Dustin Reidy '01
Currently- in the philosophy MA program at SUNY Albany, focusing on Plato's educational theory and applied ethics with a bent towards animal liberation thought within environmental ethics. Since 2006 I helped head up a non-profit, Music for Tomorrow (www.musicfortomorrow.org) which helps Jazz musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina get back to the city as well as reinvigorating the cultural economy through grants and concert sponsorship. Currently Music for Tomorrow is planning a second benefit concert in June of 2009, hosted by MFT spokesperson Jude Law. From February 2007-November 2008 I was the co-coordinator of the Albany for Obama campaign. An all volunteer effort- the Albany for Obama campaign made over 100,000 phone calls for the Obama campaign, made by over 1,000 volunteers. AFO sent volunteers to swing states and registered over 2,000 voters during the summer.What did the history major teach me- I think history above all else teaches an intellectual modesty as well as a drive to always check sources and footnotes.
In 2002, I graduated with a major in History from Skidmore, and after taking some time away from the classroom, returned to study how to run a classroom by joining The Harvard Graduate School of Education's Teacher Education Program. Here, I trained to become a certified teacher in the state of Massachusetts and focused my studies on the unique challenges of teaching history to children in urban classrooms. After I graduated in 2005, I got a job teaching for the Boston Public School system in an alternative public high school in Roxbury, teaching history and English to students who had been pushed out of regular education classrooms. After teaching there for two years, I changed jobs and am now in my second year of teaching Humanities at the Community Charter School of Cambridge, a small, progressive public high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is focused on alleviating the racial achievement gap present in Boston area schools. Every day, I could draw a parallel between the curriculum that I teach my students and the lessons I learned about American history as a Skidmore student. We look at primary sources that I was exposed to while at Skidmore and I push the same emphasis on deep inquiry and serious scholarship that I experienced in college. I feel grateful to the history teachers that I had at Skidmore for fostering in me a joy for the subject that I think appears transparent and engaging for my students as we interact in the classroom.Anne Detwiler '02
Major in History and minor was Early Childhood Education. I have been living in Northern California teaching for the past year and a half. Last year I worked as an Intern Naturalist teaching Environmental Education to fifth and sixth grade students in Loma Mar, CA an hour south of San Francisco (in the Coastal Redwoods) with the San Joaquin County. Now I'm back living in the Redwoods, in Boulder Creek, and am an intern Naturalist working with the YMCA at Camp Campbell. We work with schools from the San Jose area. I lead groups of twenty to twenty-five middle schoolers hiking and teach them about Redwood ecology. I use my history degree skills because I teach about the history of the area due to logging. My interest in environmental education budded at Skidmore in Topics of History in Environmental History sophomore year and in an Environmental Studies class senior year. Since last fall, I have spent a lot of time studying about the animals and plants in the Redwood forest. Taking a wide variety of history classes and other disciplines at Skidmore taught me a great love of learning about everything and the energy it takes to master a new subject! The writing skills I learned in all of my classes at Skidmore have helped me write lesson plans and teach in organized manner.
Robert N. Marcus (Dec. '02)
Upon graduation from Skidmore in December 2002, I moved to Washington D.C. where I became a legislative assistant for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Chief Deputy Whip in the United States House of Representatives. In this capacity, I was responsible for the Congresswoman's foreign policy, defense, homeland security, veterans, human rights and Congressional oversight issues. I also handled office committee work for the "Energy and Commerce Committee" as well as the "House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence." In the fall of 2007, I moved to Boston, MA to pursue a two-year Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. At Fletcher, I am completing a dual concentration in the fields of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization. Additionally, I aim to obtain a working-fluency in the Arabic language. To meet this goal, I spent the summer of 2008 living in Amman, Jordan, where I attended the University of Jordan Language Center and traveled throughout the region. When I graduate from Fletcher in May 2009, I plan to return to Washington to continue my career in public service. The skills and knowledge I gained as a history major at Skidmore have proven to be ideal, not only as the foundation for my Masters' coursework, but also as I build my career in the public policy field.
