Haleigh Marcello

History Ph.D. candidate | Women's Studies Lecturer

A picture of Haleigh standing smiling, with her arms crossed, in front of UC San Diego's Giesel Library.

Research interests: gender and sexuality in the mid-to-late 20th century United States; social movements; California history; digital and public history

Southern California born and raised, I was always curious about how our state, and our country, came to be the way that they are today. Though I harbored this curiosity from a young age, I did not really become interested in history until high school, when my teachers began to challenge how we traditionally thought of history. Rather than having us memorize dates and names, focusing on wars and political leaders, we began to look at history from the people's perspective, examining the lives of ordinary men and women and diving into more complex and controversial histories. I realized that history could be so much more than just understanding how an institution came into creation, or how a war was fought, or who was in charge at a certain time. 

In 2016, I began my undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego. While at UC San Diego, I grew to love history even more, and began to dive into my own historical research. I worked with Dr. Rebecca Jo Plant to produce a thesis on American women's work from the 1940s to the 1960s for the Eleanor Roosevelt College Sophomore Honors Project. The following year, I continued working with Dr. Plant as part of the Department of History's Honors Program, producing a thesis focusing on the relationship Equal Rights Amendment, the National Organization for Women, and lesbian feminism (which now adapted as a document project for Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000). In 2019, I became the first person in my family to graduate from college, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in History and a minor in Critical Gender Studies. 

Soon after my graduation from UC San Diego, I moved to Irvine, California to begin my Ph.D. in American History at the University of California, Irvine. The summer before my first year (the summer of 2019), I participated in UC Irvine's Competitive Edge Program, conducting archival research on what would become my dissertation topic: the LGBT rights movement in Orange County, California, during the 1980s. I have been happily working away at UC Irvine ever since, advised by Dr. Allison Perlman. I completed my M.A. in History at UC Irvine in 2021, and anticipate graduating with my Ph.D. in June of 2025. I am also working toward completing the UC Irvine Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies' Feminist Emphasis.

When I am not in class, reading, or hard at work in the archive, I enjoy playing board and video games, watching movies, bowling, and traveling.