Researchers chose Bucknell alumni to investigate in project that will take them to Europe
In May, a research team led by Professor David Del Testa, history, with the help of Professor Adrian Mulligan, geography, and student researchers Amy Collins '18, Anthony Paolella '18, Julia Carita '20 and Julia Stevens '20, will spend 10 days in France and Belgium, retracing the experiences of a select few Bucknellians — many of whom were the same age as today's student researchers a century ago, when they fought, and some died. Each team member chose a Bucknell graduate to research and eventually chronicle for a chapter in a short book. Bucknell Magazine editor Sherri Kimmel will be along to report on the excursion for a future issue, and Dante Fresse '18 will film a short documentary.
Below are the team members and the alumni they chose to research, along with an explanation about why they chose this person from among the 715 in the database.
Anthony Paolella '18: George Wilson Potts, Class of 1913
He was one of the alumni who fought and died. I really wanted to learn what the soldiers experienced and find out where they were when they took their final rest.
Julia Carita '20: Thomas W. Agnew, Class of 1920
I chose Thomas W. Agnew because he served in the ambulance corps overseas, which I thought would be fascinating, since most people are not familiar with the role of American medics and ambulance drivers in World War I. Additionally, he won a French Croix de Guerre with a bronze star for his bravery during service.
Julia Stevens '20: Katherine Baker, Class of 1892
I chose Katherine Baker because I think her story is so interesting. Women generally did not get enough recognition for their efforts, but she was noticed. A memorial building in her name in France is a testament to that. I want to look into the woman who did something incredible enough to earn her recognition in a time when that was difficult to obtain.
Amy Collins '18: Charles O'Brien
He was heavily involved in the Bucknell community and there is a clear enough path to follow regarding his involvement in the war.
Professor Adrian Mulligan, geography: Joseph William Aleshoukas, Class of 1915
I noticed that we didn't have any air force among our adoptees. He was a pilot. His unit saw combat but was also involved in a lot of reconnaissance and mapping, which is something I'm especially interested, as a geographer. My personal reasons include the fact that I have fighter pilots (U.S. Marines and Air Force) in my wife's family, plus I grew up reading about about "Biggles," a fictional World War I British pilot!
Professor David Del Testa, history: Allen Eugene Lees, Class of 1920
I chose Allen Lees, because he served bravely in the ambulance corps, came home, but obviously brought the war home with him. Besides wanting to honor his service, I find the parallels with the past quite interesting and provocative.
Sherri Kimmel: Robert Preiskel, Class of 1915
Preiskel's service work looks interesting. He was in the military police, intelligence bureau, and he was apparently Jewish, which would add a smidgen of diversity to the project. He died in the hospital at St. Nazaire, France, reportedly of disease.