C.J. Feehan '03
Since graduating from Skidmore, I have pursued a career in niche education. I completed a M.A. in Liberal Studies with a Creative Writing concentration at Dartmouth College in 2004 and am now gradually completing coursework towards a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont. I have taught history and English on the collegiate and secondary school levels for over six years, and I have just accepted an administrative position at Killington Mountain School (KMS) in Vermont, a 5-month academy for elite ski and snowboard athletes, for the 2009-2010 academic year. While I will miss my time in the classroom, I will assume responsibilities in the admissions department and will serve as a member of the Senior Operating Team at the school. Additionally, I will continue worldwide travel in search of quality snow and competition as coach of the KMS Women’s Alpine Ski Team. I am spending July on the glacier in Les Deux Alpes, France.
Evan Goldstein '03
Washington, DC, I am currently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, working as a research assistant for the editor-in-chief of the Washington Quarterly, and pursuing my own research on Israeli-American relations, and the American Jewish community. What I am doing now is a direct extension of my work as a history-government joint major at Skidmore College. The researching and writing skills I honed over the course of my four years, culminating with the colloquium thesis, coupled with the advice and example of my professors was a major influence in directing my job search in the direction of foreign policy think tanks.
Eric B. Hanson '03
Not long after graduation, I started working as an intern for a now-defunct startup in Lexington, MA, learning about quality assurance while testing the company's instant messaging for businesses product. In September of 2003, I moved to the New York City area and, while working at home for the startup, started a second internship at a recording studio owned by a Skidmore grad in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood. At the time, my intention was to explore the world of audio engineering; if that option did not pan out, I would seek a PhD in Ethnomusicology, following an interest from music, my other Skidmore major. Six months later, my time with the Lexington startup ended and I found another job - using a connection with another member of Skidmore's family - at a more mature web company called About.com. Eventually, my work at About made continued employment at the recording studio impossible; a year later, I decided that I was no longer interested in a PhD and decided to pursue an MBA instead. A year ago, I began taking classes at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. Although my original assignment at About.com had been within editorial, after four-plus years with that team I decided to make a switch and I now work for About.com as a product manager, overseeing the creation of products that help users generate content on our site. Although my education in history is not a direct part of my professional life, it continues to have an impact on my life in two major ways: first, I continue to expand my knowledge of history through regular reading and interactions with historical-minded friends and family. Second, the attention to detail the education helped foster has become a significant underpinning of my professional life and has helped push me towards my current career path.
A few thoughts for recent grads who are searching for work and seniors who are dreading the process: keep a wide scope to your search, be resourceful with contacts and have fun. After graduating last May, I moved to Boston and began a job search that focused primarily on careers in public television and teaching. The search was difficult and tedious, and cover letters quickly became the bane of my existence. I was forced to ask my parents to help me out with paying rent and groceries- something I felt pretty guilty about considering the huge investment they had just made in my education. Luckily, they were more patient than I was about the tight economy. By mid-July I realized that a new plan of attack was necessary, so I looked into jobs that would provide me with skills that would be helpful for future jobs. I also contacted a couple of professors in the History department for words of wisdom and encouragement, which proved to be invaluable. By the beginning of August I had landed a job with Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, conducting research on environmental issues such as global warming and most recently I have become the assistant director of fund-raising for Boston's chapter of the organization. Is this the job I've always dreamed of? No, it's not. But in the meantime, I am having fun and gaining skills that will make me a better candidate for graduate school and other, more desirable, jobs down the road. So keep your chin up, recognize your accomplishments as a graduate of Skidmore and try to keep everything in perspective. Best of luck!
Heather Marie Drabek '04
"I majored in history and minored in philosophy while at Skidmore. After graduation I took a year off, before starting law school at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in my hometown (Cleveland, Ohio) in 2005. My history classes, enabled me to see things from a global perspective. Current situations are better understood by knowing the history behind them. Events do not happen in a vacuum - there are causes and effects leading to and away from everything. My history (and philosophy) classes prepared me for the copious amounts of reading in law school. By the time I left Skidmore, I could write 3 to 5 page papers in my sleep. My understanding of American history made constitutional law more interesting. I worked in my school's Employment Law Clinic. In the Clinic, I helped clients (who are generally referred by legal aid) with EEOC discrimination and / or unemployment compensation claims. I graduated from law school in May, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in November of 2008. I hope to continue to practice employment law. I look forward to passing the New York bar in 2009."
