If you wonder what to do with a history degree, here are some ideas.
Maryanne Cronin, 2011:
Being a history major changed the way I view the world around me. Being a Saint Mary's history graduate, I am confident in my abilities to think globally, converse eloquently, research responsibly, and write clearly. I entered Saint Mary's as an avid history fan, and I graduated with the tools essential to true historical scholarship. With this confidence in my abilities, I am able to look at events in history with an open mind and continually learn from it. My current project is putting my talents to use. I have been interning with the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center, reading documents and countless binders to develop reports. I am reading all of the success stories, statistics, programs, and getting a direct view of how a non-profit operates. I really love it.
Erin Kaufman, Class of 2009:
After graduating, I moved to New York City and worked at a non-profit called Highbridge Commmunity Life Center. With no budget, I was tasked with establishing a clothing bank for our unemployed comunity members. Having no experience in business, clothing banks, or running such an intense project, I was able to research and eventually work with multiple corporations that donated everything we needed, from clothing racks, to hangers, to actual clothing. Within a year, my clothing closet had more than $90,000 worth of donations. After a year in New York, I moved home to Orange County, California. Currently I work at Blind Children's Learning Center where I run the Volunteer Center. Although I may not use my history degree in a conventional manner, I would not be where I am today without it. The skills I gained from being a History major, whether it is from research to writing, enables me to effectively communicate with my volunteers, the staff, and corporations.
Charles Smith, Class of 2009:
After working for Amnesty International for over a year, I entered law school and I am thrilled to say that I was just accepted (in 2011) into a joint degree program with the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy in New Jersey. It's a combo J.D./Master in Diplomacy and International Relations and I really cannot wait to be studying something very comparable to what I studied at St. Mary's. It's going to be a long road (an extra year of school) but I am certainly looking forward to it.
Peter Dowdalls, Class of 2008:
Graduating college was one of the most liberating yet terrifying experiences of my life, especially in the economic climate of 2008. As a history major, I tossed ideas about what I would actually WANT to do after I graduated. My senior year, I spent JanTerm in China with professors Heung (anthropology) and Santiago (history). I studied Chinese history, so it made perfect sense to actually go there. That trip changed my life. All anxiety and uncertainty flew out the window. As a history major, I garnered a greater appreciation for understanding the modern world and how it came to be. It drove me to go out there and SEE it. I decided to travel all over the world once I graduated. In 2008, I left Saint Mary's to begin my journey. At the time, I was in a punk band called "This Time Next Year." That summer, we embarked on what would be one of many US tours. In between touring, I saved enough money to spend time in Europe and Japan. Our band also toured the United Kingdom and, just recently, Australia. History has shown me that there is a wealth of knowledge about the world, but as historians we must go out there and see it for ourselves to truly appreciate who and what we are (and were!). Saint Mary's gave me that opportunity and that's something I carry with me every day. Currently, I am gearing up to begin my MA in Political Science at San Francisco State (Fall 2012). With that, I hope to go out into the world once more. This time, however, my focus will be the Middle East. With my MA, I plan on doing work in developing and rebuilding nations afflicted by war and conflict. Without the worldly knowledge I gained through SMC's phenomenal History Department, I never would have come this far.
Daniel Massey, Class of 2006:
After graduation, I began working for a digital media company in San Francisco. Despite steady career growth, my wife and I decided that our paths, while rewarding financially, were not providing the cultural and life experience we wanted. In the summer of 2010, we moved to Turkey. I taught teaching English to Armenian school children and volunteered with a non-governmental organization. Through that work, I landed a position as the content editor at a digital economic and political analysis company. Realizing that I needed to pursue a graduate degree to further my career, I applied to and was accepted at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. I will be starting in the Fall 2012 and specializing in Security, Law and Diplomacy.
My history degree established a foundation in research, analysis and writing that I have called upon in every position I have held. Even more valuable than these skills, however, was the in-class interaction with my professors and fellow students. The intimate environment created by the small class sizes fostered the ability to listen, quickly analyze, and then respectufully share your own opinion. This dynamic is exactly what I encountered in the professional world, whether in meetings with clients or when leading a team.
Vanessa Rebecchi, Class of 2006:
I was a substitute teacher in Hollister, California, while I waited to start the Multi-Subject Program and Masters in Education at SMC. I became active in the presidential campaign, supporting Barack Obama and working in voter registration in the South Bay. In January 2011, I moved to Sacramento to work as a legislative aide. My work with constituents in the State Assembly in Sacramento involves research all the time. It comes easy to me because I wrote all those papers at St. Mary's. History was the best training for this kind of political work.
