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Early U.S. history intrigues student

Dianne Cappiello never imagined she’d pursue a doctorate in history.

The Binghamton native, who was homeschooled, worked for years as a medical secretary and medical claims examiner before deciding to go to college in 1999. Her late father had urged her to continue her education.

Cappiello earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Empire State College, where an adviser suggested she go on to graduate school. Cappiello decided she would but not in that field.

“I had no idea that it would lead to anything,” she said of her plan to get a master’s in history at Binghamton University. “I just love it.”

Cappiello proved to be a natural in the classroom.

“Dianne is just a terrific student,” said J. David Hacker, assistant professor of history. “She’s dedicated and has a passion for research.”

Cappiello took a couple of courses with him and also served as his teaching assist

ant. “She gets fabulous teaching reviews,” Hacker said, “and always has been a pleasure to have in the classroom.”

This semester, she’s teaching a course she designed called Religion and the Republic.

Cappiello, who completed her master’s in 2004, is also working on a dissertation about early black abolitionism. She recently won a research fellowship from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to support her work.

“I found this topic hadn’t been explored as much as it could be,” she said.

Cappiello, a member of the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, is also treasurer of the Graduate History Society. She enjoys counted cross-stitch and is learning to crochet.

She considers herself fortunate to have found her “calling” – even if it didn’t happen in a traditional way.

“It’s a pleasure discovering this,” Cappiello said. “I love being in the classroom.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08