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(518) 580 - 5258

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Skidmore College
Office Location: Tisch Learning Center, Room # 316
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

DEPARTMENT CHAIR:
Tillman Nechtman, Associate Professor of History
(518) 580 - 5268

DEPARTMENT SECRETARY:
Susan Matrazzo
(518) 580 - 5261

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Alumni
1970-1979

Kathe P. Fox '70

Baltimore, Maryland, Ph.D. - Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale, 1981, Vice President, Medstat. I oversee consulting services for a healthcare information company. My history degree made me a good reader, writer, and appreciate of the importance of what has come before when considering current policy issues. I tend to take an historical perspective in my work. Epidemiology is really the "history" of disease.

Diana Hellinger '70

Majoring in history at Skidmore taught me critical thinking, particularly under Professor Bryntenson's tutelage in the required historiography course. One entire month was devoted to the search for the meaning, of the purpose, and the truth of history. Using the Socratic pedagogy prepared me to analyze reported news and recorded history to determine whose perspective was presented as fact, what influences or biases influenced purportedly objective news and written history. The workload of history majors during my four years at Skidmore was onerous. The reading, papers, two theses, bluebook tests, class hours in addition to the other mandated liberal arts courses - philosophy, anthropology, sociology, government, English, art history, biology, psychology - compelled me to become an organized student with consummate time management skills. I learned to think and write clearly, crisply, and correctly. I honed in on the big ideas, thought about their permutations, and distilled their salient significance at the time of their discovery and their direct or indirect impact on later eras. My intellectual growth and comprehensive approach to studying events and circumstances were forged by majoring in history at Skidmore. Equipped with this background enabled me to contribute to the now LDEF's Project on Equal Education Rights where I worked for eight years on programs that monitored Title IX compliance and on research projects that discerned the reasons girls dropped out of high school or did not excel in math, science, computer technology or sports after their middle school years. Later I became the Executive Director of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project (VWMMP), responsible for shaping the strategy to win passage of authorizing legislation to place the first memorial in the nation's capital to honor women's military service; develop and manage the national competition to select the memorial design; raise the funds to cover the cost of the memorial and project activities; and plan the three day celebration that welcomed 50,000 Americans - men, women and children; veterans and not veterans; black, white, native American, Asian and Pacific American - to Washington, DC for the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial 300 feet directly across the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Again, the history major prepared me for this challenge. This effort required high level organizational skills, time management, problem solving abilities, and understanding how attention to detail was necessary to reach the ultimate goal. I am finally the teacher I always dreamed of becoming since second grade. I am a sixth grade homeroom teacher and teach English - grammar, reading comprehension, and writing - to 28 fourth graders, 29 fifth graders and 29 sixth graders. History. His story? Her story? Our story. Myth, legend, fact, a little of each? History is a field that deepens our understanding of the human condition and expands our willingness to make a contribution toward making a positive difference in the present and the future. Man's inhumanity to man over the tens of hundreds of year perhaps is what touches our own humanity and makes us determined to do better. Or perhaps it is man's humanity to man that pulls at our heart and makes us resolve to show our humanity to each other. Which will be our history?

