mass mobilization. Conducting original research and learning to craft arguments through narrative form were new experiences for me, ones that pushed my history education to the next level. 

I’m honored that the department awarded my thesis the Grace Douglas Johnston Award, but would not have accomplished this without guidance from Professor Lauren Stokes, Professor Caitlin Fitz, and many other wonderful faculty. This summer, I’ll be working as an investigative intern with The Hechinger Report, covering national higher education. After that, I hope to enter into a reporting or research role before heading back to graduate school, either for a JD or a PhD in history. No matter what my future holds, I’m confident that my work as a history major here will stick with me for a lifetime. I hold nothing but gratitude for this department and the people in it. 


Joanna Hou (she/her/hers) 

Northwestern University, Evanston IL | Class of 2024

Majors in History and Journalism 

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