Jodi L. Thomas '05
After graduating from Skidmore I went to Costa Rica to teach English for 8 months. I got a TEFL certificate and then was hired to independently develop an English language program and teach within it. The reading and writing skills learned within the history major definitely supported this challenge. Also Jordana Dym allayed many of my fears by sharing her experiences of going abroad and her encouragement helped me to make my final decision to go for it. Subsequently, I applied for a master's degree program in 'Environmental Governance' in Freiburg Germany with the encouragement of Erica Bastress Dukehart. Concurrently, I applied for a full graduate studies scholarship with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange). I was accepted for the master's and all of my expenses over the two year program were covered by the scholarship. I just finished writing my master's thesis a little over one month ago and I am currently looking for a job in the environmental field. The research and analytical skills I learned in the history department have been a huge advantage throughout my master's studies. Also the history classes I took touching the theme of the environment and the flexibility of the colloquium that allowed me to focus on air pollution in 17th century London fostered my urge to further explore my interest in environmental issues. Over the last 4 years I have lived on 4 different continents: Australia, North America, South America, and Europe. During my master's degree I did an internship in Ecuador with a development aid organization on natural resource management and then I later returned there to do interviews regarding my thesis on avoided deforestation in Ecuador. Traveling has become a personal passion and that was greatly influenced by the people I was surrounded by at Skidmore.
Forrest Anderson '06
Since graduating from Skidmore in 2006, I have been pursuing a career in aviation. I spent most of the rest of 2006 working in a local sports shop in Amesbury, MA, fixing bikes and earning money so I could rent planes and build flight hours. I even participated in a sleep study to help pay for all the flight time. In February of 2007, I moved to Jacksonville, FL, to attend the Airline Career Pilot Program at Airline Transport Professionals (ATP). There I earned my multi- engine rating, instrument rating, commercial pilot rating, and flight instructor certificate, as well as numerous other ratings and endorsements. It was in Jacksonville that I flew a jet for the very first time. After completing the program at ATP, I moved back to Massachusetts and began a new job as a flight instructor in Marshfield. That is where I am today. I love my job, and really enjoy helping students achieve their dream of flight. Also, the view from my office can't be beat, since it's 3,000 feet over Cape Cod Bay! I am currently studying to take the Airline Transport Pilot exam. Once the economy picks itself up a bit, I will be well positioned to take a job with a corporate flight department or a regional airline.As a senior at Skidmore, I did my Colloquium project about international aviation agreements. The research I did on that helps me better understand the airspace I fly in today. In addition to navigating through the complex airspace around Boston and the rest of the Northeast, I have to navigate through chunks of the Code of Federal Regulations. Everything pilots and instructors do is highly regulated, so we have to know every detail of the law in order to remain legal and safe. As a History major at Skidmore, I developed my ability to read texts with a critical mind. That same frame of mind transfers to aviation quite well, although it is not the reading that I am analyzing critically. Instead I am analyzing the airplane and its instruments, my students, air traffic control, and the weather with a critical mind. Sure, Alexis de Tocqueville had some interesting words to say about the French Revolution, but where were his sources? Where did he get his information from, who or what influenced him? Was it the new revolution? Yes, that sunset lighting up the clouds in a brilliant orange color looks nice, but what does that mean for our flight as we travel west tonight? Will we encounter ice? Low ceilings? Are we going to be able to make it over those mountains, or will we have to divert? While it would seem like aviation is a radical departure from the study of history, the skills gained while studying history definitely to many other areas, aviation included. Besides, now I have another subject to talk about with the other pilot or student while on a long flight!
Josh Hutchinson '06
After graduation from Skidmore I worked for a year on an AmeriCorps emergency response team in St Louis, where I helped respond to natural disastors throughout the mid-west. I then completed an MA in Medieval History at the University of Durham in north-eastern England, and I currently work in a library in London, and plan to return to graduate school next year in order to complete a postgraduate degree in library science.