Judith Lohman '70

West Hartford, Connecticut. Other education: MA, Ph.D. (History), Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Current Job Title: Chief Analyst, Office of Legislative Research, Connecticut General Assembly. The Office of Legislative Research (OLR) is the Connecticut state legislature's research office, one of three major nonpartisan offices in the Connecticut legislature. (The others provide fiscal analysis and bill drafting and legal support.) OLR provides nonpartisan, objective research and policy analysis for legislators and legislative staff, writes aplain-language analysis of the legal effect of each bill reported to the House or Senate and of amendments to those bills, and writes plain language summaries of the new laws the General Assembly passes each year. We are also the professional policy staff for 23 legislative committees, providing information, advice, and technical assistance on legislation to committee chairmen and members. OLR currently has 18 researchers. We publish about 900 written research reports per year on a range of topics, and answer about 7,000 questions annually by phone, e-mail, or in person. All of our research is performed in response to requests from legislators, usually with relatively short deadlines deadlines and often under high pressure (similar to newspaper reporting). If you would like to see some of our work, our website is at http://www.cga.state.ct.us/olr/. I have been a researcher in OLR since September 1978 (25 years - I can hardly believe it.) I got the job right after I got out of graduate school, when my mother saw an ad in the paper and told me about it. OLR researchers have to have at least a master's degree. Most of my colleagues have law degrees or MAs or Ph.Ds in public affairs and public administration. Each researcher specializes in one or two broad policy areas. Mine are education and taxes. In the past, I also worked on energy and labor. My history training is very important to my career. My job has four major functions: doing research, writing clear and objective reports and analyses, explaining policy, and giving advice. I learned the basic techniques for the first three by studying history, starting at Skidmore. My history training taught me to do thorough research, analyze information critically, and write it up clearly. It also taught me how to remain objective, a basic requirement for working in a nonpartisan legislative office. And it gave me a long term perspective, which I have found very useful in a career spent working with politicians.

Alice Phillips Zolkheh '70

I live in Palo Alto, California. Received an AA in Nursing in 1972. I've been a practicing registered nurse since then. I work in Labor and Delivery at a local hospital as a floor nurse. History does not come into my daily life. I appreciate the perspective a liberal arts education gave, and the strategic thinking skills I learned. I am often teased by my family that my history degree is a waste -- but it taught me how to think and analyze. azelkha@yahoo.com

Class of 1971

Position: Owner/operator Christmas tree farm. M.A. in history, "A.B.D." in history, Washington University. None of the positions in which I have been employed, past or present, have anything to do with my degree. I would say it has been useful as a tool of analysis with respect to weighing the merits of argument and appreciating logical, well-constructed reasoning supported by appropriate and substantive facts and evidence. With regard to issues of the day, it is a good background against which to separate cant from good reasoning. Sadly, while employers are willing to perceive every English major as having an aptitude for writing, they never seem to think history majors have any comparable ability. The discipline could do a better job to change that
perception.

Jaye Scholl Bohlen '71

Glendale, Ca. (Suburb of Los Angeles) Knight-Bagehot Fellow, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Certificate in Business and Financial Journalism, 1982. Former West Coast Editor, Barron's Business and Financial Weekly Magazine, A Dow Jones publication, 1982-2002, former Business Editor, Trenton, (NJ) Times Newspaper, 1976-1981; former staff writer, Center For Analysis of Public Issues, Princeton NJ 1971-1976. I have spent my entire career in journalism and my history degree was perfect training. Why? Because history majors know better than anyone that "history" has more than one version--it depends on who is telling the story. Good journalists know that there is always more than one version of events, as well. Majoring in history also requires that you write a lot of papers. I never really mastered writing at college, but I got my start at college and kept at it. And now, I count the ability to write clearly and lucidly among my greatest satisfactions in life. As Anna Quindlen said in one of her New York Times's columns that she wrote before leaving to become a novelist, "I never really know what I think until I write it down." History helped me to know what I think.

Susan Horowitz Notar '72

I graduated from Skidmore in 1972 with a major in History and a concentration in American Studies. I worked for the NY Historical Society and as a researcher for a professor in New York City during the summer after graduation. I began teaching Social Studies at Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh NY in September 1972 and am currently in my 31st year as a high school teacher. I have taught all areas of history and government including European History, American History and Advanced Placement US History. I have an MS degree from SUNY New Paltz and an additional 60 credits beyond my BA. In 1994 I was awarded a fellowship to study the Holocaust in Poland and Israel and have taught elective courses, and in-service courses in Holocaust Education since 1995.

