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Benjamin Peterson


Co-Director of the Center for College and Community Engagement; Lecturer of History and Political Science


History, Political Science

Contact Info

(989) 463-7291

Connect with Benjamin:


I have worked as a lobbyist, elections specialist, political advocate, photographer, academic publisher, conference manager, and professor. but my current passion and role focuses on bringing Alma College and Alma, MI together in ways that enrich both. My work has included several public history and interest conferences and exhibits including the PBB Disaster at 50 Conference and the Three Nights at the Opera performances. Many of these projects have focused on building an interdisciplinary approach to community engagement. Currently my research agenda includes a long-standing project on urban politics and the Service Employees International Union in Chicago, and newer projects related to oral histories of Alma College alumni and environmental history of St. Louis, MI. Along the way, I have been a recipient of several grants such as the Michigan Humanities Council grant, an EPA Environmental Justice Grant, and a NETVUE Reframing the Institutional Saga grant. I am always interested in developing new opportunities for our students and our community. 

Educational Background:  

  • A.A., Yakima Valley Community College (2000) 
  • B.A. History and Political Science, Willamette University (2004) 
  • M.A. History, University of Illinois at Chicago (2007) 
  • Ph.D. History (Work, Race, and Gender in the Urban World), University of Illinois at Chicago (2016) 

My Expertise

American History (emphasis on politics, labor, communications theory, technology, and the urban world); Public History (emphasis on new and emerging media, site-specific exhibits, interdisciplinary collaboration, and local history); Public Policy and Political Advocacy (emphasis on rural policy, stakeholder analysis, lobbying, messaging, and electioneering); Project and Grant Management; Community-Engaged Learning.