History Department Alumni

Alexander (Alec) Imel ’12 is currently an attorney at a civil litigation law firm in Newark, NJ.  After graduating from Lafayette magna cum laude with a double major in History and Philosophy, Alec received his J.D. from Columbia Law School.  Getting a history degree from Lafayette was an influential part of preparing him for law school and a career as a lawyer.  History helped hone many of the practical skills a lawyer (and law student) needs such as researching, reading voluminous materials, and writing clearly.  One of his favorite courses was on Piracy in Early American History, which he further developed into a research project on piracy and America’s legal development.  The vibrancy of the stories brought the law alive for Alec and further ignited his passion for his profession.  Lafayette’s history professors taught him how to understand and analyze a story, which Alec has found crucial to helping his clients achieve positive results in the courtroom.  Outside of the classroom, Lafayette’s history professors provided Alec with valuable mentoring.  In his own words, Alec said, “I could not have gotten where I am without the advice and guidance of my history professors.  Even today, they continue to support me as I progress in my career.”

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James Homsey, ’03 received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December 2017. James is a socio-political historian of modern Japan with training in the premodern and modern history of Japan, China, and the broader Asia-Pacific region. He is currently on the academic job market, and plans to pursue a career in academia. James first developed an interest in the history and culture of the Asia-Pacific region thanks to his advisor at Lafayette, Paul Barclay. Inspired by Barclay’s classes, James set off to Nagoya, Japan in 2005 to teach English. What he expected to be a year-long adventure turned into a four year experience. After developing his Japanese language abilities, James decided to apply to graduate school in 2009 to study  Japanese history. He landed in Madison, Wisconsin under the guidance of Louise Young, and has never looked back. James has returned to Japan several times since, including as a Fulbright Fellow, and now considers the country a second home. He says that his experience at Lafayette instilled in him a curiosity and ambition that have fueled him along the path of his young academic career. He will be sure to keep us posted regarding where his journey takes him next.

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George “Mason” Thomson ’16 is studying law at the University of Virginia. In addition to pursuing his newly acquired passion for the study of torts, Mason recently passed a test to become a Certified Application Counselor. He can now help the Charlottesville community make informed decisions about their health insurance through the Legal Aid Justice Center during open enrollment. Mason also reports that, despite the heavy workload, UVA is known for being a “fun” law school. He is currently a first baseman on his section’s softball team, to give one example of the fun to be had between bouts of study and volunteer work. At Lafayette, Mason completed an honors thesis in History and German under the direction of Bob Weiner, Margarete Lamb- Faffelberger, and DC Jackson, on the topic of German repatriation after the defeat in World War II. He says that “Identifying, understanding, and empathizing with different perspectives during my study of history has been invaluable for my experience at law school, there is no shortage of arguments to be read, and the skills I obtained in undergrad help me effectively synthesize these debates as I prepare for my exams.”

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Andrew J. B. Fagal ’07 is an assistant editor for The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University. In this position he transcribes, verifies, annotates, and indexes the third President’s vast correspondence for publication (https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/). After graduating from Lafayette College with a double major in Economics & Business and History (with honors in History), he received his Ph.D. in early American history at Binghamton University, State University of New York. At Lafayette, Andrew was a member of the mock trial team and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Although most of his history courses were in early modern Europe, Japan, and the ancient world, a brief reading on Jefferson’s 1808 export embargo piqued his interest and eventually led to a thesis supervised by D.C. Jackson. Lafayette’s content-heavy curriculum and demanding coursework left him well prepared for graduate school and his eventual career as a professional historian.  In addition to his published work in the Jefferson Papers, Andrew’s academic writings have appeared in Enterprise & Society, The New England Quarterly, and New York History. If you enjoy posts about early American history, you can follow him on Twitter @Andrew_Fagal.