Gary Muldoon '73

1973 graduate, Government/History major Rochester, NY J.D. degree, 1976 attorney in small private practice, author, adjunct instructor at community college; previously held local elective office "A lawyer without words or history is a mechanic." Walter Scott

Deborah E. Davis Moore '74

Syracuse, New York B.S. Date Processing - Washington University in St. Louis, 1982 MBA - Syracuse University 1984 J.D. - Syracuse University 1991. Currently I serve as the Senior Law Associate to Chief Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. , United States District Court for the Northern District of New York I am a career law clerk to the Chief Judge of the Northern District of New York. In this capacity, I supervise two "term" clerks as well as several law students who extern with us during the academic year and summer. I have spent all but two years of my legal career as a federal law clerk. I spent two years in private practice where I focused primarily on labor and employment law issues. My history degree has been invaluable to me in my career. First, and foremost, being a history major provided me with the opportunity to develop my research and writing skills. It also taught me to think critically about issues and not to accept the facts at face value or to jump to conclusions based upon the obvious. I would be very willing to share my experiences with anyone at Skidmore who is thinking about a legal career.

Randi Shenkman '74

After Skidmore ('74, double major, history and French, minor, secondary education), I found a job teaching history at Belchertown High school,
Belchertown, MA (1974 - 1986). With the exception of a one year sabbatical to finish my masters degree ('77, French and French history) from Middlebury
College with a year in Paris, France), I taught there until 1986. I also earned a C.A.G.S. in Education Policy and Research Administration, specialty, secondary education and the law, in 1983. My advisor is still trying to get me to come back and write my dissertation for my Ed.D. I was hired as the Assistant Principal at Westfield High School, Westfield, MA (1986 - 1997). In addition to my other assignments, I evaluated all the history and world language teachers as well as ran the English as a Second Language program. In 1997 I was hired as the Principal of Athol High School, Athol, MA, which is where I plan to stay until I retire (at least from administration) sometime during the next five years. In the early 1980's I was recruited by both the CIA and the NSA. I'm not sure how I wound up on their lists. The CIA remained interested beyond the 8 hour exam (the NSA exam was mostly math - not my competency); I was interested in political analysis and they seemed more interested in my potential as a spy. I also looked into international banking, but the recession of 1982 just wasn't the right time to be looking. In the end, while my academic background would have served me well in either of those fields, there were no kids there and so I remained in education, not because  that's all one can do with a degree in history, but because I really like being with teenagers. I have also worked as a volunteer/docent at the Belchertown Historical Association since 1986. I was a member of its board of trustees for ten years. The BHA is charged with protecting and maintaining The Stone House Museum. I have also worked on local and national political campaigns every year.

Catherine Stroup '74

I live and work in Columbus, OH. I have a Master's degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and and a JD from Capital University Law School, which is located here in Columbus. I've had 2 careers so far. After spending about 2 ½ years working as a paralegal in NYC and deciding that I didn't want to pursue a career in law, I went to graduate school in historic preservation. My interest in historic preservation was sparked by a Winter Term course at Skidmore called "Colonial Williamsburg and Philadelphia." Professor Kuroda was one of the teachers. Anyway, I decided to pursue a career in historic preservation. After Cornell, it took me awhile to find a job, but I ended up at the Ohio Historic Preservation Office here in Columbus. Asa result of federal historic preservation legislation, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, every state has a historic preservation office. I worked in the Review and Compliance department, which has responsibility for reviewing projects that are "federal undertakings" (that is, receive federal funding or require federal permits) to determine the project's impact on significant cultural resources. This involved determining whether or not there is a significant resource involved, and then evaluating the impact. For example, there were a number of projects involving making WPA era post offices handicapped accessible. First, we had to evaluate the post offices and the artwork (most of these were less than 50 years old so we had to demonstrate special significance) and then we had to look at how the handicapped accessibility was handled to determine the projects effect. My history background helped me with research, and evaluation of historic and cultural resources in a broader context. While at the OHPO, I decided to go to law school (after all). So, now I am an environmental attorney working for the state of Ohio. Most of my work involves negotiating with "responsible parties" to try to get them to agree to investigate, and ultimately clean up hazardous waste contamination. Again, being a lawyer involves doing research and that is something that I started to learn to do at Skidmore.

