Master of Arts in History

Misti HarperMisti Harper

Degree: MA History

When did you graduate? May 2011

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? I especially enjoyed Dr. Wendy L. Castro’s “History of Witchcraft” and “History of American Women” courses. As a Ph. D. student with a minor field in gender studies, these courses provided a more-than-ample foundation for me to tackle my masters thesis that examined women’s roles in political crises and will continue to shape my work as I parlay that thesis into a dissertation. I also found Dr. David A. O’Hara’s course “The History of Ireland” and seminar “The Troubles” to be two of the most influential classes I took at the University of Central Arkansas. These courses enabled me to draw significant parallels between the American South and Northern Ireland’s civil rights struggles, which form the cornerstone of my current comparative research project.

Where did you live? A house in Little Rock with my husband

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? During my years as a master’s student, I taught social studies and writing courses at Camp Robinson military base for the Army National Guard GED Plus Program. I also served as a judge for History Day papers in spring 2010.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I presented my masters project “Southern Magnolias and Orange Lilies” at the Second Annual Texas A & M Graduate Student Conference in February 2011; at the Second Annual History Graduate Student Association Conference at Louisiana State University in March 2011; and at the Arkansas Historical Association Conference at the Historic Arkansas Museum at Little Rock in April 2011.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I applied and was accepted to the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University history graduate programs. I chose to attend the University of Arkansas, where I am currently in the third year of my doctorate program under the direction of Dr. Calvin White, Jr., a fellow alumnus of the University of Central Arkansas. I will take my comprehensive examinations in spring 2014.

How are you using your degree? I am using my Masters of Arts in History to pursue my Ph. D.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? The methodological research and time management skills that I learned as a masters student have been the most essential in preparing me for a Ph. D. program and in keeping me focused as a student.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? After completion of my comprehensive examinations and dissertation, I plan to apply for a professorship at liberal arts colleges and universities and four-year state programs. I am especially excited by the prospect of teaching at historically Black colleges and universities. Ideally, I will be able to teach in the South; however, my studies have recently turned my attention to civil rights struggles within the Midwest that are fascinating and open new avenues of opportunity for me as an aspiring professor.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a History student at UCA? When I first applied to the University of Central Arkansas, I was already teaching at Camp Robinson and my initial goal was to obtain a masters degree for the purpose of teaching online courses at a junior college. I quickly realized that I not only enjoyed teaching generally, but I loved research and writing as well. Even better, I learned that I had a gift for both and the drive to pursue an education beyond a masters degree. However, I could not have earned my Masters of Arts in History and would not be in the process of earning my Ph.D. if not for the tremendous talent and support of the faculty that I found at the University of Central Arkansas.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a MA in History? PASSION! I encourage anyone who wants to earn his or her Masters of Arts in History to find the time period, person, or general area of interest that entices. If a person is not thrilled at the idea of spending copious hours engrossed in research, that person is definitely studying the wrong topic! Truly, a student’s passion for his or her subject is what will motivate them to continue studying, writing, engaging, and learning on the path toward earning a masters degree, and what will make the experience one of the most rewarding.

 

Rodney HarrisRodney Harris

Degree: MA History

When did you graduate? I received my BA in the Summer of 2009, I graduated from UCA with my MA in History in the Spring of 2011.

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? For me Early National History and Civil War

Where did you live? While I worked on my MA at UCA I kept an apartment in Conway and traveled two and a half hours home to my wife on weekends.

What groups did you belong to? I was involved in Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? I presented a paper at the Arkansas Historical Association

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? Not only did I get to present original research at a conference, I also attended two national conferences (The Southern Historical Association).

What did you plan to do with your degree? I am currently a third year PhD student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville where I am a Graduate Research Assistant and a Diane D. Blair Fellow in Southern History and Culture.

How are you using your degree? I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant to the editor of the Arkansas Historic Quarterly.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? Research abilities that my MA Thesis advisor, Lorien Foote taught me.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? Once I complete my PhD I plan to pursue a tenure track teaching position at a college or university.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a History student at UCA? I came to UCA planning to get my MA and teach at the Community College level, the faculty at UCA who took me under their wing helped show me that I could continue on and eventually earn my PhD.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a BA in History? A BA in History is a great choice for a major whether it your final goal or if you are going on to pursue a Graduate Degree. A Liberal Arts degree provides you with the training to enter many diverse fields.

 

Robin English

Robin Burge English

Degree: MA

When did you graduate? 2008

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? I really enjoyed Dr. Pauly’s 19th Century Imperialism Class. This is an era that I enjoy studying. Dr. Barnes’ Holocausts in History Class will stay with me forever. To say that I enjoyed it would be wrong. To make me understand how important it is to stay aware of the issues happening all around the world, would be the greatest testament as to its influence.

Where did you live? Searcy. I commuted.

What groups did you belong to? I was not a part of any group in my Master’s Program.

