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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!