Meet the Team

Project Leaders

Lily Geismer

Lily Geismer is an associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College. Her research and teaching focuses on 20th century political and urban history in the United States. In 2018, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation and a Frederick Burkhardt Fellow by the American Council for Learned Societies. She has also received fellowships from the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. She received a PhD from the University of Michigan and a BA from Brown University. 

Tamara Venit-Shelton

Tamara Venit-Shelton is an associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College. She received a PhD in history from Stanford University, and was an assistant professor of history and environmental studies at Reed College prior to her current position. She studies and teaches the social history of the American West, with a particular focus on race, labor, and the environment. Her opinion pieces on the history of medicine and teaching historical empathy have appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2017, she was named a Frederick Burkhardt Fellow by the American Council for Learned Societies.

Becca Zimmerman

Becca Zimmerman (’18) was a dual PPE-History major at CMC and is thrilled to be supporting the COVID19@CMC project. After completing her senior thesis with support from the Stasneck Oral History fellowship, Becca taught high school history for two years at the International School Nido de Aguilas in Santiago, Chile. Becca is now a history teacher at Riverdale Country School in New York City and pursuing a Master’s in education at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Research Fellows

Lia Harel '23

Lia Harel ’23 is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, majoring in Environment, Economics, and Politics. Previously, she has worked on a number of local, state, and national level climate justice campaigns. She looks forward to continuing to create positive change after CMC through legal studies, public policy, and storytelling.

Kylie Harrison '20

Kylie Harrison ’20 graduated with honors in History and a double major in History and Government. She is interested in the lived experience of history and is excited to part of the team preserving CMC’s collective memory of the pandemic. She is also an avid reader, artist, and superfan of her two puppies.

Daniel Hayon '21

My name is Daniel Hayon and I am majoring in International Relations and Psychology. I am an individual of many passions including fashion, politics, and storytelling, and that’s a big reason why I wanted to be part of the COVID-19@CMC project. I wanted to both share my experience as well as document the stories of the Claremont McKenna community for generations to come.

Elizabeth Hernandez '23

Elizabeth Hernandez is a rising sophomore born and raised in the border of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She plans to major in Environmental Analysis and Chicanx/ Latinx Studies. She enjoys watching Spanish soap operas with her mother, reading National Geographic magazines, and exploring environmental racism within the Latinx community.

Eda Garcia '22

Eda is a first-generation college student who was born and raised in Houston, TX. As a Government major, she hopes to address the different social inequities that hinder youth from reaching their fullest potential

Lauren Leadbetter '23

Lauren Leadbetter ’23 is from Wasilla, Alaska, and is planning on majoring in History. Special interests include technology, and design, with strong emphasis on organization and creativity. Lauren spends her free time listening to podcasts and exploring the outdoors.

Annie Raines '22

My name is Annie, and I’m a junior at CMC pursuing a dual major in economics and history. I’m an avid fan of ancient middle eastern history, international finance, and long-distance running. After losing three beloved family members in New York City to COVID-19, I want to uncover the profound ways that COVID-19 has affected all of us around the world.

Yaqin Zhang '23

My name is Yaqin, and I am a sophomore at CMC. I grew up in China and Singapore. My major is philosophy, and I am also doing a sequence in Computer Science. I am also a huge fan of stand-up comedy, sit-com, Japanese anime and all types of sports.