About Me

Erika Theresa Franz, M.A.


I am a historian and freelance writer.  My writing experience includes history, education, tourism industry, presentations, marketing materials, company website text and, of course, the “Brush off the dust! History now!” blog.

Additional Publications:

Monthly contributor to the digital magazine Rohous, August-November 2012 issue.

Curriculum for www.pbslearningmedia.org: Understanding the Electoral College and Presidential Issues: Where do the Candidates Stand

“Digging into Maryland’s Past,”  Chesapeake Family Magazine, April 2012.

Website of BWI Rotary, www.bwirotary.org, news articles for local publications, and YouTube videos for BWI Rotary’s YouTube Channel.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Writing: Providing conclusions, evidence and sources in a clear manner; educational materials; marketing and campaign texts
  • Research: Investigating leads in secondary and primary historical literature; interviewing sources; critically analyzing sources; acquiring the necessary materials for my research
  • Public Speaking: Presenting a case in front of peers or strangers; presenting findings and answering questions regarding my methods and conclusions; teaching a variety of students with primary sources
  • Teaching: Blooms Taxonomy; project-based curriculum; experiential learning; utilization of digital resources and technology
  • WordPress blog format
  • Microsoft Office, Internet
  • WebCT/Blackboard program
  • Conversationally fluent in German, competent in translating basic texts from German to English
  • Martial Arts, Black Belt, Tae Kwan Do

Research Skills:

Extensive knowledge of databases, library resources, professional journals and access to primary sources.


American Historical Association – Member since 2009

Maryland Historical Society – Member since 2009

Society for History in the Federal Government – Member since 2010

Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society – Member since 2003

Pi Gamma Mu, International Honor Society in Social Sciences – Member since 2003

Teaching Experience:

Adjunct Professor, The Community College of Baltimore County, Fall Semester 2009 – to present

  • History 101 – Western Civilization I: Ancient and Medieval History, History 102 – Western Civilization II: Early Modern and Modern and History 193 – Sports in America.
  • Teaching 2-3 courses a semester, including accelerated courses in summer and winter semesters.
  • Emphasizing a historian’s skills and perspectives by using the material and primary sources to ask questions about the field and observe how changes and developments in the field are relevant to our contemporary society.
  • Teaching history not just for the sake of the material but also as a vehicle to approach the world with a greater understanding of the variety of people and cultural norms existing in modern global society.
  • Utilizing WebCT/BlackBoard program and smart classrooms.


  • Invited to return each semester, often with additional courses.
  • Committee member to establish community college historical conference at The Community College of Baltimore County, 2011.
  • Teaching Special Topics course Spring Semester 2011.

Student Teaching Assistant, The Catholic University of America, Spring Semester 2009

  • Assistant to Dr. Laura Mayhall: History 376A – The First World War, 1914-1918.
  • 50 students enrolled; my responsibilities included assisting with discussion facilitation, teaching the Russian Revolution and the First World War, using power point and Black Board 8.
  • Dr. Mayhall demonstrated instructor preparation, course planning, a balance of flexibility and resolve and healthy instructor-student rapport.

Program Instructor, Close Up Foundation,February 2005-May 2007, 2009 Inauguration

  • Instructor – Ran and initiated program components for youth, utilizing simulation, small group work and short readings of opinion pieces or current events in workshops about the democratic process.  Program designed to train students from a variety of backgrounds to work together in randomly assorted workshops of 20-25 to be active as citizens in their government through participation.
  • Used Washington DC and its diverse history as teaching tools, including the development of its educational, political and cultural institutions.  The program utilized historical sites, neighborhoods and guest speakers (political insiders, community-builders, lobbying organizations, etc.) to cover topics ranging from red-lining to D.C. schools, and from ANC development to Congressional rule.
  • Designed lesson plans for 20-40 students encompassing civics and civic action to accommodate a variety of learning styles.   Implemented cooperative learning techniques from our job training, incorporating history (i.e.: American, American minorities) and current events for student debate.
  • Worked two years with American Indian youth from the United South-Eastern Tribes at their annual Impact Week in Washington DC, lobbying Congress, using American Indian and U.S. History.
  • Worked two years with New American students (including ESL training) and one year working with Pacific-Islanders.


