Contact: mfesak@udel.edu


PhD in American Civilization • University of Delaware • Newark, DE • 2018-Present

Masters of Science in Historic Preservation • Clemson University and the College of Charleston • Charleston, SC • 2016-2018

Thesis: “The Twentieth-Century Thoroughbred Training Landscapes of Aiken and Camden, South Carolina”
GPA: 4.0

University of Mary Washington • Fredericksburg, VA • 2012-2016

Major: Historic Preservation
Honors Thesis: “Gender and Virginia’s Early-Twentieth Century Equine Landscapes”
GPA: 3.89

Major: History
Honors Thesis: “‘The Ideals of Pine Mountain’: Gender, Progressive Thought, and the Built Environment at Pine Mountain Settlement School”
GPA: 3.94

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • University Honors
  • Departmental Honors in Historic Preservation
  • Departmental Honors in History
  • President’s List (Fall 2015, Spring 2016)
  • Dean’s List (2012-2014, Spring 2015)


Work Experience

Teaching Assistant, University of Delaware, (Fall 2018-Spring 2019) • Newark, D.E.

  • Grader for the World History I course

Rudy J. Favretti Fellow, Garden Club of Virginia (Summer 2018) • Charles City, V.A.

  • Researched and wrote a report on the evolution of the cultural landscape of President John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest Plantation

Graduate Assistant, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (Fall 2017-Spring 2018) • Charleston, S.C.

  • Inventoried archival materials for a national registry of African American newspapers and periodicals
  • Digitized the “Avery Messenger” newsletter including the creation of metadata
  • Assisted researchers with archival requests
  • Prepared collections for transportation to off-site storage during building renovation

Preservation Intern, Historic Charleston Foundation (Summer 2017) • Charleston, S.C.

  • Surveyed, researched, and wrote a National Register nomination for the W. Gresham Meggett equalization school
  • Assisted in the research and writing of a National Register nomination for Mosquito Beach, a historically African American recreational area and beach
  • Researched histories of slave dwellings for the Charleston “Beyond the Big House” tour
  • Conducted easement and covenant inspections

Intern, Warren Lasch Conservation Center (Spring 2017) • Charleston, S.C.

  • Researched, implemented the treatment, and co-authored a conservation report on the anoxic fumigation treatment for the St. George’s Church bell tower window frame at Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
  • Monitored the chloride levels in artifacts from the L. Hunley submarine, CSS Alabama, and CSS Pee Dee using liquid chromatography

Documentation Assistant, Clemson University (Fall 2016-Spring 2017) • Charleston, S.C.

  • Measured drawing documentation and hard line field notes of CCC-era buildings, structures, and objects at King’s Mountain State Park for a Historic Structures Report (HSR) produced by faculty and student consultants

Preservation Intern, Silman Associates (Summer 2016) • Washington, D.C.

  • Served as an IT consultant on the applications of photogrammetry in preservation engineering
  • Developed publications on best practices and workflows for photogrammetry programs
  • Produced 3D models of framing systems at the Shipley School (W.V.) and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (D.C.) for design proposals

Building Documentation Intern at President Lincoln’s Cottage, National Trust for Historic Preservation (Summer 2015) • Washington, D.C.

  • Measured and completed hard line drawings of the water tower roofing system
  • Completed documentation of the interior of the vestibule
  • Undertook an investigation into how the vestibule may have appeared during Lincoln’s occupation and completed AutoCAD drawings and a 3D model

Research Aide to the Digital History Reviews Editor for the Journal of  American History (2014-Present) • Fredericksburg, V.A.

  • Edited Digital History Reviews and locate digital history projects and reviewers

Preservation Intern at Woodlawn and the Pope-Leighey House (Summer 2014) • Alexandria, V.A.

  • Completed interior, exterior, and foundation conditions assessments for Woodlawn, its outbuildings, Grand View, and the Pope-Leighey House
  • Completed new building assignments per the NTHP policy for Woodlawn and Grand View
  • Worked on the Pope-Leighey House architectural conservation test panel
  • Performed chain of title research on Grand View

Volunteer Work Experiences

  • Volunteer, Lowcountry Digital Library (2016)
    • Digitized newspapers and photographs for the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
  • HistoriCorps Volunteer, Clermont Farm Slave Quarters (2015)
    • Planed and installed siding, and constructed knee walls and collar ties
  • Project Assistant, Pope-Leighey House Exterior Conservation Treatment, National Trust for Historic Preservation (2015)
    • Cleaned the exterior of the Pope-Leighey House
  • Student, Historic Landscape Institute (2013)

