Dr. Caroline Grego’s earliest significant memory is from when she was about 10 years old.
Controversy around flying the confederate flag had become a source of tension in her community, and her parents took her to a protest in her home state of South Carolina. The protest, organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other local civil rights organizations, was to demand the removal of the flag from flying in public spaces, in this case from the front of the South Carolina State House. Surrounded by over 40,000 protesters, Grego began to realize the importance of history and its impact on her, and it spawned a series of events that would eventually lead her to teach it at Queens University of Charlotte.
A new visiting history professor, Grego is more than ready to make a significant impact on the small campus.
“I was excited to see this particular position open up at Queens, in part because of the proximity to home,” she said. “I’m very close with my family.”
While in high school, Grego was looking for a change of pace from her usual surroundings. This led to her moving to Middlebury College to complete a bachelor’s in Geography. She later completed a doctorate at the University of Colorado, where she excelled.
Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed at Queens.
“She is an energetic and thoughtful scholar, who brings distinctive expertise in environmental history and U.S. history to Queens,” said Barry Robinson, a Queens history professor who said he was impressed with Grego’s skills. “She has worked with cutting-edge scholars of historical pedagogy and thus brings to Queens some excellent new ideas for teaching and learning.”
Paul Sutter, a history professor from the University of Colorado, also praised Grego’s drive, discipline and confidence.
“Caroline is an exceptionally talented historian who combines a rigorous approach to her research with a commitment to accessible, even beautiful, writing,” said Sutter. “These qualities made my job as her Ph.D. advisor easy!”
Grego hopes to write a book based on her doctorate dissertation, which dealt with a hurricane that struck the coast of South Carolina in 1893. In the dissertation, Grego discussed the political, economic, and demographic changes that occurred in the South just as local governments began instituting racially discriminatory Jim Crow laws.
When she’s not teaching, Grego enjoys hiking with her husband, baking, and cooking. Cooking, Grego said, is how she unwinds. Some of her favorite dishes include Pozole, a Mexican hominy-based stew, and Gullah, a mix of slow cooked red-island peas, peppers, and a ham hock. Most recently she baked a peach pie.
Though she may be new to Queens, Grego has already begun to get a feel for the impact the school will have on her.
“I see Queens as a place where I hope to grow into my own as a teacher,” Grego said. “As a teacher you should always be thinking about what you can do to improve how you interact with your students, how you encourage their learning, and how you guide your classroom towards those aims.”