Fall 2023 LEADR Staff

Five people are standing in a row and smiling at the camera. They are in front of a green sign.
Fall 2023 LEADR staff (from left): Aubree Marshall, A.L. McMichael, Gillian Macdonald, Dani Willcutt, and Ashley Cerku. Photo: Morgan Fox.

Gillian Macdonald, Interim Director
Gillian Macdonald is an early modern European historian. She specializes in political, migratory, and social history and has recently published on the interactions of spy networks during the Scottish Revolution and is continuing to work on her book manuscript and digital database project concerning the North Channel borderlands during the conflict. She holds a PhD in Transnational and Comparative History from Central Michigan University (CMU). She is member of Digital Humanities Core Faculty and did a postdoctoral study in Public History and Archives at the Clarke Historical Library. Email Gillian at macdo313 [at] msu [dot] edu.

Ashley Cerku, Graduate Assistant
Ashley Cerku is a Ph.D. student in Sociocultural Anthropology at Michigan State University. Her research investigates the semiotic landscape of downtown main street and how digital technologies can provide a more immersive and inclusive approach to heritage preservation. She holds a B.A. in English and Writing/Rhetoric and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Oakland University. She is also the Manager of the Oakland University Writing Center and has taught Culture through Film at Oakland University. Email Ashley Cerku at cerkuash [at] msu [dot] edu.

Aubree Marshall, Graduate Assistant
Aubree Marshall is a Ph.D. student in the Anthropology Department, with a focus in bioarchaeology. Her research focus is health and diet in the ancient Maya region, specifically in Belize. To answer research questions, Aubree studies microbotanical remains found in dental calculus (calcified tartar) found on the surface of teeth. During the summer of 2023, she was a staff member for the Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Project on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Dani Willcutt, Graduate Assistant
Dani Willcutt is a PhD Candidate in the History Department at Michigan State University where her current focus is U.S. Food and Labor History. Her dissertation work is titled, Serving it Up in the Capital City: Restaurants, Labor, and Restaurant Labor in Lansing, Michigan: 1963-2008, and focuses on the role of restaurants and restaurant labor in a Midwestern, rustbelt city. Dani is also completing the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate. Dani was also a Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) Fellow in 2019-2020 and a Senior Fellow 2021-2022.

Undergraduate Lab Assistants (Fall 2023)

Morgan Fox, Data Visualization

Max Levanduski, Anthropology

Five people are standing in a row and smiling at the camera. They are in a field on campus, with trees and a brick building in the background.
Fall 2019 staff members, from left: Grant Gliniecki, Jennifer Andrella, A.L. McMichael, Zachary Francis-Hapner, and Daniel Fandino.

Alumni and Former Staff


A.L. McMichael (Director from 2019-2023)

Brandon Locke (Director from 2014-2019)


Daniel Fandino, Graduate Assistant (2017-2023)

Brian Geyer, Graduate Assistant (2014-2019, Spring 2023)

Chiadikaobi Gregory Okafor, Graduate Assistant (Spring 2023)

Heather Brothers, Lab Staff (Fall 2022)

Jennifer Andrella, Graduate Assistant (2017-2019, 2022)

Zachary Francis-Hapner, Graduate Assistant (2019-2022)

Marcela Omans McKeeby, Graduate Assistant (Fall 2022)

Dani Willcutt, Graduate Assistant (Summer 2020)

Grant Gliniecki, Graduate Assistant (2019-2020)

Jack Biggs, Graduate Assistant (2018-2019)

Alyssa Lopez, Graduate Assistant (2016-2017, 2018-2019)

Dawson McCall, Graduate Assistant (2016-2017, 2019)

Autumn Painter, Graduate Assistant (2016-2018)

Sara Bijani, Graduate Assistant (2015-2017)

Joey Bradshaw, Graduate Assistant (2016)

Jorge Felipe Gonzalez, Graduate Assistant (2015-2016)

An inflatable llama posts in front of the plants outside the modern architecture of the Broad Museum on campus.