Bachelor of Arts in History

Julie McVeyJulie McVey

Degree: B.A. History

When did you graduate? May 2011

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? Almost all of them! Women’s History, Internship in Southern History at the Clinton Foundation, and Senior Seminar in particular come to mind.

Where did you live? I lived on-campus in New Hall and Farris Hall through undergrad.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta, Anthropology Club

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I did an internship my junior year at the Clinton Foundation, which was influential in my career path as a museum professional.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? My freshman and sophomore years I participated in Laughing Stock, the UCA Honors College sketch comedy troupe. I studied abroad in Shanghai, China during the summer of 2009, spent a year and a half as a research assistant cataloguing and researching the anthropology department’s West Mexican shaft tomb pottery collection, wrote an honor’s thesis on the pottery collection and created an online collection database using CONTENTdm, and presented on the collection at the Arkansas Sociology conference in 2010. I also presented my senior seminar paper, “Facing the Stained Glass Ceiling: The Ordinations of the Philadelphia Eleven and the Trajectory of the American Episcopal Church,” at two undergraduate conferences in 2011.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I planned to apply for a job in the museum field, preferably in history, and eventually attend graduate school in history or museum studies.

How are you using your degree? I began working at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of African American history, a month after graduation. I have worked at MTCC in the collections department for nearly three years and plan to attend the University of Maryland to obtain dual master’s degrees in history and library science in fall 2014.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Historical research and writing are integral to my job. I research artifacts and state history to create exhibits and to preserve and better understand the history and importance of MTCC’s collections.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? In graduate school, I plan to concentrate on gender history and digital curation and archiving so I can work in the history and new media field of the museum and public history profession. My degree from UCA allowed me to work in my ideal career field straight out of undergrad and will allow me to attend a top university for my graduate training.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a BA History student at UCA? I learned that I actually wanted to be a historian! When I started my undergraduate degree, I thought I wanted to concentrate in anthropology or sociology. After taking a few history classes and doing an internship with the Clinton Foundation, though, I realized that my real passion lay in public history and educating myself and others on the importance of our past in understanding the present.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in History? I would advise a prospective history student to be ready to develop a good deal of self-discipline, because you’ll need it to get all of your reading and writing done. Be able to think critically and know that most of the time there is no right answer, only a strongly researched, well-written argument. Also be prepared to spend a lot of time hunting down primary sources, learn to love the library, and be nice to archivists and curators (they have all the good stuff!).

Brittany Cochran GerkeBrittany Cochran Gerke

BA: History

When did you graduate? May 2008

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? Women’s History with Dr. Castro, WWI and WWII histories with Dr. Jones, Victorian Britain with Dr. Pauly

Where did you live? Conway Hall, Minton Hall (RIP), Bear Village, and then off-campus for the last couple years.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta (History honors fraternity), Alpha Chi (Honors fraternity)

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I didn’t volunteer for History Day during college, I didn’t even know it existed (we didn’t have it where I grew up).  But I’ve volunteered for the last two years, judging both at regional and state competitions, and I absolutely love it. Those kids are so smart and work so hard, and it’s just inspiring. It reminds me why I loved history in the first place.  I recommend it to college students, both as a resume builder and as a way to remember why we’re in this field.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I, Unfortunately, didn’t get to do any cool travelling. But I was close friends with a few people that did, and I highly recommend it. From what I hear, those experiences are enriching beyond what you could even imagine.

I did thoroughly enjoy doing research for my undergrad senior seminar paper. It’s one thing to read a book someone else researched and analyze that, but to actually go digging in primary sources and get your hands dirty (sometimes literally) in the actual history is absolutely priceless. 

What did you plan to do with your degree? Honestly, I had no idea. I distinctly remember announcing at the end-of-the-year history department banquet that I was going to “make it up as I go along.” Not exactly a strategy I recommend, but it ended up working out for me.

How are you using your degree? I currently work for the National Archives and Records Administration at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. It’s the job I didn’t know then that I always wanted. I get to put my hands on history every single day!

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? The biggest skill I use is historical preservation.  I also have to apply the historical analysis techniques I learned in college to determine whether the documents I’m working with are responsive to requests or not. And writing. Lots of writing!

