Conference Speakers


Panelist: Brigette Kamsler, GW Archivist

Jennifer Lawless


Brigette Kamsler is the University Archivist at George Washington University. Prior to her time at GW, Brigette was the United States Corporate Archivist for the bank HSBC and an Archivist at the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, both in New York City.

She has a BA in History from Millersville University and a Masters in Library and Information Science with a specialty in archives, preservation and records management from the University of Pittsburgh. Her recent publications pertain to the use of archives with renaming efforts on college campuses.

Panelist: Jason Speck, Hillwood Archivist

Megan Beyer


Jason Speck is Head of Archives and Special Collections at Hillwood.  He earned a B.A. from American University and an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.  His professional journey has taken him through the disparate fields of medicine and finance before finally becoming an archivist. 

Prior to joining Hillwood in 2019 he spent a decade in academic librarianship, as both a university archivist and as a collection development librarian.  He has authored several articles about the profession, taught a course on the history of his alma mater, and published a book on the same topic.  He is currently part of the collaborative team behind Hillwood’s next publication about the collections of Marjorie Merriweather Post, schedule to be published next fall.

Panelist: Wilfried Zeisler, Hillwood Curator

Heera Kamboj


Dr. Wilfried Zeisler is Hillwood’s chief curator. He is a graduate of Sorbonne University and the Ecole du Louvre, Paris. Wilfried has written extensively on French and Russian decorative arts, including a 2010 book on French ceramics commemorating the French-Russian Alliance, several articles, and contributions to books. Wilfried’s dissertation, L’Objet d’art et de luxe français en Russie (1881-1917) [French Objets d’art and Luxury Goods in Russia], was published in Paris in 2014. Between 2009 and 2011, he has participated in and curated exhibitions in Paris and Monaco.

At Hillwood, his most recent exhibitions were Fabergé Rediscovered (2018), Bouke de Vries: War and Pieces (2019), Natural Beauties: Exquisite Works of Minerals and Gems (2020) and The Porcelain Flowers of Vladimir Kanevsky (2021). Wilfried co-authored Konstantin Makovsky: The Tsar's Painter in America and Paris (2015), and is the author of Fabergé Rediscovered  and Vivre la Belle Epoque à Paris -- Paul de Russie et Olga Paley, both published in 2018. He is currently working on two book projects, one exploring the connections between the Yusupovs and Parisian culture and the second on the collection of Hillwood’s founder, Marjorie Post (co-authored with Hillwood’s curatorial team).


EJS Recipient: Allison Cohen, WLP

Heera Kamboj


Allison Cohen graduated from Mount Vernon College in 1980 with a BA in Business and a double minor in history and visual arts. Allison studied abroad while at MV and had the opportunity to take a train to London to meet with Mrs. Olwen Lloyd who was the head mistress responsible for selecting the Foxhall Rd. property that MV still occupies. Allison also had the unique opportunity to spend a summer organizing the MV archives. 

Upon completing her education, Allison found her passion in finding ways to provide personalized, quality services for individuals and families as well as exploring her passion for the arts. Early in her career Allison worked as a personal shopper as well as volunteer for the Lawndale Art Center  and the Orange Show Foundation, in Houston, Tx. Upon moving back to her native Miami, Fl. Allison continued her work as a personal shopper until becoming Assistant Director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Allison is also a founding member of Shake a Leg Miami, a water sports facility geared toward physically challenged individuals. 

Currently, Allison runs her own business dedicated to assisting the elderly in downsizing and/or transitioning to their next living spaces. In her spare time, Allison is a member of the oldest, ongoing organization in Florida, the Coconut Grove Women’s Club  and most recently, brings her expertise and passion about the legacy of Mount Vernon Seminary & College to the Mount Vernon National Advisory Council.

EJS Recipient: Samah Mcgona Sisay, WLP 

Heera Kamboj


Samah Mcgona Sisay is a Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she specializes in international human rights and challenging inhumane immigration policies and abusive police practices. Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Samah worked as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at African Services Committee. During her two-year fellowship, Samah provided legal representation on immigration matters to undocumented Black immigrant women, both transgender and cisgender, impacted by gender violence.

Samah was born in Liberia and immigrated to the United States with her family at a young age during the country’s civil war. This experience informs her work as an attorney and propelled her to become the first person in her family to attend and graduate college. Samah earned a B.A. in International Affairs at the George Washington University and is a 2018 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow. During law school, Samah served as a student advocate for two years in the Immigrant Rights Clinic representing individuals in deportation proceedings. Samah was also awarded an International Law and Human Rights (ILHR) fellowship to work for Defence for Children International in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where she monitored the juvenile court and detention centers and advocated for the release of juvenile survivors of sexual violence (Taken from: