After our call for history majors to come forward and tell us how they are using their degrees in the workplace, we have received several responses from people around the country. Stay tuned. In 2010 we will hear from a Hollywood movie producer, a researcher for NBC’s Olympic coverage, a clergyman, a public historian turned children’s librarian, and many others.
But today I want to introduce you to Amy James and Miriam Blackmon. First, I want to thank them for taking the time to respond to our call and for reading our blog.
Amy earned a college degree in humanities with a concentration in history from Messiah College. She is currently employed at Messiah’s Murray Library and is pursuing a masters degree in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She writes:
What I appreciate most about my major is the sense of interconnectedness I gained. The great thing about a humanities major was that instead of living on a specific floor of an academic building for four years, I was able to attend vastly different classes from different departments and schools. Instead of forming a very specific, narrow view on the world (or particular subjects), the humanities major allowed me to see issues from different perspectives. One semester I took classes on a similar topic from a history professor, a literature professor, a music professor, and a sociology professor (two of whom I actually convinced to hold a joint class together!). Not only has this given me a more well-rounded view of the world, but as I pursue my masters program in library science it has helped me to see things from multiple perspectives and connect ideas that others may not see as connected. I know that the combination of my humanities training and library science studies will enable me to aid researchers, libraries, and historical societies to see their collections in different ways.
Amy adds that her training in history prepared her well for her historiographical/literature papers that she has had to write in graduate school.
The other former history major that we a featuring today is Miriam Blackmon, a history teacher and registrar at the Academy of the New Church, a private high school in Bryn Athyn, PA. Miriam writes:
I work for an independent school as a history teacher, department chair and the school registrar. The first two positions are pretty obvious jobs for history majors, the third is a little bit more odd. In my position as registrar I am responsible for coordinating communication between students, teachers, advisors and parents. I must pay careful attention to details in order to be sure that students have fulfilled requirements for graduation (we have students from four countries and many states, I am responsible for evaluating their transcripts and advising them on the courses they must take). I also help to create our academic policies. Majoring in history taught me to consult multiple sources, compile evidence and then create informed arguments that support my recommendations. These skills are vital in my current position. At the end of the year my husband and I will be moving, I am not planning to continue teaching, but am excited to discover other ways to use my undergraduate and graduate training.
There you have it. History majors can make a pretty good career working as librarians and school registrars! Thanks again Amy and Miriam!
And for all of you followers of this series, please send us your history major testimonials!