Words from Alumni

msaionz“Through the MA program I was able to take my research and writing skills to a much higher level, while also having the opportunity to teach my own class. With aspirations to be a professional historian, the program gave me the training, skills, and knowledge necessary to move on to a quality PhD program and succeed in it.”

          – Matt Saionz (MA, 2011), PhD Candidate, University of Florida

lwest“After graduating with an MA I worked in Jos as a teacher for the Baptist Mission of Nigeria. Now I am teaching 7th grade English Language Arts in Birmingham, AL as part of Teach For America. As a graduate student, I focused on African and African American history, and my seminars on critical race theory in particular prepared me for the realities of life in Jos and the institutional racism in the form of educational inequality that Teach For America seeks to eradicate.”

– Laura West (MA, 2012), Language Arts Teacher, Birmingham, AL

kstaub“The department offered me a unique assistantship in [the library’s] Special Collections, the chance to help plan and organize conferences, and courses that gave me the expertise in history I needed while allowing me to gain experience outside the classroom through public history projects. I use the research and writing skills I developed in the program everyday in developing exhibits and programs grounded in history but engaging to visitors from all over the world. ”

– Kimberly Staub (MA, 2012), Collections and Exhibitions Manager, Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia, PA



“I felt that I left the program with not only a Master’s Degree, but also an understanding of how history is created and conveyed, which provides me with the tools to teach a multitude of historical content areas.”

– William R. Paxton (MA 2013), Social Studies Teacher, Fort Defiance, VA



“My M.A. in history not only taught me valuable writing skills but it also taught me discipline. Since graduating from Virginia Tech, I’ve been published and interviewed by big names in media like the Huffington Post and Google, and I have freelance writing clients spread all over the world.”

– Catherine Alford (MA 2011), freelance writer and blogger at www.catherinealford.com

“As a Naval Officer, I have found the research skills I gained through the graduate historyajones program especially useful when searching through what is often hundreds of pages of documents and references to find coherent solutions to the problems I encounter on a daily basis. In short, the history program is not just for graduate students fresh out of their undergraduate education interested in pursuing doctorate degrees or in public history. I believe a Master’s Degree in History is applicable for any professional who wants to sharpen their writing, analytical, and research skills to enhance their career.”

– Adam M. Jones (MA 2014), LT, US Navy