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History grad student to lead Nev. research staff


February 09, 2011

ASU doctoral candidate Dana Bennett has been impressing Nevada’s state government for quite some time now. She was honored by the state’s congressional delegation back in 2007 for her book “A century of Enthusiasm: Midas, Nevada 1907-2007,” which chronicles the lives of the small mining town’s residents, and for her work as research analyst for the state legislature. Now she will accept the position of senior staff researcher offered to her by Governor-elect, Brian Sandoval.

Bennett was raised in Reno, Nevada, and spent her summers and holidays in Midas, the town that inspired two of her published works. Her parents Dan and Joanne Bennett now run "Friends of Midas," an organization keeping the history of the small town alive. Described as a living ghost town by Nevada Magazine, Midas is home to a little over a dozen permanent residents at any time. Many of these residents are not descendants of the early settlers; instead they are retirees looking to get away from the big cities of Nevada. Over time, these residents become some of the most knowledgeable about the origins and major events of such small towns.

While the past is of great importance to Bennett, her research and publications are not merely retrospective; they informed her role as policy analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU, and will provide the opportunity for affecting public policy in Nevada. This new position offers Bennett the ability to further explore the history of the state that intrigues her so much while allowing for the flexibility required to attain her Ph.D. in history.