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I'm pretty well settled in my career in the archives, but I'm toying with the idea of getting a Master's degree in Public History. I'm really interested in bridging the gap between history as we've grown accustomed to it and this increasingly technology-driven digital world we live in. Even something as seemingly innocuous as social media has huge implications for history, with the way news breaks on Twitter before there's even a press conference held, and the way things go viral. I'm endlessly fascinated by that, and hope to use my training as a "proper" historian to have an impact on how we'll log these events & happenings into the historical record and make them accessible to future generations for research.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a History student at UCA? Well it should be known that I didn't start my tenure at UCA with the plan to major in history. It wasn't until I was fortunate enough to have class, just a Gen Ed history class, with this one amazing professor who really made history come alive for me. She was so passionate and inspiring and I thought -- yes. That's what I want to be. I had no idea if I COULD be that, but the history department at UCA is made up of amazing folks who believe in you and help you reach your full potential. Over the course of my four years at UCA, I grew into a confident, capable person. Every year spent there just reaffirmed that I was where I was supposed to be and that I was doing what I was supposed to do with my life. It's true what they say about "If you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life." I mean, sure, some days require more coffee than others, but at the end of the day, I'm doing what I had no idea I always wanted to do, and UCA helped me get here.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in History? Get involved. Half the reason I didn’t know what I was doing was because I didn’t know what was out there. Intern somewhere (say, the Clinton Library?). Talk to your professors. Yes, they are scary omniscient beings who are in charge of whether you pass/fail, but they’re also compassionate and WANT you to succeed.  They really are your best resource!

Also, most archives will let you take photographs of the documents, so save yourself some spare change and bring a good camera instead of making 1000 copies of research. And this is just a fun little quote I have hanging at my desk. It reminds me why I'm doing this and why I love it so much: "So little people like me have to keep the true story alive. That way, when the revolution ends, and people come looking for the history, we can say, ‘here it is – we kept it for you.”-Mauriel Joslyn

Shanna Wooten JonesShanna Wooten Jones

BA: History

When did you graduate? Spring 2008

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? American Women’s History & History of Witchcraft – Dr. Castro; World War I; Europe 1914-1949 – Dr. Jones; America in Depression & War – Dr. Welky; Seminar – Dr. Barnes

Where did you live? Mountaineer Apartments

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta – History Honors Society; Alpha Sigma Alpha – Social Sorority; UCA Ambassadors; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? No, unfortunately.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? In the summer of 2007 I was able to study abroad at the University of Westminster in London and use the credits I earned toward my BA in History at UCA.
I chose to do my undergraduate thesis on the Daughters of the American Revolution and their relief efforts in the First World War, and this gave me extensive research experience that was helpful in both my education and my career.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I just knew that I loved history and wanted a career in a related field, and my degree has helped me achieve that.

How are you using your degree? I am an Archivist for the William J. Clinton Foundation. I began my career as an Archives Technician for the National Archives and Records Administration at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? The skills I acquired while researching my undergraduate thesis have become very useful in my current job. I learned how records are kept and how to find what I needed. This knowledge helps me determine the best way to preserve and organize the records I work with every day.   

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I plan to continue my work as an Archivist. As a History major, I did a fair amount of research in libraries and archives. This experience allows me to view my work through the lens of a researcher, which is extremely helpful in my career as I preserve documents that might eventually be used in future research projects by other students and historians.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a History student at UCA? I learned that I loved History. It was always interesting to me, but it was because of the UCA History Department that I realized just how much I loved it. I also learned to think for myself and pursue my own interests, rather than follow a pre-planned course of study that many majors require for all of its students. As a history major, I had so many options to choose from, and I was able to tailor my education to my own interests and specialties.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in History? Take the courses that truly interest you, especially if they are unique, because those are the courses you will remember long after you graduate. The courses that focus on specific interests that are the most fun and make your time as a history major so enjoyable. If a professor loves a specific/unique topic so much that they can create an entire class around it, then that’s an excellent sign that the professor will be enthusiastic and interesting, and that the class will be enjoyable and memorable.

Kat ShortKat Short

Degree: BA

When did you graduate? May 2012

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? Victorian Britain with Pauly, Ancient Civ with Craun, Early National History 1783-1848 with Foote, and Atlantic Slave Trade with Harper.

Where did you live? Farris Hall
What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? Interned Senior Year, last semester at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? Studied abroad in Paris and Florence, Honors College Alum

What did you plan to do with your degree? Work in Public History

How are you using your degree? To get a Masters in Public Service at the Clinton School

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Writing and editing programmatic materials

What are your plans? After graduation, I spent a year in AmeriCorps NCCC-FEMACorps serving disaster survivors in New York, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Texas. Now I am working for the Red Cross in Houston, TX as a Recovery Specialist. I want to pursue a career in Emergency Management and my degree has allowed me to apply for and get accepted into the Clinton School of Public Service, which I will be attending in August of this year.

