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Meet the Team

The Institute Team

headshot of Dr. Jason A. Higgins, wearing a blue blazer and purple shirt.

Director: Dr. Jason A. Higgins is a postdoctoral associate in digital humanities and oral history at Virginia Tech, jointly affiliated with the Center for Humanities, Virginia Tech Publishing, and the Department of History. He earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying Modern U.S., Global, and African American History and specializing in the Vietnam War, trauma, and veterans. He has a graduate certificate in Public History and a Master’s in English literature. Since 2011, he has interviewed over 100 veterans of U.S. wars, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His research focuses on veterans in the criminal justice system, people with disabilities, and survivors of military-related trauma. He is the co-editor of Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History, published in UMass Press’ “Veterans” series. His next book, Stars, Bars & Stripes: Veterans in the Age of Mass Incarceration (forthcoming 2023) traces the history of veterans in the criminal justice system from the Vietnam War to the Afghanistan War. Dr. Higgins has also led numerous oral history training workshops and developed open access training modules designed to train students to do oral history projects ethically and responsibly. At Virginia Tech, he teaches the Vietnam War, Oral History, and African American History since 1865, and his students have completed oral history interviews as final research projects. In the Spring of 2022, his students completed over 30 oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans in collaboration with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. As a public historian, Higgins emphasizes the great importance of building relationships with community partners and employing oral history to educate and bridge the divide between civilians and veterans.

photograph of Dr. Jim Hill, wearing blue blazer and blue shirt and tie.

K-12 leader: Dr. Jim Hill is currently an English teacher at Montgomery County Public Schools, VA and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Dr. Hill will advise the institute on K-12 curriculum, help plan workshops for participants, and help with outreach initiatives to attract K-12 participants. Among the team, he has the most firsthand knowledge of working in a K-12 setting, so he will provide insights into developing lesson plans, creatively enhancing the standard curriculum, and helping teachers plan for the various challenges they may face in putting these concepts into practice. 

portrait of Dr. Jim Dubinksy, wearing blazer and white button up shirt, standing outside at Virginia Tech campus.

Co-director: Dr. Jim Dubinsky is a retired lieutenant colonel, an Associate Professor of English, and the co-founder of Veterans in Society at Virginia Tech. In 2016, he directed a NEH Institute for Higher Education on Veterans Studies, and he is currently teaching a NEH-sponsored Clemente Veterans Initiative course. He brings special expertise in technical writing, literature, and poetry written by veterans, the perspective of a career military officer, and vast experience as a leader in Veterans Studies. As co-director, his primary responsibilities will include recruitment and planning, facilitating roundtable discussions, providing special insights on working with veteran communities, and serving as a resident senior scholar of Veterans Studies and literature.

portrait of Dr. Trevor Stewart, wearing a brown blazer.

Co-director: Dr. Trevor Stewart is a Marine Corps veteran and Associate Professor of Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Stewart will serve as our pedagogical expert and English education specialist. He has vast experience in training teachers to enter the K-12 field, so his insights will be especially helpful in curriculum design, developing workshops for the teachers, and applying Veterans Studies and oral history in K-12 classroom settings. Dr. Stewart’s scholarship emphasizes the importance of making creativity a central element of the learning process and exploring the intersection between language and culture. He is interested in supporting K-12 teachers’ abilities to explore the experiences of veterans and their families with their students. As a former National Writing Project Fellow, Dr. Stewart sees writing and oral history as key avenues for helping teachers, students, and communities explore their lived experiences in K-12 classrooms.

Visiting Scholars

Dr. Mariana Grohowski, photograph taken inside, wearing black.

Dr. Mariana Grohowski is a Core Faculty Member at Sofia University and Adjunct Lecturer of Veterans Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is also the founder and Editor in Chief of the interdisciplinary, open-access Journal of Veterans Studies. The goals of the journal are to sustain international research in Veterans Studies, facilitate interdisciplinary research collaborations, and narrow gaps between cultures, institutions, experiences, knowledge, and understanding. Dr. Grohowski’s research focuses on under- and mis-represented populations, specifically marginalized communities in the U.S. military. She engages questions of gender and the U.S. military, accessibility, and mental illness. Dr. Grohowski is also the founder of the Veterans Studies Association, a scholarly Michigan nonprofit organization that encourages research of the interactions between veteran communities and civilian society. Dr. Grohowski will participate in a roundtable discussion on Veterans Studies, participate in a question-and-answer session, and meet with educators individually in the collaboration room as a publishing consultant.

Dr. Qwynn Galloway-Salazar, photograph taken outside, wearing blue jean vest and white shirt .

Dr. Qwynn Galloway-Salazar is the founder of In Their Honor, LLC and Co-Principal Investigator of the Brooklyn College Veterans History Project. From 2001-2006, she served in the United States Army. Her professional experience has spanned over 20 years of working with military and veteran communities in local, state, federal, and academic organizations, so she brings special insights into connecting with veterans and enabling them to speak about challenging experiences during and after military service. Dr. Galloway-Salazar received her Ph.D. from Walden University, specializing in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. In addition, she holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. She serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Suicidology, Minority Veterans of America, and the Advisory Board of the Veterans Studies Association. Her doctoral dissertation entitled: "Post-9/11 Women Veterans' Experiences Transitioning into the Civilian Workforce" shares the stories of women veterans and is permanently housed at the Military Women's Memorial in Arlington, VA. She also served as a qualitative researcher for the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), § 9104, Study on Unemployment Rate of Women Veterans Who Served on Active Duty in the Armed Forces after September 11, 2001. After being inspired by her late friend, Dr. Kate Hendricks-Thomas, Qwynn started the Legacy Collection, where she collects oral history interviews of women Veterans. Qwynn also serves as an End-of-Life Doula, Death Educator, and Qualitative Researcher. She is recognized as a thought leader in end-of-life care for veterans and their caregivers. Her recent work has been featured by the International End of Life Doula Association, End of Life University, the International Doulagivers Institute, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and the PsychArmor Institute. As a result of her dedication, she was recognized as the 2022 State of Georgia's Woman Veteran of the Year.

Dr. John M. Kinder is director of American Studies and Associate Professor of History at Oklahoma State University. A scholar of war and society, he is the author of Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and co-editor, with Jason A. Higgins, of Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History (University of Massachusetts Press, 2022). His current projects include The Ark and the Flood: How Zoos Survived World War II (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) and “They Are Dead, and Yet They Live”: Civil War Memories in a Polarized America (under contract with the University of Nebraska Press.) Dr. Kinder will be a featured visiting scholar, joining us in Blacksburg, to discuss veterans with disabilities and cultural representations of veterans. He will offer consultation services on aspects of disability and provide advice for those interested in teaching about veterans through the lens of American studies and pop culture. 

Dr. Kara Dixon Vuic, portrait, TCU purple background, wearing pink blouse.

Dr. Kara Dixon Vuic is the LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America at Texas Christian University and author of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines as well as Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War. Dr. Dixon Vuic will lead an on-site discussion in Washington D.C. at the Military Women’s Memorial, which has extensive oral history collections, with corresponding readings from her edited collection: The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military and her chapter in Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History. She has also agreed to serve as a consultant for the institute, providing advice, lessons, and suggestions for incorporating questions of gender and the experiences of women veterans in the classroom.