During my first semester at Temple University, I enrolled in a course with Dr. Peter Gran and learned immediately that History was not about memorizing dates or knowing about the major players during “important” events. History, instead, is about asking the right questions. By learning how to ask pertinent questions, you learn the other skills vital to being an historian: research, writing, close reading, annotating, interviewing, and so on. These skills can be applied to any field. My experiences as a History major prepared me for my first professional writing job (writing and researching a documentary) and the skills I developed have equipped me to succeed on every assignment.
Jon Crider, a current PhD Candidate, recently accepted a position at Knox College in Illinois as the Director of the McNair Scholars Program. While at Temple, Jon worked as a TA and Instructor for the Department of History and tutored in the Writing Center. Jon hopes to defend his dissertation “Printing Politics: The Emergence of Political Parties, 1821-1861” in the next year.
When I started as a freshman at Temple University, I had an interest in history but was planning to earn a degree in biology. I took History of the World Economy Since 1945 with Dr. Arthur Schmidt my first semester, loved the coursework, and decided to pursue history as a career in the year that followed. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to experience so many great history courses and instructors at Temple while earning my degree.
I decided to enter the PhD program at George Washington University after I graduated in 2001, and was amazed at the experiences that are available to history grad students. I interned with the Army Center of Military History during the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, worked at the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers document editing project, briefly returned to Philadelphia as a research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and got to perform historical research at repositories across the Washington, DC area.
In 2005 I became the history and political science teacher at the U.S. House of Representatives Page Program School on Capitol Hill, and I remained on staff after I earned my Ph.D. in 2008. I enjoyed the sense of mission I felt doing historical work in federal service so, after a career setback when the Page Program ended in 2011, I became a historian at the Department of State. Now I edit historically significant foreign policy documents for the Foreign Relations of the United States series, and I recently published my first book, Behind the Gas Mask: The U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in War and Peace. I am very grateful that my years as an undergraduate at Temple helped me to decide to build a career in history.
For over a decade I’ve had the great pleasure of working in the television industry as a creative producer, developing original programming for the Military Channel, NFL Network, HBO, NBC Sports, CNBC and CNBC Europe. Today I do the primary amount of my work for CNBC as a news producer, which appears in over 400-million homes worldwide. While the broadcast and media industry are extremely competitive, my degree in history has helped me excel in this field over the last decade. Studying history taught me invaluable research and writing skills that I use on a daily basis as a news producer. Learning the trademark skills of historians has been and will continue to be instrumental in my career in television and entertainment.
Meet Nelson Boyle, Temple History ’97. Today, I’m a trial lawyer in Denver, Colorado, helping ordinary people. As a lawyer, I’ve won important appeals, received peer recognition, and served on boards of national and state trial lawyer associations.
I owe much of my professional success to the Temple History Department. Phil Evanson and the Latin American Studies Semester gave me more understanding of the world than I could explain in 300 words. Peter Gran taught me invaluable methods for systems analysis of modern nation states. Russ Weigley supported my love of America’s military past. Teshale Tibebu made me dig deep to try to understand the history of Southern Africa. Together, Temple history professors instilled in me rigorous research methods and critical thinking skills. These form the foundation of my professional life. As a lawyer representing ordinary people, I draw from my College of Liberal Arts education daily. Without CLA and Temple History, I would not succeed as a trial lawyer.
Photo Caption: Temple hat Montgomery after Selma March, March 21-25, 2015
After graduation in 2014, I moved to Washington DC to do a year with Americorps VISTA at a non-profit called Student Veterans of America. I did a couple different jobs while I was there and was hired at the end of my year as a full time employee. I always had to learn new things such as research best practices regarding community development in the veteran space, social media outreach, and non-profit development.
I finished this job at the beginning of April and then left for Korea. I went there because I made a few Korean friends while I was in DC and wanted to visit their country before beginning my Peace Corps service. I think I learned a lot while I was there and I believe it set me up well for Peace Corps.
