Faculty Chair

Mesmin Destin

Hi! I have been teaching in Psychology and SESP at Northwestern since 2010, and I lived in PARC as a freshman years ago. My research is all about understanding how students develop their goals and what types of supports help them along their paths. I am excited to serve as the faculty chair of PARC and to do all that I can to make sure that our residents are safe, happy, and engaged.

My family is originally from Haiti, but I was born in New York City, grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, went to college at Northwestern, and went to graduate school at the University of Michigan. I now live in Edgewater (a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago) with my husband Michael and I love playing soccer, playing the piano, trying new restaurants, and exploring all of the art, culture, and diversity that the city has to offer.



Assistant Chair

Jessica Biddlestone

I'm a PhD candidate in the History Department where I am finishing up a dissertation called, "France in Roman Africa: Antiquity and the Making of Empire in French Algeria and Tunisia, 1830-1900. My research interests are French and North African history, the history of imperialism and colonialism, classical reception studies, and material culture. This year, I'll be a T.H. Breen fellow at the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern, where I'll be making a podcast about how historians do what they do. When I'm not podcasting, or at PARC, or writing my dissertation, I'm into exploring Chicago on my bicycle, hanging out with my dog and cat, watching Westworld, and reading contemporary fiction and science fiction. Hope to see you at lunches and FaculTEA this coming year! 



Associate Chair

Michael Allen

Hello PARC people! I’ve taught US political and diplomatic history at Northwestern since 2008, and I earned my PhD here in 2003. I’ve been a faculty fellow at PARC since 2009 and have served as associate chair here since 2016. Whether you are new to PARC or returning, I’m eager to get to know you and work with you to make the most of your time at Northwestern.

My research concerns how US politics came to be so hyper-partisan, and to explain that phenomenon I’ve written a book on legacies of the Vietnam War and I’m writing a new book on presidential power and the Democratic Party. I teach courses on post-1968 US history, on the Vietnam War, and on other aspects of recent American history like consumerism, militarism, and political scandals. When not writing and teaching, I stay busy with my two kids, my dog, and my wife Julie, who raises money for NU. I’m an avid runner, a fan of old movies and live music, a regular at NU field hockey games and an NU men's basketball season-ticket holder. I’m originally from Kansas but consider Chicago home after living here for 20 of the last 25 years.