Dr. Coons is a modern European historian who specializes in social and political history and has a special interest and concentration in Women's History. She received her MA and Ph.D. degrees from New York University. Prior to coming to Chestnut Hill College, she taught at SUNY-Oswego and the American College in Athens, Greece. She has lived abroad in Greece, England, and France and along with her husband (also an historian) has been a guest lecturer aboard cruise ships internationally.
Her areas of scholarly expertise are Modern Europe, France, social and women's history, and the history of travel and tourism. She served as an historical consultant for two documentaries relating to the history of ocean liners: "Rescue at Sea" - PBS Documentary: "The American Experience" series, and "Super liners" - CBS News/Discovery Channel Documentary (in which she also appeared).
Her research interests largely focus on women's growth and development. She has published two books “Orphans of the Sweated Trades”: Women Homeworkers in the Parisian Garment Trades (1860-1915) and “Tourist Third Cabin”: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (co-authored with Alexander Varias). She has authored several articles relating to 19th-century French women homeworkers in the Parisian garment industry, women activists in the peace movement in France (19th-20th centuries), young ballet dancers (les petits rats) of the Paris Opéra Ballet of the late 19th century, and most recently women seafarers (20th century). Her work on “les petits rats” was cited in a January 2021 piece for CNN Style. Dr. Coons is a frequent contributor to the journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America. She is a member of the SS United States Conservancy, an organization working tirelessly to keep alive one of America's national treasures, the Big U, as the flagship SS United States that won the great symbol of maritime excellence, the Blue Riband, is called by her loyal fans and maritime enthusiasts.
As Department Chair, Dr. Coons coordinated a series of international “Legacy Conferences” held at the college relating to John F. Kennedy (2003), World War II (2005), 1968 (2008), the American Civil War (2011), World War I (2014), and the Russian Revolution (2017). She teaches a variety of classes including: Western Civilization I & II, Medieval Europe and the Surrounding World, History of Great Britain: Tudors to the Present, French Revolution, France and the Modern World, Survey of Women's History, Women in Modern European Society, Europe in the Age of World War, Twentieth Century Europe, Culture and Society in Modern Europe, Genocide in the Modern World, Women in Global Society, Revolution, War and Peace: Women's Activism in the Modern World, Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, and the Capstone Seminar in History.