Brianna Lafoon


Advisor: William J. Reese
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Brianna Lafoon headshot


I study US education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Specifically, my research focuses on the intersection of progressive education reforms, mass school system-building, and American imperialism at the turn of the 20th century. My dissertation examines the American schooling initiatives in Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the first two decades of the 20th century and how educational ideas and practices from these colonies returned and were adopted in schools back in the US and across the globe.


M.A., – City College of New York
B.A., – University of Missouri-Columbia


  • U.S./North American History

M.A. Title

  • “Testing Grounds: Progressive Era Schooling Experimentation in the Philippines and Beyond”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Island Chains: The US Imperial Schooling Web in the Early 20th Century”

Selected Awards

  • Graduate School Dissertator Fellowship (Fall 2019-Spring 2020)
  • Innovations in Teaching TA Award (May 2019)
  • Harvey Goldberg Center Summer Support Scholarship (June 2018)
  • Early Excellence in Teaching Award (May 2017)
  • Barbara Brooks Award for an Outstanding Paper in East Asian History for “Benevolent Control: American Educational System Building in the Philippines.”(April 2015)
  • Sydney and Helen Jacoff Scholarship (April 2015)
  • Sidney Pomeranz Award for Outstanding Essay on Urban History for “Education for All: Motivations Behind Compulsory Education in New York, 1867-1874.” (April 2014)

Professional Affiliations

  • History of Education Society

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 102 – U.S. History from the Civil War to the Present
  • History 160 – Asian American Movement and Dislocation
  • History 161 – Asian American Citizenship and Belonging
  • History 460 – American Environmental History

Courses Taught as Instructor

  • EPS/History 412 – History of American Education