A typical day in the museum field is anything but. I have relocated a 700 pound soda fountain, cleaned a rat's nest out of a 100-year-old beet press, and waited tables at a $200-per-plate fundraiser. As the curator at a small, municipal museum in Windsor, Colorado, my responsibilities include developing exhibits, managing the collection, coordinating education programs and materials, and conducting community outreach. This is my first position after earning my Master's degree in history and museum studies from UNCG. I graduated in May, 2011 and took an internship at the Park City Museum in Utah; in August, 2011 I moved back to my home state for my current job.
After completing a Bachelor's degree in history from Carleton College in Minnesota, I looked for graduate programs that offered a good combination of theoretical coursework and field experience. UNCG's museum studies track came through as a unique opportunity for practical experience in the form of internships, hands-on assignments, and community-based projects. In addition, the program's small cohorts made for a close-knit learning environment that has lasted beyond graduation. I regularly exchange emails with fellow graduates, and a classmate even set up a Facebook group for our cohort to ask questions and help one another with museum-related issues. I'm two years into my position as curator, and still using my UNCG classmates - along with the professors, readings, and assignments - for guidance.
The coursework at UNCG and my varied responsibilities as curator for the Town of Windsor Museum have given me a strong, broad foundation in the museum field. I'm grateful to have an academic background that keeps so many options open to me. Eventually, I see myself focusing on a specific area of museum work at a larger institution. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my job as curator and life in Colorado. When I'm not at work I enjoy running, reading, cooking, and international travel with my (brand new!) husband.
I earned my M.A. in History with a major in European History and a minor in U.S. History from UNCG in 2005 and my Ph.D. in History from UNCG in 2012. For me, attending UNCG to complete my graduate education was an incredibly positive experience. If I could do it all over again, I would choose UNCG without a moment's hesitation. The history professors at UNCG are not only important scholars in their fields, but, at least as important is the interest they take in their students. I was lucky enough to have several professors within the department act as both academic and career mentors to me, some formally and some informally. UNCG faculty truly mentor their students and take a real interest in their development and success. The professors are very demanding and the academics rigorous, yet exist within a nurturing and encouraging environment.
My professors at UNCG took an active role in helping me to secure employment within the profession after I completed my M.A. This preparation and assistance by the department and professors was invaluable in my successfully obtaining a full-time visiting lectureship at a public university. Even though I was no longer their student, my professors always had time to answer emails or phone calls from me asking for advice on teaching and my career or just giving them updates on how I was doing. After several years, I returned to UNCG to complete my Ph.D. and was able to secure a permanent, full-time position at a community college in Virginia. I have recently been promoted to Associate Professor and Department Chair. Even though I have graduated and have my Ph.D., I still regularly go to my former professors for advice and continue to receive their mentorship. I have a successful career that I truly love and I owe that to the UNCG Department of History and to my former professors, who always believed in me and mentored me. I can honestly say that the best decision I ever made was choosing UNCG for graduate school.
This is what really sets UNCG's Department of History apart from other graduate programs in History - its faculty. UNCG History faculty have created a truly nurturing environment that is really ideal for molding students into highly qualified and competent historians who are employable and very competitive in today's academic job market.
I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2012 with a B.A. in history with a license to teach. I recently finished my first year of teaching in a North Carolina high school and I've also enjoyed leading our junior varsity softball team this season.
During my time at UNCG the history department was always supportive, never hard to meet with face to face and always in close contact with their counterparts for teaching licensure. UNCG as a whole offered a learning environment that embraced diversity gave the tools for wisdom rather than just knowledge and constantly kept a high standard for education.
Although I enjoyed my time at UNCG, I did not reach full appreciation for my education until I graduated and joined the ranks of North Carolina teachers. As a student teacher I taught United States History, as a first year teacher I was asked to teach World History and Civics and Economics. My education from UNCG allowed me to feel completely confident in all three areas of content. The History department at UNCG provides its students with an opportunity to master the craft they are passionate about in terms of content. However, UNCG also offered an opportunity for students to embrace the past through interaction, discussion and investigation of our lives today. The history department at UNCG truly gave me the tools for a lifetime of learning as well as the tools to lead and teach future generations.