What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? My degree allowed me to apply for and get accepted into the Clinton School of Public Service

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a BA student at UCA? That I could be interested in many different areas of history and not limit myself to one era.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Take classes in as many different eras as possible, if only to experience all the amazing professors who teach in the History Department.

 

Amber WilsonAmber Wilson

Degree: BA in History

When did you graduate? 2005

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? Reform Movements in America with Dr. Lorien Foote. Germany Since 1918 with Dr. Ken Barnes.  Colonial and Revolutionary American History with Dr. Wendy Lucas. The Great War with Dr. Don Jones. American Military History with Dr. Roger Pauly

Where did you live? Honors College Housing on Campus (Wingo, Denney, Baridon, apartment)

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Chi, Gamma Beta Phi

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I was a History Day volunteer for several years. 

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I presented a paper at the Arkansas Phi Alpha Theta annual meeting. I participated in a study abroad trip with Dr. Ron Fritze and Dr. Eugene Corcoran to London to study English history and culture. I wrote an Honors undergraduate thesis with Dr. Ken Barnes as my advisor. 

What did you plan to do with your degree? I wanted to either go to law school or pursue a PhD in History. I wasn’t completely sure what my future held when I graduated.

How are you using your degree? I’m the instructional services librarian at Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas.  I’ve been a member of the library faculty here for 6 years.  After my BA in History, I earned an MS in Information Studies at the University Texas and later I earned an MS in Instructional Technology from the University of Central Arkansas.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Performing research and critically analyzing information allows me to help library users find the resources they need to be successful.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I want to continue to work in libraries, and I hope to be a library director someday.  My BA in History provides me with a good foundation of critical thinking, communication, and research skills, which will help me succeed in the future.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a BA student at UCA? When I first arrived at college, it was very difficult for me to be open-minded. While I knew that adjusting from small town life would be difficult, I did not realize how narrow my world view was, until I started meeting new people and expanding my knowledge base. My experiences at UCA, both inside and outside of the classroom, challenged me to see the world from many perspectives.  

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Get plenty of sleep and pursue an area that really sparks your interest and that you are passionate about.

Tiffany Hoeffken MooreTiffany Hoeffken Moore

Degree: BA History (religious studies minor)

When did you graduate? 2004.

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? While taking American History with Mr. Martin, I realized the extent I enjoyed history and decided to make it my major. I took research methods with Dr. Lore, which exposed me to the “world of academia” in a way I never understood it before. I learned about the necessary researching components for any scholarly work respected by a discipline. I took several European history courses with Dr. Jones, who quickly became my favorite professor. I enjoyed his humor, and I was interested in the content/era of his courses. In addition, Dr. Don Jones took the time and effort to essentially tutor me by critiquing the papers I submitted; thus he drastically improved my writing skills. I credit much of my success in undergraduate and graduate school to him. During my last semester (Fall 2004), I took Women in American History with Dr. Lucas Castro; her enthusiasm for the content was engaging and contagious.

Where did you live? Conway Hall (freshmen year). Then I lived in off-campus apartments.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I took Survey of English History with Dr. Fritze and Dr. Corcoran, which included staying in London, England for two weeks.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I was in the UCA band freshman year.

What did you plan to do with your degree? Plan? I did not have a “plan” necessarily. I was open to a variety of career paths, such as teaching public school, teaching at the collegiate level, working at a museum, or pursing other fields/disciplines once I earned a degree.   

How are you using your degree? Once graduating, I initially used my degree while working at the Historic Arkansas Museum. I worked there while pursing my initial teaching certification. While teaching, I routinely used my history degree. While teaching, I pursed specialist areas within the realm of education. At UCA (2009), I completed an MSE (Master of Science in Education) with an emphasis in special education. In 2011, I completed a graduate program for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments. In 2014, I completed a graduate certification program in Orientation and Mobility for the Blind. I now work in the public school system as a Facilitator for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? In my opinion, many people do not realize the extensive researching and writing skills that one learns in a history program, in comparison to other disciplines. I have been well received in my current field partly due to my writing skills, which I frequently use in extensive report writing.

While pursing graduate programs in other disciplines, numerous professors were very complimentary of my writing and research skills; I promise I did not have those prior to studying history.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? As I move forward, I plan to become very involved in professional organizations as they relate to the vision field.  Ideally, I will use my researching and writing skills for future scholarly pursuits/publications.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a BA student at UCA? I learned I love history.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Pursue a field in which you are passionate and excited to know more about; you will learn and grow the most from those experiences.