ICW Personnel

Bill Deverell, Director

William Deverell received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in American Studies with honors and distinction. He received his Ph.D. in American History from Princeton University in 1989. He is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Southern California and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, which he founded in 2004. He previously taught at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, San Diego.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate teaching, Professor Deverell writes about the nineteenth and twentieth century American West. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books exploring a variety of topics and themes. They include The Blackwell Companion to Los Angeles (co-edited with Greg Hise); The Blackwell Companion to California History (co-edited with David Igler); and The Blackwell Companion to the History of the American West. He is the author of Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past and of Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910. With the historian Tom Sitton, he is the co-editor of Metropolis in the Making: Los Angeles in the 1920s and California Progressivism Revisited. With Greg Hise, he co-authored Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region and co-edited Land of Sunshine: An Environmental History of Metropolitan Los Angeles. He is currently at work on a study of the post-Civil War American West, under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing.

Contact: deverell@usc.edu

Taryn Haydostian, Administrative Director

Taryn Haydostian received a BA in Art and Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles and recently completed an MFA in Photography at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. 

Contact: haydosti@usc.edu

Doug Smith, Executive Director, Los Angeles Service Academy

Douglas Smith received his undergraduate degree with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Virginia. His first book, Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia, received the 2003 Virginia Literary Award in Non-fiction. He is currently completing his second book, On Democracy’s Doorstep: One Person, One Vote and the Quest for Equality in Twentieth-Century America, which will be published in 2014 with Hill & Wang.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Education, the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential libraries, and the Huntington Library, among others. His articles have appeared in five collected volumes and in the Journal of Southern History, the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, and the Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television.

He has taught History and American Studies at Caltech, Occidental College, and, most recently, the Colburn Music Conservatory in downtown Los Angeles, where he now serves as the Director of Humanities.

Contact: jdsmith65@gmail.com

Peter J. Westwick, Director of the Aerospace History Project

Peter Westwick is Assistant Research Professor in the History Department at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Aerospace History Project at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.  He received his BA in physics and PhD in history from UC Berkeley, and has taught at Yale and Caltech.  His research focuses on the history of science and technology in the twentieth century U.S.  He is the author of Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976-2004, which won book prizes from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society, and The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974, which won the book prize of the Forum for the History of Science in America.  He is also editor of Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California , which was selected to the Best Non-Fiction of 2012 by the Los Angeles Public Library.  Most recently he co-authored, with Peter Neushul, The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing, an LA Times bestseller. In addition to overseeing archival acquisitions and oral histories for ICW's Aerospace History Project, he is currently working on a history of the National Academy of Sciences and a history of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Contact: westwick@usc.edu

Jessica Kim, Visiting Associate Director

Jessica Kim is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Northridge, where she teaches courses on the history of Los Angeles, California, the American West, and public history.  Her current book project brings together her interests in urban history, particularly the history of Los Angeles, and borderlands history.  The project, titled “Oilmen and Cactus Rustlers: Mexico and the Rise of Modern Los Angeles, 1865-1940,” situates the extraordinary rise of Los Angeles within the context of international investment, particularly in Mexico, and examines the ways in which cities intersect with national borders.  She also recently published an article entitled “Destiny of the West: The International Pacific Highway and the Pacific Borderlands, 1929-1957,” in the Fall 2015 issue of Western Historical Quarterly.  

Contact: jessica.kim@csun.edu

Elizabeth A. Logan, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Elizabeth A. Logan is a postdoctoral fellow with ICW and an assistant editor of Boom: A Journal of California. She completed her Ph.D. in History at USC in August 2013 and is honored to continue her work with ICW.

Contact: elizabal@usc.edu

Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Doheney Postdoctoral Fellow

Shaun Ossei-Owusu is the Doheney Postdoctoral Fellow at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and USC Libraries at the University of Southern California. He received his PhD from the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. He also received his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the historical development of legal aid institutions and a project on public health in post-1970 South Los Angeles. The National Science Foundation and the American Bar Foundation have funded his scholarly research and his writings have appeared in Salon, Huffington Post, The Root, and Jacobin.

Contact: osseiowu@usc.edu

Becky Nicolaides, Affiliated Research Scholar

Becky Nicolaides is the co-coordinator of the LA History & Metro Studies group. She received her B.A. from USC in history and print journalism with honors, then went on to receive her Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, where she graduated with distinction.  Her first book, My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965 (Chicago), won awards from the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch and Historical Society of Southern California.  Her second book The Suburb Reader (Routledge), co-edited with Andrew Wiese, was named one of the top 10 books of 2007 by PLANetizen.com.  The second edition of The Suburb Reader is due out in 2016.  Becky has also written articles for the Journal of Urban History, Journal of American Ethnic History, Pacific Historical Review, and other outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post.  She is currently writing a book on the social history of suburban life in Los Angeles, titled On the Ground in Suburbia: A Chronicle of Social and Civic Transformation in Los Angeles since 1945. Becky has taught history and writing at Arizona State University West, UC San Diego, UCLA, and Claremont Graduate University, and currently works as a historical consultant in the Los Angeles area.  She serves as co-editor of the Historical Studies of Urban America book series published by the University of Chicago Press.  She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Huntington Library, and the Getty Research Institute.

Contact:  becky.nicolaides@outlook.com

Affiliated Postdoctoral Scholars, 2015-2016


  • Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
  • Department of History
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0034