Meet The Team

Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy
Executive Director

Michael S. Bell, PhD (COL, USA, Ret.)

Mike Bell is the Executive Director of the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. Commissioned in Armor following graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point, he is a combat veteran, historian, and strategist who has served at every level from platoon through theater army, as well as with US Central Command, the Joint Staff, the West Point faculty, and the National Defense University. As a civilian faculty member at the National Defense University, he also served details to the Office of the Secretary of State and as a National Security Council Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President of the United States. He holds a MA and a PhD in American history from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MS in national security strategy from the National Defense University, where he was a distinguished graduate of the National War College. His monograph on the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was published by the Strategic Studies Institute. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award, Joint Staff Badge, and Combat Action Badge.

President & CEO Emeritus

Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD

Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, former historian and Vice Chancellor at the University of New Orleans (UNO), served as Founding President & CEO of The National WWII Museum. During a distinguished career at UNO, Mueller made his mark as a popular teacher, Dean, and Vice Chancellor. He played a lead role in creating UNO’s Metropolitan College and building new extension and distance learning programs, the university’s Conference Center, Center Austria and the International Summer School in Innsbruck, Austria, and founding the UNO Research and Technology Park. Mueller’s role as the Museum’s President & CEO Emeritus affords him time for research and for writing a history of the Museum and about other WWII topics. He continues to lead overseas WWII tours and speaks widely on the war experience, the American spirit, and nonprofit leadership. He also provides advice and support to the Museum’s top executives, working closely with the distinguished Presidential Counselors advisory group, and assists learning initiatives led by the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. His exceptional contributions to the preservation and interpretation of WWII history and his special contributions to public awareness of the D-Day landings in Normandy have resulted in numerous awards. In May 2016, the French government bestowed the Legion of Honor on Mueller and two national figures who have assisted the Museum since its founding, Tom Hanks and Tom Brokaw. Mueller has also been elected to the board of the National History Center in Washington, D.C., the public advocacy subsidiary of the American Historical Association.

Nick Mueller
Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian

John Curatola, PhD

John Curatola is the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. A Marine Corps officer of 22 years, he graduated from the University of Nebraska and is a veteran of Operation Provide Hope in Somalia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort. He holds master's degrees in both American and military history. With a PhD from the University of Kansas, John’s research focuses upon World War II, airpower, and the early Cold War period. Previously he taught history at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. His first book, Bigger Bombs for a Brighter Tomorrow, addressed the nature of the American atomic monopoly, and his latest, entitled Autumn of Our Discontent, assessed US national security policy development in 1950. Additionally, his works are available in compendium books, popular magazines, and academic journals with his many presentations available for viewing on CSPAN and YouTube.

Senior Historian

Mark Calhoun, PhD

Mark Calhoun earned his PhD in History from the University of Kansas in 2012 and is the author of General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (University Press of Kansas, 2015), the first comprehensive military life of General Lesley J. McNair. The book reveals previously unpublished details of McNair's 40-year career and assesses the impact of McNair’s views and actions on America's mobilization for and involvement in World War II. Mark's current research interests center on General William H. Simpson, commander of Ninth US Army, and the Ninth Army’s operations during the campaign in Northwest Europe from 1944–45. A career US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot and war planner, Calhoun retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2008, after which he served for 14 years as an associate professor on the faculty of the US Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth.

Research Historian

Jennifer Putnam, PhD

Jennifer Putnam is the Research Historian at The National WWII Museum's Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. She received her PhD in history from the University of London, where she studied prisoner graffiti in Nazi concentration camps and ghettos. Her research was supported by the Bonnart-Braunthal Trust and the Gerda Henkel Foundation and has been published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology. Prior to her PhD, Jennifer received an MPhil in linguistics from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in contemporary history and politics from the University of London. Jennifer is also a Conny Kristel Fellow with the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), a board member of the Art Deco Society UK, and a board member of the Challenging Research Network.

DPAA Research Partner Fellow

Erica Lansberg, Ddes

Erica Lansberg is The National WWII Museum DPAA Research Partner Fellow at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. She completed her doctorate degree summa cum laude at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, writing her dissertation about encounters between American soldiers and German children during the postwar occupation of Germany after WWII. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships from institutions including the German Historical Institute Washington, DC, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In addition, she served as an English teaching assistant at a school near Salzburg, Austria through Fulbright Austria. She completed her MA in American History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, in addition to a BA at Williams College, where she graduated magna cum laude, majoring in both History and Arabic Studies. She is also a Research Associate at the Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies in Munich. In addition to her passion for WWII-era history, she is enthusiastic about public history and has previously worked as a historic house tour guide in Washington, DC.

Erica Lansberg, PhD
Military Historian

Sean Scanlon, PhD

Sean Scanlon is a World War II Military Historian at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. He received his BA in History and Religious Studies from Stonehill College, and his MA and PhD in History from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. A specialist in 20th-century U.S. diplomatic, military, and political history, Dr. Scanlon has done research at six presidential libraries and is a member of both the American Jewish Historical Society and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Before coming to the National World War II Museum, Dr. Scanlon was a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the University of Mississippi, where he taught a wide range of undergraduate courses in Modern U.S. History. He is proud to honor his three grandparents who served during World War II, including Thomas S. Scanlon, Jr., who joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1971 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Sean Scanlon
Director of Conferences & Symposia

Jeremy Collins

Jeremy Collins joined The National WWII Museum in 2001 as an intern with the Collections & Exhibits Department while pursuing his history degree at the University of Missouri and soon after became a full-time staff member. In Collections & Exhibits, he immersed himself in the artifacts and stories from the Museum’s collection and was involved with many of the Museum’s special exhibitions, co-curating When Baseball Went to War. In 2008, he moved to the Travel & Conference Department and became involved with the travel program’s design, development and content while scouting, leading or manage tours all over the world, including the Philippines, the Mediterranean, England, and Northwest Europe. Collins currently oversees the creation, planning, marketing and execution of many of the Museum’s marquee public programs, including book launches, distinguished lectures, symposia, and the annual International Conference on World War II. As a member of the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, Collins provides public programming of the highest caliber to the Museum’s audience, both physical and digital.