Karden Rabin '06
I am a New York State Licensed massage therapist and body-worker. I've spent most of my time since graduating immersing myself in alternative medicine. I work primarily with people with chronic injuries and/or who are recovering from trauma. I practice a lot of yoga and other types of self-care in order to be at peak health for myself and my clients. I have a practice in Manhattan where I work with other alternative care providers such as acupuncturists, Rolfers and physical therapists. I totally love what I do. My study of history empowers me to think critically about my field, which enables me to be a bridge between the most western minded people and the most esoteric. The speaking and writing skills developed at Skidmore earns me the respect and trust of clients who would otherwise ignore alternative therapies. Most importantly, my history background affords me a greater perspective on the origins, developments and future of medicine. I know that the present day is not so different from the past, and that while progress is important, respecting the knowledge of our forbears has great power. Finally, being a student of history instills my awareness with a humility that insulates me from the rigid-mindedness which seems to plague most practitioners of conventional and alternative medicine. As of January 5th, I will be taking a leave of absence from my bodywork practice in New York City and traveling to India for three months. I will be studying the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayuverda and Yoga. And I hope it goes without saying that I'll be soaking up all the history I can of one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.
Since I graduated from Skidmore with a history degree over two years ago, life took me in a direction that I had not planned or even hoped for, but now seems like it was chosen for me.
After Skidmore I went to Columbia University and got my Master's in Museum Anthropology. Currently I am working in the archaeological conservation lab at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia.
During my final two years at Skidmore I had wrestled with what it meant to be a historian. The abstractions and uncertainties of the field gnawed at my sense of pragmatism. I innately knew, and still know, that history and those who study it are both important; but I also innately knew that it was not right for me. What I did not know, unfortunately for me at the time, was what was right for me. After graduation I had little idea of what to do with my life, so I did what all clueless graduates do--go back home, get a bad job in a restaurant, and ride the parents' bankroll just a few months longer. I went back to work at Hops, the same brewpub I had been a server for for years. At that same time, our brewer was being transfered. I loudly proclaimed to my superiors that I was the right person to replace him, and a few months later I was being trained how to brew beer. For a side-note, this training was the opportunity of a lifetime. Most professional brewers get into the field by homebrewing for years and getting low-paying assistant jobs that consist of little more that hauling kegs off of a truck. But here I was. With no prior experience, I was the head brewer of a small brewpub. Last December that brewpub went bankrupt and I lost my job. At the same time, though, I got engaged to my fiance, Elizabeth Conway. We are currently living together and plan to get married in August of 2009. After the bankruptcy, I found a new, better job only a month later. I am now living and brewing in Knoxville, TN. I am the head brewer at the Knoxville Smokey Mountain Brewery. It is the largest microbrewery in Tennessee, and one of the largest in the southeast. I produce about fifty barrels (1500 gallons) of beer a week. I brew about eight different styles at any given time, including traditional German lagers and English ales, some of which are even World Beer Cup gold metal winners. This job is not what many people think. I do not lounge around and drink all day long. It is not stress free. But the reason I like it so much, and the reason that it seems like I was destined for this career is because it is not abstract. Like history, there are always questions in this field. My boss has been brewing for thirty years, and still does not know close to everything there is to know. But with those questions come answers--answers that, with a little research, and unlike history, you can prove beyond a doubt. If you find the proof in brewing, you will never again have to endure the argumentative advancements of a skeptical colleague. Another reason I like it so much is because of what brewers need to know and apply on an everyday basis. It is a uniquely interesting mix of engineering, chemistry, mechanics, thermal dynamics, microbiology, and good old fashioned grunt work. In other words, I get to turn wrenches, play with lab equipment, get some exercise, and troubleshoot mechanical problems all in a single day's work. A brewer has to be able to think on his feet, improvise at a moment's notice, and make the best of an undesirable situation. Things constantly go wrong--equipment breaks, parts go missing, and pesky airborne bacteria is a perpetual battle, but for those brewers who can adapt, there is always an answer. But the best part of all is the finished product. Not so much that the finished product is beer (which is pretty cool), but the fact that I can see it, smell it, hear it, feel it, and yes, taste it. Whenever I had written a great essay that I was proud of, I alway felt a profound, but combined sense of satisfaction and frustration. It was a creation that only a handful of people would understand or appreciate, and one that was only a small pebble in the road to academic advancement. I will always be grateful for the education I received at Skidmore. I think it made me a better, and certainly a more thoughtful person. I will always be in debt to my wonderful professors and all that they taught me. But it would truly be a stretch to argue that my writing skills or knowledge of Scholasticism provide any real relief when I am trying to rebuild a sanitary centrifugal pump. I often find myself wishing that I had majored in chemistry or mechanical engineering. But I truly do not regret any decisions I have made, and again, I have only fond memories of my education and the professors who made it possible. I want to particularly thank (and give a warm hello to) Erica, who always encouraged me to use my brain to challenge the norms of academia and mainstream society, but most of all encouraged me to do only what makes me happy. Without that rebellious line of reasoning, I might be in graduate school right now...writing an essay on Peter Abelard.