Brandon Birr, Class of 2006:
I am a U.S. History and Spanish teacher in Pasadena, California. I often find myself going back to my notes and papers from my history classes. I use my thesis in a lesson on writing a research paper. I don't tell them it's my writing. I have them analyze it, critique it, and put the argument in their own words. I also use a lot of primary sources in my class, and my love for them came from my history classes at St. Mary's. As a teacher I enjoy using a good amount of primary sources because that is when you get great discussions and some excellent critical thinking.
Michael Chin, Class of 2006:
I began Gonzaga School of Law in the fall of 2007 and graduated in 2009. The education I received as a history major from SMC was of great value dealing with the daily rigors of law school. Law students are introduced to primary source research case law and secondary treatise books which must be analyzed in a similar fashion to the research and analysis done at Saint Mary's. The focus in Legal Writing is argument through strong declaratory statements supported by evidence and analysis. I first learned how to write like that at Saint Mary's.
Katie Kimball, Class of 2006:
I am managing corporate operations at a new model law firm in Manhattan, and while it's not where I thought I would be as a history major walking across the stage in '06, without being taught how to think, I'd never be teaching myself how to do things like negotiate complicated lease agreements, create complicated budgets, and gain professional credibility. St. Mary's changed the way I see the world, and my experience there has equipped me with the mental tools I've need to go from a history major who couldn't add to a veterinary assistant to office manager to head of corporate operations at a $120 million company.
Chris Vogt, Class of 2006:
I graduated and immediately started graduate school. I completed my teaching credential in 2008 and finished my Masters in Education in the fall of 2010. My MA. project was developing curriculum to teach the eugenics movement in the United States and its ongoing legacy. I currently teach social science and earth science at Ayala High Schools Chino Hills, Southern California. I am also the baseball coach.
Stephanie Roybal, Class of 2005
I knew coming to St. Mary's that I wanted to be a teacher. The Subject Matter Preparation Program in the history department was a lifesaving program for me. It allowed me to take courses that would show academically that I was prepared to teach social science, which allowed me to waive the CSET exam. In my senior year, I won a Lasallian Educator Fellowship from the graduate School of Education at SMC to receive my single subject credential. I have been an instructor at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California, for six years now. I am in charge of the Open Mic Nights on campus run by students and I moderate the MAYA Club as well.
I look back at my experiences at SMC and see all the opportunities my alma mater gave me, including a broad outlook on society, education, and life. Teaching in the Lasallian tradition is not just a method to balance book work--it's a process of educating and experiencing social awareness with students and allowing them to discover their place in the world. As a result, I am now also at the Buttimer Institute for Lasallian Studies at SMC and I will be returning to campus summer of 2012 to study for the M.Ed., with an emphasis on Lasallian Studies.
Nicole Jackson, Class of 2005
I finished graduate school at The Ohio State University, in the History department. My thesis compares political activism and feminism among black women in the United States and England. I am now an Assistant Professor of African-American history at Bowling Green University in Ohio.
Robert Orum, Class of 2004:
Robert works for the Boy Scouts in San Jose, California, and organizes a soccer league for Mexican-American youth. He is also a soccer coach.
Jeanae (Morgan) Lovel, Class of 2004:
I'm currently a commercial lines underwriter for an insurance company. I have been in this industry for seven years, but in 2008 I started the MA. degree in History at Cal State University, East Bay. I am working on my thesis project, which is about women in hip-hop. My focus has been on public history, so my project will include a website about my topic. I also had the opportunity to intern at the Livermore Heritage Guild last year and learn more about artifact preservation, archiving, and other museum work.
Alex Avina, Class of 2002:
After graduating from St. Mary's, I accepted a five-year fellowship at the University of Southern California to enroll in their History doctoral program--a feat for which both Professor Myrna Santiago and the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers in Andover, Massachusetts deserve most of the credit. Without them, or the solid foundation provided by St. Mary's history department in historical scholarship and research, I would not be in this profession. I spent a year and a half (2006-2007), funded by the Fulbright Program and USC, doing research in Mexico City at the National Archives and recording oral histories in various parts of rural Mexico. My dissertation focuses on two peasant guerrilla movements that emerged in the Mexican state of Guerrero in the late 1960s. I am working on a book on the same topic right now at Florida State University, where I am an Assistant Professor teaching Mexican history.