Class of 1976


Location: Virginia, Further Education: Master of Library Science, 1980. Career title: Librarian, Adult Information Services. Work with the public, research any and all questions from patrons using every type of resource including electronic databases, internet, reference collections. Answer electronic chat inquiries. Having a liberal arts degree as a base is invaluable to a librarian. I get inquiries on every possible subject, and often have to guide the patron to help them refine a question and focus their research. With the advent of internet and electronic resources there is so much more information out there but not all of is useful. Having the ability to quickly sort out what is relevant and from an authoritative source is essential. My history degree prepared me to sort through material, evaluate sources, and do research quickly, skills which I use every day in my job. In addition, the ability to choose the correct search language is very important to achieve relevant results, so the writing skills I acquired as part of my major in history proved to be extremely helpful in that regard.

Rena Weissman Wallenius '76

I was a history and government (dual) major at Skidmore and graduated in 1976. I graduated from University of San Diego School of Law in 1979. I am in private practice. I would be happy to hear from anyone interested in my journey.

Valerie Shepard Cortalano '77

Garrison, NY My history degree did nothing for me ever in the workplace. I work at a Residential Treatment Center for Children as the Director of Admissions.

Pam Fennell Baker '78

I loved being a history-government major. I live in Rochester NY (since 1986) but after graduation I lived in DC from 78-86. I received my JD in 1984 from George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA. I am employed by US Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY 26) and I run his campaign office, specializing in fundraising. I have worked for Tom since he was first elected in 1998. My history degree is a constant in my life (ask Tad about my Senior Thesis on the election of 1800 and how we both used it when GW Bush was running against Gore). My history degree landed my internship at the Smithsonian (thanks to Joanna Zangrando - I worked for her in the American Studies Dept.) and it impressed many of my future bosses in DC. I use my knowledge when counseling my boss, my children, and my girl scout troop to name a few. The knowledge I absorbed from Tad is part of my being. I could go on forever but don't have time.

Lynn Fitchet Filipski '78

Short Hills, New Jersey received a master of arts from New York University in 1989 in media communication/media ecology. During college, I interned at the Ballston Spa Historical Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence. Unfortunately, museum work, although gratifying, does not pay well. After graduation, I moved to New York City and worked in publishing for the Hearst Corporation and Doubleday. I edited fiction and wrote copy blurbs initially and then became a copywriter producing advertising and marketing materials. Later I moved to Chicago and worked at a business newspaper. In addition to print copy work, I wrote radio commercials and produced a television commercial. Lots of my time was spent analyzing research and audience data as well as preparing presentations for the sales staff. From there, I went on to a dream job at J. Walter Thompson in research and strategic planning. I worked on quantitative and qualitative research projects for clients such as Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Kellogg, Gerber and Ameritech. All my jobs required the ability to write well and analyze research, skills that I certainly used as a history major. I returned to New York and received a masters in communication with my thesis on political polling. Subsequently, I have worked as a consultant on research projects. In my career, I have found that my courses in psychology, English and art history were also very helpful.

Sheila Killeen '79

I was a 1979 graduate with a double major in history & government. I absolutely loved my academic experience at Skidmore (excluding geology!) I especially enjoyed Dr. Kuroda and Dr. Lee. They really brought history alive. Dr. Lee was my advisor and senior year she had our senior seminar classes at her house. After graduation, I worked in retail for a few years as it was very well paying a and then in manufacturing for a while, I finally settled on Financial Services as my career choice and presently work for Fidelity Investments. I continue my life long interest in history by veracious reading on subjects that catch my eye. For a while, I was on a Civil War kick and read everything I could get my hands on. I also have keen interest in W.W.II and have read a great deal on that subject. To augment my readings, I am fortunate to have traveled extensively around the world. Asia, the MiddleEast, the UK, Western Europe, Central Europe, Russia, etc.... As a matter of fact, I just returned from a cruise on the Rhine river where two members of the trip where in Patton's 4th Division and crossed the Rhine at Ramagen, which we passed. Talk about a primary source! I'm hoping that my trip next year is to Normandy and the Loire Valley. I was telling Jeff Segrave this morning that once I win the Lottery, I'm going to get my PhD in American History. Guess I better buy some more tickets!