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An Update from Jackson Stotlar '11

The value of a History major

An update from Jackson Stotlar, Class of 2011, about the value of a History major:

“Students of history become adept in the art of weaving, and unweaving, the multifaceted threads that form the fabric of human experience. We learn that constructing a picture of the past is not as simple as gathering “facts;” we must seek out multiple perspectives and ask who benefits from those interpretations of events. The who and why of history matter deeply to our understanding the what.

It never fails to amaze me how incredibly useful it is to filter life through the lens of my historical training. When I approach a subject with the intellectual curiosity of a historian, I inevitably come to a far more complex and fruitful understanding of the task at hand.

I work in academic administration for The Ohio State University. To say that a university of Ohio State’s scale is a complex bureaucracy borderlines on an understatement. But my history training has uniquely prepared me to navigate the intricacies of such a system. Untangling the structures, players, political stakes, and narratives that undergird day to day operations makes it far easier for me to do my job (and makes routine paperwork more interesting, if occasionally more frustrating). From advocating for systemic change and managing multi-year projects, to connecting with my students and even sending clearer emails, my history degree has taught me to be a big picture thinker and has proved invaluable in advancing my career.

The benefits I’ve reaped from my time at Santa Clara extend beyond my 9 to 5 as well. I am a far gentler, kinder, and more informed friend, neighbor, and citizen when I take the time to understand the larger complexities of any situation. The faculty, classes, and students I engaged with as a history major at Santa Clara truly laid the foundational practices that inform every aspect of my life.

So, is a history degree worth it? Absolutely. But don’t let me be the only one to tell you that."

Jackson Stotlar is the Academic Program Coordinator for the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. He enjoys games of all kinds, studying the Gilded Age and Progressive Era of American History, taking feminist approaches to ethical quandaries, and grilling meats.

Alumni Story, history alum