Research Spotlight: History and Education’s Cassandra E. Virgin ☆

Cassandra Virgin on a trip to Bangalore, India

This past fall, Cassandra Virgin traded in her finance career at Goldman Sachs for a spot in the History and Education Master’s program.  “I hit the ground running.  I wanted to use the semester to find out if I wanted to go to law school or business school next, and TC provides that nexus of both policy-driven and social psychology courses.”

Virgin has found herself drawn to metropolitanism and equality, and her research examines urban history (an area of interest she discovered after taking Professor Bette Weneck’s class this fall).  She’s looking at residential development and public housing and the role of private versus public.  “In this mix, you have a certain type of unequal, uneven development.  I’ve done a case study analysis of Chicago…and next I want to direct my focus north.”  She’s got her eye on the suburbs of northern New Jersey and is starting with the “don’t go below the railroad tracks” mantra that was pervasive in her own town.  “Now I’m reflecting on that.  I knew different areas based on a separation, and there were separate schools.  They may not be de facto, but this residential segregation certainly happened.”

A Georgetown undergrad, Virgin cut her research teeth at the Library of Congress when Professor Richard Stites insisted she do her primary research in Greek.  “That class really challenged me as a scholar and it’s where my interest in pursuing this all the way came from,” she explains.  Now at TC, Virgin is looking to the work of TC Professor Ansley Erickson and Trinity Professor Jack Dougherty to fuel her own study.  “I’ve had really great guidance.  I’m ready to explore the new trends of where research is going.”