Project Manager

Andrew Good

Andrew Good joined the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as Project Manager in the summer of 2022. Prior to joining the Institute team, he earned his Master of Arts in History from the University of New Orleans in May 2022. Good's experience includes supporting historical preservation, access, and inquiry at the Institute and elsewhere. He has been involved in chronicling veteran experiences with the Institute’s Historical Research Services, administrating an oral history collection of WWII Homefront “Rosies,” and even helping restore historical aircraft. All these experiences have kindled his personal research interests in historical causation, the American WWII Homefront, and demobilization.

Andrew Good Portrait
Conference and Programs Specialist

Connie Gentry

Connie is a native of Houma, Louisiana and a graduate of Nicholls State University. In May 2020, she received her MA in History from the University of New Orleans. Connie joined the Museum team in 2018, working in the President & CEO Emeritus Office until her recent switch to the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. In her time at the Museum, Connie helped manage past programs such as the Memory Wars Conference and the Annual Presidential Counselors Meeting. In her new role as Conference and Programs Specialist, Connie will continue to work on Museum public programs such as Meet the Author events, scholar workshops and the International Conference on WWII.

Historical Research Specialist

Rebecca Poole

Rebecca Poole is a native of Southeast Louisiana. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Public History from the University of New Orleans in Spring 2020.  Her research is focused on local 20th-century New Orleans history, vice, and gender and sexuality. During grad school, she joined the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as an intern assisting with the Institute’s Historical Research Services. In the Fall of 2020, she rejoined the Museum’s team in the Institutional Advancement’s Membership department, where she coordinated the daily services for members. She reunited with the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy in July 2022 as the Historical Research Specialist. In her current role, she manages the institute’s Historical Research Services, provides assistance to special research requests from the public, and conducts historical research on WWII related topics.

Digital Content Strategy Manager

Kevin Dupuy

Kevin Dupuy, an award-winning digital content producer, joined the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy in 2023 as the Digital Content Strategy Manager. During his decade-long stint in the television news industry, Dupuy's work at WWL-TV in New Orleans was recognized with six regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for digital coverage. In 2021, he was awarded the prestigious national award for “Best Digital Coverage” across all large-market television stations, highlighting his work with the station’s innovated pandemic data tracking project. Dupuy's significant reporting experience spans several major news events including historic flooding, Hurricane Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a dedicated husband and father of two boys and a graduate of Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

Distinguished Fellow

Robert Citino, PhD

Rob Citino is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published 10 books, including The Wehrmacht’s Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945; The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War,1943; Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942; and The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich. He has also published numerous articles covering World War II and 20th century military affairs. In 2021, he won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History for lifetime achievement in the field. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines such as World War II. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in history from Ohio State University and earned a MA and PhD from Indiana University. Citino enjoys close ties with the US military establishment and taught one year at the US Military Academy at West Point and two years at the US Army War College.

Institute Fellow

Stephanie Hinnershitz, PhD

Steph Hinnershitz joined the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as a Historian in June 2021. Before coming to The National WWII Museum, she held teaching positions at Valdosta State University in Georgia, Cleveland State University in Ohio, and the US Military Academy at West Point. She received her PhD in American History in 2013 from the University of Maryland and specializes in the history of the Home Front during World War II. She has published books and articles on Asian American history, including Race, Religion, and Civil Rights: Asian Students on the West Coast, 1900-1968 and A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South. Her most recent book, Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor during World War II, was recently published with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, West Point, the Social Science Research Council, the Library of Congress, and the US Army Heritage and Education Center, among others.

ASU WWII Studies Consultant

Jason Dawsey, PhD

Jason Dawsey joined The National WWII Museum in September 2017 as a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) Special Projects Historian and investigated what happened to hundreds of American POWs in German captivity whose remains were never recovered. Between 2019 and 2023, he worked in the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as a Research Historian. Dawsey received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013 and has taught world history and European history at Pearl River Community College, the University of Chicago, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. In the Institute, he examines the service records of WWII veterans and writes their biographies for family members, and regularly contributes to the Museum’s website and public programming on subjects such as the anti-Nazi resistance, the Holocaust, and the lives and careers of scholars who shaped our understanding of World War II. Beyond his research on World War II, Dawsey co-edited (with Günter Bischof and Bernhard Fetz) The Life and Work of Günther Anders: Émigré, Iconoclast, Philosopher, Man of Letters (Studien Verlag, 2015) and is the author of several articles and book chapters on the philosophical and political thought of Günther Anders.

Asness Fellow

Chris Rein, PhD

Dr. Chris Rein is the senior historian at Headquarters, U.S. Air Forces Europe/Air Forces Africa at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He earned his MA in history from LSU in 2001 and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas in 2011. He is the author or editor of seven books, including The North African Air Campaign: The U.S. Army Air Forces from El Alamein to Salerno (University Press of Kansas, 2012) and Mobilizing the South: The Thirty-First Infantry Division, Race, and World War II  (Alabama, 2022). A retired USAF lieutenant colonel, he has previously served as an associate professor of history at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, an associate professor at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, a research historian for the U.S. Army at the Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and as the managing editor of Air University Press at Maxwell.