College of Liberal Arts

Social Science (M.S.)



Hugh Wiegel completed his undergraduate degree at Towson University in Psychology in 1996, and proceeded to begin the Social Science Master's Program in 2006. The program encouraged Hugh to pursue his interests of Racial Issues and Sources of Conflict in Africa. Mr. Wiegel travelled to Sierra Leone in 2008 to complete field research on their Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how the war had affected the general population. He then volunteered at the Osu Children's Home orphanage in Ghana. Exposed to the devastating effect of AIDS on Africa, and especially its children, Mr. Wiegel decided to focus his thesis on AIDS in Africa. His M.S. thesis, titled "Mbeki and AIDS: Apartheid, AIDS Dissidence and African Renaissance – Determining Factors in Governmental Policy," is on the reasons behind the controversial AIDS policies in South Africa.
            Hugh, later taught International Perspectives of Women in the Women's Studies department at Towson. He also travelled to Haiti to work on a school and incorporate Haitian women's experiences into his class. Hugh traveled to Nigeria in October of 2011 to work for approximately eight months. He will be training teachers and teaching other faculty and staff how to incorporate technology into their teaching. Upon his return, he hopes to work for USAID or a non-profit organization which focuses its efforts in Africa. He also hopes to teach again about Africa at the university level.

"Ubuntu ungamntu ngabanye abantu." (A person becomes a person through other people) - Xhosa saying


Britta Nelson completed the Social Science Master's Program in spring, 2010. Her M.S. thesis for the Global Analysis track, titled: "Assimilation Politics and Policies: the state of French Muslims within French society," received a scholarly research award from the Towson University Graduate School in spring, 2011. Currently, Britta is a PhD student in the Political Science department at West Virginia University, focusing on Comparative Politics, Policy, and International Relations. She also serves as a research assistant for a professor in the department during the academic year. In the summer of 2011, Britta taught a class on introduction to international relations; as well as, served as a graduate student mentor for the McNair Scholar Program.



Dennis Jutras was a part of the first cohort to enroll in the Social Science Master's Program, with a focus in Political Science, in the Fall of 2003. During his time in the program, Dennis collaborated with a small group of Towson students to archive, digitize, and create lesson plans based on the Paul Gantt Collection housed at Towson, which features primary source documents from Paul Gantt - one of the American prosecutors during the Nuremberg Trials. After receiving his M.S. in May of 2006, Dennis was able to focus his efforts on being the Social Sciences Department Chair, Twilight School Lead Teacher and AP Mentor Teacher at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. After completing a two year commitment as the Social Sciences Teacher Fellow for Baltimore City Public Schools (2009-2011), he now serves as the Coordinator of Curriculum and Assessment for Baltimore City Public Schools.

While he is no longer working in the classroom, Dennis continues to make himself available to assist AP Social Science teachers in the district in support of the district’s efforts to promote a college ready culture within our schools. Additionally, Dennis served as an AP US Government & Politics reader for the CollegeBoard during the past two years and continues to work with the Maryland Humanities Council in support of their National History Day programs. Dennis has received multiple awards for his role as a teacher and community advocate for education since completion of the SOSC program, including:

  • Maryland Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year 2009
  • ALA Collaborative School Library Award winner 2009
  • PBS National Teacher of Merit National History Day Finalist 2008
  • Maryland State History Day Teacher of the Year 2008
  • Fulbright-Hays Scholar – Ghana 2007
  • Rhode Island College Alum Honor Roll in History 2007
  • Baltimore City Teacher of the Year 2005-2006
  • Central Maryland History Day Teacher of the Year 2005, 2008 & 2009 

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats



Janet Kirsch graduated in May 2009 with her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Towson University, and proceeded to enroll in the Social Science Master's Program that same year. Janet completed the program in spring 2011; her M.S. thesis on: "Shining a Light on Campus Offenses: A Look at Student Offending and Victimization at Towson University." She presented her thesis at the "Education or Schools, Victimization" Roundtable in November at the 2011 American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting. Janet currently works at Johns Hopkins University as the Campus Programming Coordinator in the Student Life Office.



Jeff Beeson first graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, which positioned him for his first job as a legislative aide to Senator Barbara Mikulski. From there he moved on to positions within the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services as Special Assistant to the Secretary and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Adult Education. He came back to Towson to earn his Master's in Social Science in 2011, with an emphasis on issues related to offender incarceration. His thesis looked at the relationship between the religious participation of offenders and recidivism, a paper he was selected to present at the 2011 American Society of Criminologists Conference in Washington, DC.

The Social Science program offered an opportunity to reconnect with Higher Education, and Jeff once again returned to Towson professionally, as the Director of the Center for Professional Studies within the Division of Economic and Community Outreach at Towson University. He is responsible for Towson's professional certification courses and the administration of corporate and government grants and contracts.



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