I thought I would share a quick post about an event that I will be speaking at in Brockport on Thursday, April 17th. It is a History Forum Alumni Panel, put on by the History Department at Brockport. I completed by BS in History at Brockport, as well as my MA in American History, so I was asked to talk about my educational experience and future career plans at this panel. I’m actually pretty excited about it – I love the idea of inspiring other people to get degrees in history, I think that there is so much potential for history graduates, especially when that degree is paired with other disciplines and work experiences. (The evening of the panel is also my last day at my current job before I start at the Adirondack Museum, so that’s exciting in itself).
A history degree in itself is incredibly versatile – which I have found a lot of people to be unaware of. As an undergraduate and a graduate, I discovered that people outside of academia didn’t even ask what I wanted to do with my degree – they assumed that I was going to be a social studies teacher. In reality, a degree in history actually demonstrates incredibly strong writing skills, analytical thinking, attention to detail, problem solving and intuitiveness. Yes, a lot of history majors go on to be social studies teachers, and that’s great – but there is SO much more that can be done with this awesome degree.
I was actually always more interested in the public history side of the discipline, and did several internships at museums throughout college. I also started working in the field of Marketing while completing my undergrad – which at the time was purely circumstantial, but I found that I really enjoyed marketing, and decided that pairing public history and marketing opened up a really interesting niche – Museum Marketing!
With that goal in mind, I took the necessary steps to get exactly where I wanted to be, and just recently accepted a job on the Marketing Team at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, which I couldn’t be more thrilled about.
In any case, history degrees can open a lot of doors to a young academic or young professional, and at the Alumni Panel next week I plan on discussing this relationship between academia and the professional world, and hopefully expressing to history undergrads at Brockport just how valuable their degree really is.
In my opinion, there are 3 ultra-important skills that a history major can take away from their educational experience and apply to the job market. They are as follows:
1. The ability to formulate and defend an argument. Assembling materials, reviewing facts, and forming a strong, well supported opinion.
2. Strong and concise writing. SO important in the job market. People think English Majors have strongest writing. I beg to differ!
3. Confidence to challenge established theories & perspectives. What History major doesn’t love tearing things apart. Guns Germs and Steel anyone?
Also, check out this great article from Boston University, “So, You Think You Want to Study History?“