Before earning his PhD, Steve began his career as a middle school history teacher in Lancaster, CA, where he used simulations in the classroom to inspire students to feel personally involved with historical events. Now, teaching at Oregon State University, Steve uses Reacting to the Past in all of his U.S. History survey courses to generate critical thinking and discussion. He believes that placing oneself in a historical context is vital to civic discourse.
Dr. Shay’s primary research area is 20th century United States Western history with an emphasis on radical right-wing movements in the region. Growing up on a farm/ranch near Laurel, Montana gave him a passion for understanding the changes faced by people in the West. His current project is to design a classroom simulation based on the formation of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.