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NEWS & EVENTS

Alumni Spotlight Interviews

Penelope Muse Abernathy

Penelope Muse Abernathy, B.A, 1973

Penelope Muse Abernathy is the Knight Chair of Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating from UNCG, she went on to earn an M.B.A. and an M.S. from Columbia University. Dr. Emily J. Levine, career liaison for the department, interviewed her in 2016.

  1. When did you first develop an interest in history?

    From my mother, a junior high school social studies/language arts teacher and graduate of UNCG, 1939. Plus, the history professors at UNCG were amazing storytellers. I honestly looked forward to every lecture in every history class I took.

  2. What do you value most about your history degree?

    As Winston Churchill once said, "The farther backward you look, the farther forward you can see." From my days at UNCG, I developed a lifelong passion for the perspective that history can give you — and continue to read books and listen to history lectures regularly. In the past month, I have listened to a series of lectures on Spain in 1492 and the lasting significance of Machiavelli. I also incorporate world and U.S. history into the upper-level and graduate courses (Digital Media Economics and Behavior, and Leadership in a Time of Change) that I regularly teach in the School of Media and Journalism at UNC-CH.

  3. How would you say that you have used the skills and knowledge you developed as a history major in your career? These can be in your day-to-day activities or in long-term planning and/or strategizing your professional path.

    History gives a unique perspective on leadership through the ages, and I have recalled those lessons on a daily basis as I pursued a career in journalism, rising from cub reporter to an executive at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. My study of history influenced my own aspirations (personal and professional), as well as the ethics that I honed and refined as I journeyed through life.

  4. What advice would you give a graduating history major setting out in today's job market?

    Be open to the art of possibility.

  5. What advice would you give a first year student considering majoring in history?

    Consider double majoring or minoring in English or Comparative Literature. It will vastly enrich your appreciation of your history courses.

  6. Is there anything else you would like to share with our students about your passion for history and/ or its relationship to your professional experience?

    In 2009 I delivered the History Department Commencement speech. For a full copy click here: Timeless Lessons in Leadership.


Laura Malloy

Laura G. Malloy, M.A. History, 2013

Laura Malloy is currently the historian for the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Before she graduated from UNCG with her M.A. in U.S. History, she earned her B.A. in history at UNCG with a minor in art. Dr. Emily J. Levine, career liaison for the department, interviewed her in 2016.

  1. When did you first develop an interest in history?

    I have always loved history, so I would have to say my interest developed as a young child. I used to joke with many in my class that it was in the Stone Age.

  2. What do you value most about your history degree?

    The unique opportunities available and where my degree has taken me.

  3. How would you say that you have used the skills and knowledge you developed as a history major in your career? These can be in your day-to-day activities or in long-term planning and/or strategizing your professional path.

    I use the knowledge, skills, and abilities developed during my time at UNCG every day in my work as the Wing Historian for the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base. I research data, conduct oral histories, safe guard the official records and primary documents and apply it to written histories for the United States Air Force. Additionally, I create specific art products for the wing, manage the Air-park, and maintain the specific artifacts and memorabilia for the wing.

  4. What advice would you give a graduating history major setting out in today's job market?

    Prepare early. Before you graduate start looking at different positions and have patience. Keep pushing forward in where you want to go. Sometimes you may have to settle for a "job" during the short term but always keep your eye on your long term goals and your "career."

  5. What advice would you give a first year student considering majoring in history?

    Carefully consider if this is what you want to do. Be prepared for disappointment but do not let that define you. It is hard work but if you set your mind to success, then you will achieve it.

Archived Alumni Spotlight Interviews

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