Project Staff and Presenting Scholars

Project Staff

Franny Kent
Institute Co-Director
Vice President, Education
Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center at the Museum of the City of New York
Franny Kent came to the Museum of the City of New York in 2004 with extensive experience in museum education. Kent received an MS in Education with a specialty in Museum Leadership from the Bank Street College of Education, and a BA in Anthropology from Queens College of CUNY.  Prior to her work at the City Museum, she worked in the education departments of the Jewish Children’s Learning Lab, the Morgan Library, and the American Museum of Natural History. In 2012, The School Art League awarded Kent the Charles Marshall Robertson Memorial Prize, given annually to an educator who has made a significant contribution to students in the New York City public schools.


Emily Potter-Ndiaye
Institute Co-director
Director of Education, Brooklyn Historical Society
Emily Potter-Ndiaye is Director of Education at BHS, where she oversees robust programming, serving over 15,000 students and teachers annually with an emphasis on student-as-curator/researcher projects and providing teachers with access to unique primary sources and new historical scholarship. Potter-Ndiaye received an M.A. in Museum Studies from N.Y.U. and a B.A. in History from Macalester College. Prior to her work at BHS, she led education programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, the New-York Historical Society, and Institution Marc Perrot in Dakar, Senegal.


E.Y. Zipris
Assistant Director of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center at the Museum of the City of New York
Ms. Zipris develops and leads professional development programs, creates exhibition-based material for classroom use, and oversees a staff of part-time Museum Scholars who lead Adult Group Tours. She has an EdM in Art Education and Museum Studies from Teachers College and an MA in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University. She received her BA in English Literature from Yeshiva University.


Shirley Brown Alleyne
Manager of Teaching and Learning, Brooklyn Historical Society
Currently, the Manager of Teaching and Learning at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Shirley Brown Alleyne loves history and finding new ways to teach all subjects using history. Ms. Brown Alleyne taught Education at Medgar Evers College and Museum Management at Fashion Institute of Technology. Previously, she was the Director of Education for A C Gilbert’s Discovery Village in Salem, Oregon and for the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn, NY. Shirley has a MSED from Bank Street College, and a B.S. in Secondary Education from Niagara University.


Alex Tronolone
Manager of Teaching & Learning, Grades 6-12+, Brooklyn Historical Society
Alex Tronolone is Manager of Teaching & Learning for grades 6-12+ at Brooklyn Historical Society, where he oversees school programs, curricula, marketing, and reporting. A proud graduate of NYC public schools, he earned his BA in History from New York University and his MSed in Adolescent Special Education from Long Island University.


Julie Golia
Director of Public History, Brooklyn Historical Society
Julie Golia is the Director of Public History at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). She is the co-founder and editor of, a robust educational website that brings innovative teaching exercises and articles on pedagogy to a national audience. Golia has curated several major exhibitions at BHS, most recently Waterfront an innovative permanent exhibition opening January, 2018 in BHS’s new satellite museum in DUMBO.


Sarah Seidman
Puffin Foundation Curator of Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York
Sarah Seidman, Ph.D., is the Puffin Foundation Curator of Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York. Dr. Seidman is currently curating new content for the ongoing exhibition Activist New York, which examines nearly 400 years of New York City history. She also works on related programming exploring activism past and present.



Deborah Gray White
Lead Scholar
Deborah Gray White, Ph.D., Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University, will serve as the lead project scholar. She is the author of Ar’n’t I A Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1985, 1999), Too Heavy A Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999), Let My People Go: African American 1800-1865 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) and co-author of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013).


Julie Gallagher
Presenting Scholar
Julie Gallagher, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History at Penn State Brandywine and author of Black Women and Politics in New York City (University of Illinois Press, 2012).


Wanda Hendricks
Presenting Scholar
Wanda Hendricks, Ph.D., is Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and the author of Fannie Barrier Williams: Crossing The Borders of Region and Race (University of Illinois Press, 2014).


Martha S. Jones
Presenting Scholar

Martha S. Jones is Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University where she teaches the history of African Americans, race, and law. Her books include All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America, and Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.


Manisha Sinha
Presenting Scholar
Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. Her recent book The Slave’s Cause has been reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe among other newspapers and journals. It was featured as the Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000), recently named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico. She received the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award as well as the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest faculty honor, from the University of Massachusetts, where she taught for over twenty years. She has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post and appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014. She was an adviser and on-screen expert for the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, The Abolitionists (2013), which is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Created Equal film series.


Judith Wellman
Presenting Scholar
Judith Wellman, Ph.D., is author of The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Beginning of the Women’s Rights Movement (University of Illinois, 2004).


Prithi Kanakamedala
Presenting Scholar
Prithi Kanakamedala is an Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. As a Public Historian she has worked for Place Matters, Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center, and Irondale Ensemble Project. She curated Brooklyn Abolitionists which can be currently seen at the Brooklyn Historical Society and served as Historian for the larger public history project entitled In Pursuit of Freedom examining Brooklyn’s nineteenth century anti-slavery movement. Prithi holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex and is originally from Liverpool, England.