  • Invited to return after each season and given increased pay and responsibilities.
  • Accepted to seven special programs (1. United South-Eastern Tribes, 2. Pacific-Islanders Washington-New York Program, 3. New York Program, 4. Washington-Williamsburg,5. Washington-Philadelphia, 6. New Americans Programs, 7. United States in the Global Community) all requiring additional training.
  • Promoted to Senior Program Instructor on select weeks.
  • Formulated best-practices, materials and lesson plans, some adopted by other Program Instructors.

Substitute Teacher, St. Anselm’s Abbey School, NAIS, February-June 2008; September-December 2009

  • Taught 7th (Age of Discovery to Civil War) and 8th grade (Civil War to present) American History.
  • Emphasized social, political and economic factors that shaped the modern-day United States and affected current domestic developments and foreign affairs.
  • 7th graders’ final project: wrote Civil War Primary Source Reports analyzing the value of each of their chosen sources.
  • 8th graders’ final project: wrote papers on the Civil Rights Movement analyzing methods and success of the approaches.

Instructor, CUA Tae Kwan Do Club, August 2007-May 2009

  • Student from 1999 to 2003, Black Belt earned November 2002.
  • Taught students to sharpen mind-body coordination and develop practices for self-defense.
  • Taught 20 students, three testing for intermediate belts, one student placed third in competitions.


MASTER OF ARTS in MEDIEVAL HISTORY, The Catholic University of America,Fall 2009

BACHELOR OF ARTS in HISTORY, The Catholic University of America, May 2003

Minors in Philosophy; Byzantine & Medieval Studies.

Honors: Phi Alpha Theta History Honor’s Society

Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Science

Thesis: “The Peace of God, the First Crusade and the Military Orders, how the Catholic Church tried to Christianize the warrior laity”

Professional Development:

Winter Adjunct Faculty Conference, The Community College of Baltimore County, January 26, 2010

37th Annual Conference on Washington DC Historical Studies, November 5-6, 2010

The Civil War, Fresh Perspectives Symposium, National Archives and Records Administration, November 11, 2010

American Historical Association’s 125th Annual Meeting, Boston, January 6-9, 2010

Winter Adjunct Faculty Conference, The Community College of Baltimore County, January 25, 2011

Other Professional Experience:

Tour Guide, Sockeye Cycle Co., May 2006-Sept 2006

  • Researched and presented historical, cultural, geographical and ecological facts about Alaska, Skagway, Dyea, and the Klondike Gold Rush while guiding tourists on bicycles.
  • Lead guide taking cruise ship tourists on one of two tours: Tour A: Leading 15 miles down over 2,000 feet from mountain pass to sea level; Tour B: Leading 6 miles through uneven and forested historical site of the ghost town Dyea.  Managed a team of 3 people communicating with headquarters.
  • Support guide and driver on tours (described above).
  • Customer service and communication provided to cruise ship patrons and cruise ship liaison.
  • Trained in and used safety procedures and briefed all customers clearly to help insure safety.  Successfully completed 2-3 tours a day, 5 days a week for over 3 months with only one non-emergency accident.
  • Trained in and utilized basic emergency procedures.


  • Supervisor praised my abilities as lead guide in my performance review and recognized my seasoned customer service skills.
  • I was one of two guides consistently selected to take VIP customers on tours during off days and given opportunities for extra pay.
  • Invited to return for the next season.

Tour Guide, Bike the Sites, May 2003-Sept 2005

  • Lead guide and sweeper-guide giving bike tours to guests from all over the country and around the world in Washington D.C. and environs.
  • Designed tour for the Cherry Blossom Tour, doing research and writing script.

Volunteer Activities:

  • Rotarian, BWI Rotary Club
  • Maryland History Day Judge, March 28, 2010; Maryland History Day Judge, April 24, 2010
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation Member
  • Preservation Maryland Member
  • Maryland Historical Trust Archaeology Volunteer
  • Martial Arts Instructor for CUA TKD, Fall semester, 2007 – Spring semester, 2009
  • Met fundraising goal of over $2000 and rollerbladed 52 miles in the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate with Team in Training for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 2004


“The Papacy’s Involvement in the Norman Conquest,” 2nd Annual Graduate Mini-Conference on Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture, The Catholic University of America: April 30, 2008

“How the Papacy tried to Christianize the Warrior Laity,” Annual Phi Alpha Theta Conference, Georgetown University: Spring 2003

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