Q: What are you doing now, as a UC history grad?
I am the Development Associate at Project HOME in Philadelphia! Basically, I am the chain of custody for every gift that comes to PH, so I process the gifts, acknowledge our donors, maintain my database, and everything in between.
Q: How do you think the UC History department prepared you for your career?
I think it prepared me in terms of the commitment to data analysis and processing- throughout my four years with the UC History Department, I had to take massive quantities of data and process them in a way that made sense. I do that now and although it’s more technical now than when I was a student, the integrity is still there. It also prepares you in terms of thoroughness of research; sometimes I have to do prospect research, looking up new donors, making sure a donor is who I think it is, etc. and the integrity of my research here is just as important, if not more, than a history paper. Finally, the commitment to quality and detail-oriented work has really prepared me for my job- I have to keep tabs on so many things at once, while doing my current tasks correctly and quickly (some of which go directly to our Executive Director), so that can get overwhelming at times, which is exactly what I think a lot of current History students and History alumni would say the history curriculum is like at times. Also, when new letters are created I copyedit them before they enter final review and I have corrected more than one grammatical issue that would make Drs. Doughty and Clark furious.
I also think due to my roles in the history department I bring a lot of professionalism that some others might not have been introduced to in college.
Q: How do you think you stack up with your peers?
It’s hard to say. I am the youngest person in my department and the youngest person in quite some time who has filled my role, so that comes with a lot of learning curves (I had to learn some coding), but also I have a much different background than others. Most people don’t major in non-profit development or think they’re gonna end up there when they first start college, so it’s a very diverse department (my VP is a classically-trained singer, my supervisor majored in photography, and I am a History and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality studies major). We’re all here because some aspect of development has piqued our interests and that’s the same for me. Everyone has their own strengths, and mine are the ways in which I was taught to think, process information, and analyze data. I have a liberal arts degree and I think that well-roundedness, in addition to the rigor of the history department has really made me a strong and detail-oriented addition to PH.
Q: Is there anything that UC History did that helped you out?
I think the best thing that UC History did for me was introducing me to so many diverse histories, to be honest. I am on the admin side, but priming me in such a way where I had to think critically about marginalized populations, gentrification, and city planning (Thanks, Dr. Daggar!) did prepare me for the ways in which myself and my department as a whole interacts with the communities we work with.
Q: What’s something you miss about History at Ursinus?
The Help Room, the professors, the camaraderie of the majors (especially during finals weeks)
Q: Advice for people majoring in History who might be worried about post-grad life?
Do everything and anything you can. I know it’s daunting to major in History when it feels like you can only go so far with just a Bachelor’s degree, but sign up for clubs, get a campus job, or 5. Even if you don’t think it’ll look right on your resume at the moment, in a few months or years you might have racked up enough experience in something that’ll be a major stepping stone for you. Your degree in anything is what you make of it, and by edifying yourself and your resume with jobs, clubs, volunteering opportunities, your degree becomes more useful (and you make some really great connections).