Andrew Bernstein '07
Although I'm not directly involved in academic history, since graduating, I have launched a career as a writer and journalist, and I call on skills I learned in the major just about every day. In November 2007, I moved back to Saratoga Springs, after living with my parents for a bit, to take a job with The Saratogian, our daily newspaper. Since then, I've worked as the city reporter, covering local politics, crime, business, development, and just about anything else my editors ask me to cover. The focus on writing and research in the history department taught me skills that I use every day. In particular, the my learned ability to articulate a point clearly in writing is essential to my work. The process of researching many papers and projects has also taught some great skills. Chief among these was my colloquium project, on the role played by memorial books in communities of pre- and post-Holocaust émigrés to the United States, has proved to be an important learning experience. The process of interviewing Holocaust survivors and other involved in their communities for that project prepared me for the near-daily task of interviewing individuals from a variety of backgrounds, from someone who has been touched by tragedy, to the business owner looking to advance their own agenda. Those interviews, conducted mostly over the phone in my senior year, helped me learn to stay focused in an interview, keep my own agenda in mind, even while digesting difficult responses that can wander off topic. In addition to my work for the daily newspaper, I have been able to combine my passion for writing with my passion for bicycle racing by working on a freelance basis for several bicycle-related publications including Velo News, Cyclocross Magazine and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, a trade publication. Finally, I post five days a week on my blog, Good Bye Blue Mondays, on topics ranging from bike races, to atmospheric conditions and relentless pace of my life. While I would probably have learned this skill in other departments as well, my time at Skidmore helped me to learn to keep many balls aloft at once, and I clearly need that skill everyday, as I try to keep all of these publications "aloft.
Christian Sam Clarke '07
After graduating I spent a year in Japan teaching English through the Japanese government as part of the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. I was in a small town in Kagoshima, the southernmost prefecture on the island of Kyushu. I worked for the board of education in my town teaching both elementary and junior high school. It was a enriching experience where I learned that if all social problems can be solved by “Paper, Rock, Scissors,” and all geographic ones with concrete, and if people can actually enjoy eating bees and drinking turtle blood, then normalcy is truly confused and abused. After returning from Japan I entered into a graduate program for an MA in Irish and Irish American Studies at NYU. I just finished my first semester there and should wrap up the program after the spring semester and a summer session in Dublin. Next, my tentative plan is to seek a job in international studies promotion administrating abroad programs, continuing my global rambling and thinking creatively about my life matters.
Taylor H. Leake '07
After graduation I moved to Washington DC and am currently the press assistant and blog manager for Wake Up Wal-Mart, a campaign seeking to hold Wal-Mart accountable, change the way it does business, and advocate for Wal-Mart employees. I am working more and more with new media and am doing outreach and promotion for a new local nonprofit called Faux Athletic Recreational Tournaments (FART) that runs social events for fun and to raise money for local charities.
CREATIVE THOUGHT MATTERS
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