Individual Projects and Publications

Class Group Projects and Publications

  • Conservation report identifying historic intent, documentation through laser scanning, and recommendations for restoration for the St. Mary of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church, Charleston, S.C. (2018)
  • “The Lowcountry Preservationist” Clemson University and College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation annual newsletter (2018)
  • Cemetery conservation work and conservation report for the Emanuel AME Cemetery, Charleston, S.C. (2017)
  • Historic Structure Report, masonry repointing report, and paint analysis for the John Ravenel House at 5 East Battery, Charleston, S.C. (2017)
  • Cultural Landscape Report for McLeod Plantation, Charleston, S.C. (2017)
  • HALS documentation of Colonial Lake, Charleston, S.C. (2017)
  • Historic Structure Report for the Bleak Hall Plantation tabby structures at Botany Bay for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (2017)
  • HABS documentation of the Bleak Hall Plantation structures (2017)
  • Historic Structure Report for Quarters J at the Charleston Naval Base for the City of North Charleston (2016)
  • HABS documentation of Quarters J (2016)
  • Survey and mock National Register nomination for Charleston’s East Side neighborhood (2016)
  • Creation of digital collections for the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library featuring 3D scans of objects and videos of curators discussing the objects (2016)
  • Documentation of endangered slave quarters at Oak Hill Plantation in Danville, V.A. and Upperville, V.A. (2016)
  • Mock National Register Nomination for the College Heights Neighborhood (2015)
  • Cultural Resource Survey Report for the College Heights Neighborhood (2015)

Conference Papers

  • “Landscapes and Building Assemblages of Thoroughbred Training Facilities in Aiken and Camden, South Carolina” Southeastern Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians Conference, Manhattan, Kansas, 2018.
  • “Thoroughbred Training Barn Types in Aiken and Camden, South Carolina” Vernacular Architecture Forum, Alexandria, VA, 2018.
  • “The Preservation of Aiken and Camden’s Thoroughbred Training Barns” South Carolina Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, Columbia, South Carolina, 2018.
  • “Gender and Virginia’s Early-Twentieth Century Equine Landscapes” Southeastern Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians Conference, Lynchburg, Virginia, 2017.



  • Rudy J. Favretti Fellowship, Garden Club of Virginia (2018)
  • Pamela H. Simpson Presenter’s Fellowship, Vernacular Architecture Forum (2018)
  • Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians Graduate Student Research Fellowship (2018)
  • Graduate Student Research Fellowship, Clemson University and the College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation (2016-2018)


  • Hagley Museum and Library Exploratory Research Grant (2018)
  • Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians Graduate Student Travel Grant (2017)
  • College of Charleston Graduate Student Association Research Grant (2016)
  • College of Charleston Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants (2016-2017)
  • University of Mary Washington Undergraduate Research Grant (2015-2016)


  • Highest GPA in Historic Preservation (2016)
  • Joseph Carroll Vance Award for Excellence in Historical Research (Best 2016 History Thesis)


  • David W. Wright Scholarship (2016-2017)
  • University of Mary Washington Undergraduate Research Grant (2015-2016)
  • James Farmer Scholarship (2015-2016)
  • Joseph C. Vance Memorial Scholarship in History (2015-2016)
  • Milton Grigg Northern Virginia APVA Scholarship  (2015)
  • J. Binford Walford Scholarship in Architecture (2014-2016)
  • William B. Crawley, Jr. Scholarship in History (2014-2015)
  • University of Mary Washington Merit-based Scholarship (2012-2016)
  • Northern Virginia Electric Co-op Scholarship (2012)

Honor Societies

  • Sigma Pi Kappa
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Phi Alpha Theta
  • Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society
    • Membership Co-Chair (2014-2015)
  • Pi Gamma Mu
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars


Special Skills

  • Architectural histories
  • Conditions assessments
  • Historic structure reports
  • Cultural resource surveys
  • National Register of Historic Places nominations
  • Cultural landscape reports
  • HABS-level Building documentation through AutoCAD and hard line drawings
  • 3D modeling
  • Laser Scanning
  • Total Station Survey
  • Photogrammetry
  • Photographic documentation
  • Chain of title research
  • Archival research
  • Research methodology
  • Primary and secondary source analysis
  • Proposal writing
  • Intermediate knowledge of Spanish


  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • TachyCAD
  • PhoToPlan
  • Agisoft PhotoScan
  • Faro X330
  • Faro Scene
  • Google SketchUP
  • Google Earth
  • Adobe Indesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Google Drive
  • WordPress
  • Wikis
  • Hypothes.Is
  • Zotero Online Archival Systems
  • Omeka (Dublin Core archival systems)
  • Timeline JS
  • MapStoryJS
  • Skype
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


  • Horseback riding and horse care
  • Playing cello
  • Fiddling
  • Creative writing
  • Collecting antiques