Bachelor of Arts in History

Garrett Wright

Garrett Wright

Degree: BA in History

When did you graduate? 2012

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major?
Graduate-Level Colonial and Rev. America (Castro); History of Science (Ruswick); History of Film in America (Welky); Social Darwinism and Eugenics in the U.S. (Ruswick)

Where did you live? on campus

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta, Honors College, some school-wide honor society

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? History Day, public history internship (AHPP), Phi Alpha Theta events (movie nights, end of semester events, study skills workshops, conferences)

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA?Conference presentations (PAT national, January 2012; PAT regional, spring 2012), undergraduate research, history honors thesis (advised by Castro), honors college thesis (advised by Donna Bowman), travel grant (summer 2011), many academic opportunities in PAT (study skills workshops, etc.)

What did you plan to do with your degree? Teach or public history

How are you using your degree? Currently in graduate school at UNC, received M.A. in American history (May 2014) and am now working towards PhD (expected 2017)

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Research, teaching, writing, etc.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? Teach, but I am open to working in public history thanks to my internship while at UCA. My degree will aid me in either, as I had excellent training at UCA

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

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Get to know professors, utilize independent studies to hone research skills and interests, present at conferences!, and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the department (especially internships and things like History Day, to learn how historians communicate with and impact their communities)

 

Kat Short

Kat Short

Degree: BA History

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.

 

Julie McVeyJulie McVey

Degree: BA 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!).

 

Kayla Kestersonkayla kesterson

Degree: BA History, minor in Spanish

When did you graduate? May 2010

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? Civil War and Reconstruction (Dr. Foote), Tudor/Stuart England (Dr. O’Hara), US and the Middle East (Dr. Welky), and History of Witchcraft (Dr. Castro): All of these classes broadened my way of thinking and peaked other interests for me.

Where did you live? I lived in Conway Hall as a freshman and Erbach Apartments for the remainder.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I participated in one History Day, several Phi Alpha Theta functions, and I served an internship at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I conducted undergraduate research regarding German immigration to the state of Arkansas. I believe that research, along with assigned research in each of my classes, prepared me for the thesis and articles I later wrote while obtaining my MS in another area of study. Study abroad was one of the most important experiences I had at UCA, and is truly one of the best ways to learn about other languages and cultures.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I was a history student without a cause. I majored in history because I loved the subject matter, not because I was certain there was a related career field for me. I just hoped there was. Off and on, I toyed with the idea of teaching.

How are you using your degree? I work for two historic hotels, sister properties. After going on to get a Master of Science in Hospitality Management, I found a place of employment that combines both of my degrees in a wonderful marriage of history (preservation) and hospitality.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Communication. History teaches us to think critically and to communicate those thoughts to others. I talk to many people every day, both verbally and in written form. Nothing is more important than my ability to communicate.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? History is still my number one interest, but that interest took a turn toward preservation. My goal is to one day use my degree to further a career in or make investments in historic preservation projects.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a BA student at UCA? I learned that I had a passion for learning and for history. I did not begin my undergraduate career as a history major. I just could not stop taking history classes (thanks to the wonderful teaching abilities of UCA history professors) and as a result, it turned into my degree field. Despite the advice of others who told me I would be better off majoring in other things, I have never regretted it.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Some majors are specific and take you to an obvious career path in the end. History does not. You do not have to be a teacher or sit in a basement and read historic documents all day, unless of course, you want to.

Also, be involved in your degree. Take the classes that interest you. Network with other people in the field and learn what it is that you might like to do (or not do) with your degree while you are still obtaining it. Do one or more internships. And definitely take advantage of the skills you are being taught as a history student. You never know in what capacity you will get to use them one day.

 

dylan estes

Dylan Estes

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

When did you graduate? Fall of 2010

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? I did a lot of work in African American history and was really drawn to this subject. I especially enjoyed the course on the Civil Rights Movement. I also liked Role of Arkansas in the Nation.

Where did you live? I was a little bit of a nomad. I moved around a few times, but always lived in Conway.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Chi.

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

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? The Research Seminar course required for the B.A. degree brought the study of history full circle for me. This course helped me to grow from utilizing passive learning techniques to actively researching, discovering, and proposing interpretations of events of the past. My course paper, on the migration of Arkansans to the western states during the Great Depression, is one of my most prized achievements from my undergraduate career because of the amount of dedication it took and the amount of academic growth it represents for me.

What did you plan to do with your degree? My time working on my undergraduate degree was a time of soul searching for me. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something, so I decided to pursue a major with coursework that most interested me. I'm a person with a lot of curiosity, and I liked how studying history gave context to more recent events and helped me to better understand them, so majoring in history seemed like the best path for me.

How are you using your degree? I am enrolled in medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. At first glance it wouldn't seem that a degree in history would be very useful for someone entering a career in health care, but I've actually found that my education (both in history as a whole and my minor in anthropology) has helped me to better relate to patients I've met.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I plan to work in primary care. I hope that as a future physician who has an atypical undergraduate education I will be able to relate to people from many different walks of life and do all that is possible to make them well.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in history? Keep in mind that it's going to be hard work. But also remember that just because it's called “work” doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Take courses you know you'll enjoy but also be open to trying something new. The things you expose yourself to might help you to grow in new and unexpected ways.

 

Rachel M. Acosta

Rachel M. Acosta

Rachel M. Acosta with Cindy Storer (one of the women at the CIA responsible for tracking bin Laden)

Degree: BA History, minor in Asian Studies

When did you graduate? May 2010

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? The most rewarding history classes I took were History of the South and Civil Rights History. I am neither a southerner nor a minority; both of these classes opened my eyes to the struggles that happen in our world. Being a middle class white female I was unaware of my biases, these classes allowed me to step out of my little bubble and see the society around me.

Where did you live? During my time at UCA I lived on Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, AR. I currently live in the Washington, DC area.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I participated in 1 history day, 3 Phi Alpha Theta events, and completed one internship at Little Rock Central High National Historic Site. If I could go back in time, I would have tried to start doing internships much earlier, and complete numerous ones. The experience I gained from the internship I did was IMPERATIVE on the jobs I was able to get after graduation. Not only did the internship open many doors of opportunity to me, it helped me figure out exactly what I wanted (and did not want) to do as my career.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? During the Civil Rights History course, we took a trip to Mississippi to participate in a freedom/memorial march. The experience was multifaceted and forced me out of my comfort zone. It is a trip that has greatly impacted my life; it stills affects the choices I make to this day.

How are you using your degree? I am currently a museum educator at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. I use the skills I gained at UCA every day at the Spy Museum.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Research and presenting: I study a particular time/event in history, then follow a lesson plan to present my new knowledge to school groups of different ages and sizes.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? My plan is to continue at the Spy Museum and possibly pick up contracting jobs at other museums in Washington DC.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA/BSE/MA (whichever degree you completed) in history? The biggest thing I can stress to them would be: start internships early, and complete multiple ones!

 

Brittany Cochran GerkeBrittany Cochran Gerke

Degree: 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 traveling. 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

Degree: 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.

 

Amber WilsonAmber Wilson

Degree: BA 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.