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Meet the New Faculty: Ashley Greene, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Dr. Ashley Greene, Keene State's new HGS assistant professor
Dr. Ashley Greene, Keene State's new HGS assistant professor

It didn’t take long for Ashley Greene to realize the passion Keene State Holocaust and Genocide studies majors have for learning. “On my very first day of office hours – which I never had anyone attend – I had two students,” said Greene, who joined the department this fall as an assistant professor. “They bring such a diverse set of interests and experiences to the table and are really eager to learn and take a personal stake in their education.”

Greene can certainly relate to her current students’ fervent desire to learn a field that demands a high level of sensitivity and keen awareness of the complexity of the subject matter.

Born and raised in Naples, Florida, Greene, who was home schooled, got an early history lesson when at the age of 16 she was asked by her grandmother to write a report on places she wanted to visit during a trip to Italy. Her lessons continued as an undergraduate studying history and peace studies at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, when she spent a semester-long internship in Uganda helping to connect orphaned children to their sponsors. She would later spend a year teaching English in Tanzania, an experience that made her appreciate the privilege of learning.

Greene was one of the first students to enroll in a new PhD program at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she received the Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award, an honor that helped reinforce her desire to teach. “Teaching has always been the drive for me,” she said. “It’s where I see myself making the biggest difference in the world. That’s why I’m so interested in genocide education and how we teach the violent past.”

Struck by the feeling of helplessness and trying to figure out how one individual can make an impact in such an enormous problem, Greene theorized that teaching provided her the opportunity to make the most impact. “If a handful of my students go on to be more cognizant of the issues surrounding genocide and mass violence in their chosen careers or field, then perhaps I’ve done something or been a part of something that is much bigger than myself,” she added. “And can you imagine if any of them become a senator or an ambassador?”

Drawn to Keene State by its nationally known Holocaust and Genocide studies major and renown faculty, Greene looks forward to the opportunity of further exploration into the subject this fall by delving into topics including genocide and human trafficking in Africa, and Peace Studies. “Peace studies is the one I’m looking forward to the most this semester,” said Greene. “It’s a subject students can really explore for career options as practitioners, activists, and scholars.”

“I’m excited to see where the Holocaust and Genocide studies major goes from here,” she added. “I think it’s growing and it’s expanding in such an exciting way.”

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