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? Yes. I am a History Day junky!!! I teach high school history. There is no other teaching method as effective as the History Day model.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I was on campus very little as a graduate student. As an under-grad, I was very involved on campus. I was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority, I served on the Student Orientation Staff, and I was a member of Phi Alpha Theta. I also helped with History Day each spring.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I planned on continuing my career in education. I may pursue teaching on the collegiate level at some point.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? I am teaching high school students to be historians.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I can stay in the field of education at the public school level or I may enter any number of other occupations. I will likely stay in public schools.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a MA student at UCA? I learned that I was a very capable student. My professors were very willing to work with me where I felt deficient. In my graduate program, I was mostly challenged to think deeper than I ever have. I rose to the challenge and, in turn, have started this same approach with my own students.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a MA in history? Be prepared for a challenge. The UCA graduate program in history is awesome and you will walk away with a solid knowledge of history and historical analysis skills.

 

Nick TrustyNick Trusty

Degree: MA

When did you graduate? 2008

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major?
Dr. Foote’s classes really forced me to jump into the verbal participation aspect of Graduate courses. It was uncomfortable for me, but when you grade depends on it and Dr. Foote gives you a direct “fair warning” you just have to get it done. Learning that skill has been critical in my current teaching career.

Where did you live? Greenbrier, AR

What groups did you belong to?
I really didn't get into this side and sometimes I wish that I had. While I was in school I had the Graduate Assistant job along with a full time job in the banking world. I just didn't have time between those and my class load.

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? History Day, it was a lot of fun. It was rewarding for me to be a judge along with the History department faculty. Having peer-level discussions with those individuals did a great deal for my confidence in my content knowledge.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? Being a Graduate Assistant was very rewarding for me. Dr. Lucas was a wonderful person to have as an advisor during that time. In addition, the experiences with the other GAs and the other graduate students was amazing. The GA office was always abuzz with good dialogue and camaraderie. It was a priceless moment to look around a room full of a dozen graduate students all reading yet another book as fast as possible before class started in 2 hours.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I planned on getting a job either with the State or the Federal government working in a museum or public agency.

How are you using your degree? At first I used it very little, those above mentioned career options didn’t fall in line with my family’s needs. However, after several years in the banking field, I am now a Secondary level teacher with the Arch Ford Education Cooperative. I am currently teaching Social Studies and Language Arts at the Crossroads Alternative Learning Center on the Conway Jr. High Campus.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job?
Lots of content knowledge, analytical and critical thinking, and editing.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? I plan on staying in the teaching field until retirement. Already having my MA allows me several more opportunities as I build my experience. I plan to pursue Ed.D. studies after a few more years of classroom teaching.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a MA student at UCA?That I was capable of performing at a higher educational level than I thought I could. Going into my orals, I didn't know how on earth I was going to survive it. I knew I would just freeze and not be able to conduct myself, but that didn't happen. Farthest from it, my board of professors may comment to the contrary, but I think I knocked it out of the park.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a MA in history? Assuming you still have Oral exams before you can graduate, take them as early in your last year as possible. I took mine at the beginning of the semester, it takes the pressure off, plus if you don't pass you still have time to reschedule and try again before graduation gets there. Also, when you pick your board, all the professors you think will be easier for you to handle, will in fact be the toughest. Dr. Foote, Dr. Pauly, and Dr. Barnes threw down in that exam. They even pulled in my undergraduate work in Anthropology and asked me to tie it all together...STUDY EVERYTHING!

 

Daniel CockrellDaniel Cockrell

Degree:  MA History

When did you graduate? 2004

What were some of the most rewarding/influential classes in your major? I gained something from each of the classes I took while completing my degree. Standouts where the seminars such as 20th century America, Holocaust in history, European studies, and Latin American studies. My ability to research and write improved drastically.

Where did you live? Lonoke Co.

What groups did you belong to? Phi Alpha Theta

Did you participate in any experiences outside the classroom in your major field? During my time as a graduate student I started giving tours at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock. I also started teaching undergrad history courses at Pulaski Technical College. I helped with History Day some.

What other experiences did you have that enriched your time as a student at UCA? I traveled with a group to London, England for history course. I feel that I gained a lot of perspective from the time I spent in conversation with my professors.

What did you plan to do with your degree? I planned to return to the public schools to teach.

How are you using your degree? I am currently the Youth Education Coordinator at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock.

What disciplinary skills do you use most often in your current job? I research and develop educational programs to teach a wide variety of Historical topics to all ages.

What are your plans? What will your degree allow you to do/accomplish as you move forward? Teaching is something I enjoy. My degree allows me to continue in this field.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing you learned about yourself during your time as a MA History student at UCA?  My writing improved more than I could have imagined.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a MA in History? Have a plan. Have a good idea of what you are going to do with this degree. Enjoy the work.