I leave for Mongolia on May 29th [Alex wrote this in May 2015] and my main focus will be teaching English. I am excited for the opportunity and I feel as though I am as ready as I am going to be. I believe my education as a History Major at Temple University has been very helpful in my various positions and in my application to the Peace Corps. I had the experience thinking critically, writing clearly, and constantly researching. Also, I hope to continue studying history after my Peace Corps service concludes.
Dr. Hadari is truly Temple (History) Made. She earned two degrees with us (MA 1995 and PhD 2005) and currently serves as senior advisor to the Prime Minister of Niger on national and governmental policy in the areas of small business, tourism, gender and women’s issues. From that post, she works to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in Niger. Prior to taking this position she served for eight years as the Permanent Technical Secretary of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Niger, her country of birth, developing strategies to combat HIV/AIDS in at risk populations. An advocate for and a scholar of women’s rights, Dr. Hadari embodies the proud Temple tradition of learning and activism.
I began my tenure at Temple University in August of 2006 as an undeclared student. I signed up for a world history class my first semester as it had long been a favorite subject of mine. Before the year was out, I had declared a double major in both History and Economics and had joined the History Honors Program. Temple’s History department rapidly became my home-away-from-home where I bonded with my fellow undergraduates, graduate students and professors.
I fell in love with history because it has always fed my natural curiosity about everything around me. Studying history tells us everything we need to know about our past, present and future while aiding in the development of critical reading and writing, researching and public speaking skills. Through the Temple History Honors Program I was able to hone my research skills and was awarded a grant which allowed me to spend nearly a month in both London’s National Archives and the Mass Observation Archives in Sussex, England to complete my project. It was during my research on this project that I discovered my interest in the various ways that data can be stored and accessed and thus lead me down a path to a career in database management and development.
In my junior year at Temple, disappointed by the lack of an undergraduate organization for students in the social sciences, I worked with other students to create TUHSSA (the Temple Undergraduate History and Social Sciences Organization). I served as the president until my graduation a year later. Working with TUHSSA advanced my leadership abilities and prepared me for working in a team environment.
After I left Temple I began working as a Database Administrator. I earned a Masters Degree from Drexel University in 2014 in Information Systems. My current role is as a BI Developer at Softmart, a major software and hardware re-seller in Downingtown, PA.
History has helped me become a better writer, introduced me to the intricacies of research and allowed me to overcome a fear of public speaking. Best of all, it has aided me in the pursuit of a successful career in database management and development. History remains a large part of my life, it is my go-to topic for new books and movies and my inspiration to travel and visit museums around the world.
College of Liberal Arts – History – Class of 2006
College of Education – Secondary Education (Social Studies) – Class of 2007
Occupation: Teacher – Secondary Education, Social Studies, Pennsbury High School (Fairless Hills, PA)
Getting students to not only value the study of history but to gain through it practical skills and a greater understanding of the world past and present is all about how the content is approached. I don’t aim to simply teach my students about what happened in the past, that’s never been the point of studying History. The course of study in Temple University’s History Department enshrined in me what I try to open my students to, that the study of the course history has taken, whatever your major area of focus, is a much greater exploration into where we are now, and where we might go reached by the analysis of the motivations, causes, consequences, and interaction of us as individuals, societies, governments, and states. When you realize this, the course of study becomes like so many other fields based on questions, hypotheses, analysis, and the need to assess and reassess the conclusions we reach and what we draw from them. As a teacher I engage with history to pursue this process of discovery on my own and inspire my students to do the same.
Meet Heather Ryan Flaherty. After graduating from Temple with a BA in History in 2000, she went on to earn her Master of Library and Information Science degree from a nearby university (that shall remain nameless). Now she does healthcare research for a market research firm in the Philadelphia suburbs. Not only does she appreciate the research skills she honed in the history department, she has fond memories of her time here. She especially enjoyed the walking tour of Philadelphia that Dr. Allen Davis led. But the highlight of her Temple career has to be the trip that she and nine other students took to Germany. The photo shows Heather and the group with Dr. Lockenour at the Philly airport about to head off for three weeks in Germany – fully funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, Temple’s College of Liberal Arts, and the William Penn Foundation! That is Heather in the front row on the left. The trip was amazing, and Heather is still in touch with many of the friends that she made both on the trip and just in the history department in general.