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What can you do with a history major?
PhD Student, Stanford
"The history major hones a student's ability to think critically, argue effectively, and write persuasively. After graduating from SCU I was hired as a TV news promotion writer/producer/editor solely on the strength of my writing skills. After years in the industry I returned to school to pursue a Masters degree in History. Thanks in part to my Santa Clara education, I excelled in that program and am now pursuing a PhD in Latin American history. My advice to prospective history majors is to do what you love and do it well, and opportunity and success will follow no matter which major you choose."
Anna Mascoli '12
J.D. Candidate, NYU School of Law
"After graduation, I began law school at NYU. The educational experience I had as a history major is very similar to the legal education I have had. I spend time studying different legal frameworks, and applying these to novel situations. The ability to critically analyze rather than simply memorize is an invaluable skill I learned during my time at Santa Clara, and will serve me well as a practicing attorney. In addition, the research and writing skills that I developed as a history major put me a step ahead when I began school. Instead of wasting time learning how to use search engines and write topic sentences, I spent time honing my persuasive writing and developing my oral argument skills. Feeling prepared in law school is something that should never be underestimated!"
History Teacher, San Jose
"As a history teacher in southeast San Jose, I have been able to excite students in learning about the past. Earning my degree in history from SCU helped prepare me to teach history, not teach the textbook; it has helped me to mentor new history teachers, and to design cross-curricular units for the new Common Core. It is helping me to make a difference in education."
Andrea Dlugos '12
Account Executive, Full Circle Wine Solutions
"Majoring in history equiped me with a cultural awareness and sensitivity that is uniquely emphasized in the wine industry. Studying history also tought me the invaluable skills of critically analyzing issues and applying that knowledge to create a compelling argument for solutions to present-day problems. These skills are necessary in a marketing position such as mine, where I evaluate the success of programs in the past to create plans that build on what has worked well while developing new strategies to ensure that previous mistakes are not repeated (as is the goal when studying history). Ultimately, our clients want to tell a story about their wines. History is the accumulation of stories, so being able to analyze and understand these stories and communicate them to others is a skill that is pivotal to any type of marketing position."
Hilary Armstrong '00
Directing Attorney, Health Legal Services | Mental Health Advocacy Project, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
"I use skills that I developed through my history major every single day on the job – from research and writing to analyzing the facts and law in my clients’ cases to communicating with other service providers, government officials, and elected leaders. In addition, my background in history has given me a unique perspective on the issues that my clients face, especially how the history of mental health and HIV treatment in the United States impacts how my clients experience those systems today."
Danielle Vermazen '11
Technology Sales, Salesforce.com
"Since graduation, I've worked in technology sales and recently relocated with my company to sell Software as a Service to the Federal Government. My job requires me to find new business opportunities in federal agencies and present possible solutions to my customers. As a history major, I developed presentation and research skills that I use every day in my current job. My company stresses the importance of telling a story when presenting new solutions to a customer and my experience in preparing for my thesis taught me how to present new ideas to any audience."
Richelle Neal '10
Pediatric Resident, Phoenix Children's Hospital
"I graduated in June 2010 from Santa Clara University as a proud recipient of a history degree. Entering college with a dream of becoming a pediatrician, I initially ignored my love for history, trading it in for a more traditional path to enter medicine. But I kept being drawn to history courses and the great faculty at Santa Clara’s history department. They made it possible for me to not only succeed as a history major; but more importantly, they provided the tools to excel in my chosen field of medicine and eventual field of pediatrics. Each and every course expanded my critical thinking and broadened my perspective on the importance of culture and the past. Santa Clara’s history department set me up for success in approaching patients and not just seeing the medical diagnosis, but in the setting of a community, a family, and as an individual. I am able to see cultural and ethical aspects that have helped me start to build the type of practice I aspire to achieve."
Bridget Brown '12
"As a history major I studied colonialism and gender relations, moreover the silencing of the female voice throughout this period (and ultimately all of history). It is the lessons learned from these lectures which have led me down my current path and equipped me with the knowledge and energy for a future in the world of nonprofits and women’s rights. Technology is our future and we cannot allow women to remain absent and without voices in this field."
Michael O'Sullivan '10
PhD Student, University of California- Los Angeles
Guy Marzorati '13
AM Producer, KQED Public Radio
"The classes I took taught as a History major taught me strong writing skills and the ability to analyze daily events with a wider perspective. When I took on a History major at Santa Clara, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation, but I left with a set of fundamental skills that allowed me to pursue a wide variety of paths."
Sarah Tkach '11
Technological Support, Castilleja School
"I work in the technology department at a private girls' school, providing administrative support and assisting with various technical support issues. Though I did not have a technical background, my boss hired me for the communication and critical thinking skills I had nurtured through studying history. Specifically, I developed skills to notice details, ask thoughtful questions, and acknowledge that context matters. My comfort with details has helped me learn about troubleshooting technology, as often a small detail makes the difference between a device working or not working the way someone wants. Students and employees call tech support in crisis, and I use careful, thoughtful dialogue to understand the context and triage the issues. Folks have a wide range of tech knowledge and experience, and some feel embarrassed to ask a "simple" question. I seek to dignify each person's experience, recognizing that each comes from a different background; I don't make assumptions even in a technology-rich school. Finally, I appreciate that in neither history nor technology can I claim to have all the answers, which inspires me to keep learning."
Holly Kearl '05
Consultant, UN Women's Safe Cities Global Initiative