Dr. Shannon M. Risk

Photo Credit: Doves Portrait Design

Dr. Shannon M. Risk

Associate Professor of History; Director, Public History Minor; Director, Women's Studies Minor; Fulbright Campus Program Advisor



Dr. Risk joined the History Department faculty in 2009. She earned her B.A. in history from the University of Northern Iowa, her home state, where she held internships at the Grout Museum of History and Science, and in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.  She earned her M.A. in history from the University of Maine. From there, Risk embarked on a museum career, working as curator and manager at a number of institutions including the American Airlines C. R. Smith Museum, the San Francisco Airport Museums, the Susan B. Anthony House, and the Putnam History Museum. Risk headed back to Maine in 2005 to complete her Ph.D. in American History, focusing on a comparative history of the women’s suffrage movements of Maine and New Brunswick, and on a larger scale between Canada and the United States. Risk also earned a graduate concentration certificate in women’s studies at the University of Maine in 2007. She was awarded a Canadian-U.S. Fulbright Fellow Award for the 2008-2009 academic year to study at the University of New Brunswick. In the Ph.D. program, Risk’s fields included American history and politics, Canadian history, women’s studies, and New England history. Her academic advisors were Marli F. Weiner, Richard Judd, Scott See, Mazie Hough, Amy Fried, and Carol Nordstrom Toner.

She is currently working on a biography of American suffragist Elizabeth Upham Yates. Risk has also worked with the curators at the New York State Museum on the centennial celebration of New York State women earning the vote in 1917. Her work on the Buffalo-Niagara Falls suffragists will appear in the exhibit catalogue, along with other suffrage experts from the state. This work is also expanded in a longer article for the New York History journal, special suffrage centennial edition, with publication in 2017.

In addition to her scholarship, Risk works with the Fulbright program as a historian for the regional chapter, and through mentoring students at Niagara University during the application process; the Upstate New York Women’s History Organization; the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States; and the Crossing Borders Conference. She serves on the NU Outstanding Employee Award Committee. She is a board member for the Niagara County Historical Society. She makes presentations in her colleague’s classrooms, as well as in the local community. She, along with a committee, plans the events for National Women’s History Month on the Niagara University campus. She is also a judge for the Susan B. Anthony Writing Contest each year at NU. She reviews manuscripts and grant applications by invitation.  

Risk offers United States history survey courses, along with upper-level courses about U.S. Women, African American Women, Public History, Canada-U.S. Relations, U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movement, and Latin American history. She supervises senior honors theses as well as graduate capstone projects.