Garret Deal, Class of 2002:
In the fall of 2003, Garret began his formal legal studies at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. In the summer of 2004, he traveled to Salzburg, Austria, where he studied under current United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. During his final year in law school, Garret worked in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office in their Felony Trial Unit. Garret graduated from law school in 2006 and is currently a complex litigation attorney in Oakland, where he defends multinational chemical manufacturers and the petrochemical industry in lawsuits alledging environmental contamination, personal injury and products liability.
Jaime Fernandez, Class of 2001:
A few months after graduation, I moved back home to Arbuckle, California, and became an English teacher at Pierce High School, was an assistant coach for the varsity football team, and began work on my single subject teaching credential. The following school year, I taught U.S. history and world geography and finished the credential. In 2003, I was accepted in the MA in Modern History at University College, in London. I successfully completed the program in 2004 and was able to travel around a bit in Europe before returning to the US. I then became a long-term substitute teacher in Spanish in Miramonte High in Orinda, then became a full time teacher of Government and Economics, and World History. I was also an assistant track and field and football coach. In 2007 I returned to SMC to work in the Admissions Office. Not sure what will come next, but I know that with the amazing education I received at St. Mary's, I'll be incredibly well prepared!
Danny Wilcox, Class of 2000:
Since I left SMC I have been on a mission to change the face of education as we know it. I received a Masters of Arts in Teahing at Tufts University in Boston. I did my intern teaching full time at the Boston Arts Academy in 2001. I returned to the Bay Area and worked in Oakland for two years, then went to New York at Discovery High School, where I was a founding member of this new school in the Bronx. I created school-wide systems for discipline and professional development, vision and mission. I spent two years at DHS before relocating to Seattle and taking a history position at another start-up school called Global Connections High School. I led the charge for cultural competency among the faculty, as I was the only teacher of color in the building! From there I decided I wanted to make policy changes, so I attended Northeastern University in Boston to receive my Administrator's License. I returned to the Boston Arts Academy to do my principal internship, where I became an Assistant Headmaster. My next step was to return to New York to become the principal of a charter school. I came home to the East Bay in 2010 and I am now vice-principal at a charter school in Hayward. Pretty soon I will take over my own school.
Carlos Martinez, Class of 2000:
After I graduated, I spent the summer as Camp Director at a Boy Scout Camp in New Mexico, then backpacked through South America for six months. Upon coming back to the U.S., I worked as a law clerk while waiting for my application to get cleared with the Peace Corps. In October 2001, I began my two year journey as a Peace Corp volunteer in Paraguay. I was an Environmental Education Extensionist and worked with teachers and community members on a wide variety of life improving projects. I then traveled for a year throughout South America. When I got back to the U.S. I got my elementary education certification and taught fourth grade in my hometown of Albuquerque. In 2005 I got married and with my wife moved to Central Wisconsin where she pursued her Masters Degree. I started a job with the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive while being a part-time student working towards my own Masters in Environmental Education. The best thing that being a history major has done for me is to give me curiosity and respect for other countries and cultures. It also taught me to write, read, and research well. I am confident that I could pursue any job in the "real world" that I felt inclined to pursue. In the fall 2011, I started law school at the University of New Mexico.
Sarah (Rosen) Kirland, Class of 1997:
I attended law school and I have my own practice in Irvine, California. The analytical approach to teaching history at Saint Mary's prepared me for the analysis and writing required in law school.
Lauren Weaver, Class of 1997:
After graduating SMC with a minor in History, Lauren Weaver pursued a Single Subject Teaching Credential from St. Mary's School of Education. As a high school history teacher for eight years, Lauren used the knowledge from her history minor to teach World History and U.S. history. In 2008, Lauren left the classroom to work with the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project as a "Teaching American History" Grant Coordinator for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. As Grant Coordinator, Lauren works with 5th, 8th, and 11th grade U.S. History teachers in the district to develop history curriculum based on reading and writing strategies that support English learners and struggling readers. In this capacity, Lauren works with two other SMC history majors, Nicole Davi, who is a grant member who currently teaches A.P. and regular history classes in Walnut Creek, and Kelly O'Donnell, who works for the U.S. Department of Education as a Manager and Program Analyst that reviews the Teaching American History Grant that Lauren coordinates.
If you are a graduate of the History Deparment and wish to share your story, please contact the department chair.