History Success Stories

Mary Ann Irwin - DVC history faculty named as new editor of California History

Mary Ann IrwinUniversity of California Press is pleased to announce that Mary Ann Irwin, lecturer at California State University, East Bay (Hayward, California), and Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, California), has been chosen as the next editor of California History. Irwin will take over in January 2020 from California State University, Northridge’s Dr. Josh Sides, who has served as editor since 2014.
Says Rachel Lee of UC Press: “I am delighted to welcome Mary Ann as incoming editor. The state of California is a leader and an influencer. California History reflects on the lessons of the past to inform California’s current role in the West and globally. Mary Ann’s extensive knowledge of this field, combined with her deep editorial experience, will continue and sustain the excellent scholarship showcased in California History. I’m excited for the future of this journal!”
With a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley (1980) and a Masters in history from San Francisco State University (1995), Irwin has more than twenty years’ teaching experience. She taught her first California history course at DVC in 1996. Since then, she has taught at San Francisco State University and CSU East Bay. Beginning in January 2020, CSU East Bay will become the journal’s new home.
The Pacific Historical Review published Irwin’s first article, “‘Going About and Doing Good’: The Politics of Benevolence, Welfare, and Gender in San Francisco, 1850-1880” (1999), which won that year’s Coalition for Western Women’s History “Jensen-Miller” prize. The article was later included as a chapter in Women and Gender in the American West (University of New Mexico Press, 2004). Irwin was principal editor of this anthology, with co-editor James F. Brooks. Another of Irwin’s publications, “‘The Air is Becoming Full of War’: Jewish San Francisco and World War I,” appeared in PHR in 2005. A third article, “Sex, War, and Community Service: The Battle for San Francisco's Jewish Community Center,” appeared in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies in May 2011, and won that year’s National Coalition of Independent Scholars best article prize. Irwin penned two chapters in Women and Politics: California from the Gold Rush to the Great Depression (University of Nebraska Press, May 2011), one a historiography of political activism by women of color. She served as principal editor of the latter volume, with co-editors Robert W. Cherny and Ann Marie Wilson.
Irwin is co-author and principal editor of the perennially popular California history textbook Elusive Eden: A New History of California, the fifth edition of which Waveland Press will release in September 2019. Irwin is currently managing several writing projects, including a book-length history of San Francisco's Emanu-El Sisterhood for Personal Service.
She has presented her work at conferences of the Western Association of Women Historians, Organization of American Historians, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and Western History Association; has given talks to the American Association of University Women, Lehrhaus Judaica, and Kol Hadash; has served as consultant to several television programs, including SFGovTV2, NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?,” and The Travel Channel’s “Hidden City;” and is currently serving as project advisor for the California Museum’s newly reimagined exhibition “Remarkable California Women,” scheduled to open in March 2020.

Irwin is active in numerous professional organizations, including an ongoing role as co-Editor of the listserv H-California (February 2016-present); and the Organization of American Historians’ “Committee on the Status of Women in the Historical Profession” (2019-2022). Previously she served on the Council of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2016-2018); Secretary/Treasurer, California Conference of the American Association of University Professors (2014- 2020); Acting President, California Conference of the American Association of University Professors (2013- 2014); Editorial Board, Pacific Historical Review (2008-2010); and Steering Committee Chair, Coalition for Western Women's History (2001-2007).

Katelynn Cunningham - DVC history graduate

Katelynn Cunningham, young woman smiling, sitting on a ledge in Italy"I began taking classes at DVC after high school graduation in 2014 and finished in 2016 with my Associate in Arts for transfer in History. When I first arrived at DVC I was surprised by how the professors, coaches, and other DVC staff were so invested in my success. I thought I would be lost in a sea of students, but every staff member I came in contact with made genuine efforts to get to know me, encourage me, and put me in contact with opportunities to help me achieve my goals.

I had several influential teachers at DVC who helped me make the most out of my time there. Professor Matthew Powell noticed my interest in his history class and gave me the opportunity to become a supplemental instructor for his course. Coach Cailin Mullins was continuously supportive of my academic goals and encouraged me to become an athletic peer tutor. Through both of these experiences I found an interest in teaching and a passion for helping other students. Professor John Corbally sparked my interest and inspired me to study European history. All three of these professors were instrumental in helping me through the application process when I was ready to transfer.

I am now attending John Cabot University, an American school located in Rome, Italy. At John Cabot University I have been given the unique opportunity to study European history up close and personal. I am able to walk past places of historical significance each day on my way to and from class. Currently, I am on track to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in History in May 2018. After graduation, I plan to apply to graduate programs in northern Europe to narrow my focus of study and prepare for a career in education or archaeology.

My time at DVC was instrumental in preparing me for the rest of my college education. It helped me gain independence and confidence in my ability to adapt when obstacles threaten to throw me off track. I also learned personal responsible to make the most out of my education, but that asking for help is one of the simplest ways to open doors to new opportunities."