University at Buffalo Department of History

 

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Alumni Memories

“There is something to be said about “trial-by-fire.” The invaluable opportunities to attend departmental meetings, sit on two search committees (one in African American Studies), and vote as a graduate representative provided insight into a world that would soon define my professional life. In addition, the wonderful classes and independent studies I took at UB (“shout outs” to Drs. Bono, Cahn, Radford, Thornton, Seeman, Ekeh, and Gerber) serve as models on which I develop my own courses and fashion relationships with my graduate students. Of course, the awesome dissertation “triumvirate” (Frisch, Bono, and Thornton) pushed me to realize my own scholarly potential and find my own academic voice. In short, my experience at UB prepared me for the rigors of academic life at a Research One university and the pursuit of the “life of the mind.”

- Jeannette Jones, PhD 2003, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska


"I truly enjoyed my time as a PhD student at UB. Not only did I gain valuable teaching experience, but I also received financial support for my research and while finishing my dissertation. My advisors were terrific. They helped me to develop both intellectually and professionally. They were very supportive throughout the dissertation process. On the whole, it was a great experience."

-Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, PhD 2005, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan at Flint


"From the outset the faculty in the Department of History were extraordinarily helpful and kind. Although my interests tended toward a field outside the specific interests of any one professor, my advisor and others worked with me to provide the best possible education. Without their help and tremendous support there is no way I could have gone on to a PhD in European medieval history!  I've found that at the graduate level, the faculty, more than  anything else, can make or break a program. It is rare to find professors so committed to their students, always available, friendly, and pushing you forward. From analyzing documents to writing skills there is no aspect of academia that will not benefit from graduate work at UB. In addition, fellow graduate students made the experience a more enjoyable and valued experience."

-Andrew Harris, MA 2006, currently a doctoral student at the University of Rochester


"Why did Americans' attitudes toward nature change in the nineteenth century? To help answer this question, my dissertation explored the cultural, social, and intellectual forces that shaped nineteenth-century children's understanding of the natural world. After completing wide-ranging readings in cultural and scientific history, I researched a diversity of sources: children's books and teachers' publications, science texts and Sunday School magazines, diaries and the records of science clubs. As I explored these rich and little-studied materials, my professors helped me articulate the historical and historiographical implications of my findings while all the time insisting that I communicate my findings clearly and concisely. The Ph.D. program in history at UB trained me well for my current job as director of research at a major museum devoted to the study of children and cultural history."

-Jon-Paul Dyson, Ph.D. 2002, Director of Research, The Strong Museum, Rochester, New York


"The M.A. program in history was tremendously helpful to me in focusing what I wanted to do with my degree in history while I matured as a writer, thinker, and historian. The program took my thinking to the next level. It was instrumental in helping me make the step into the Ph.D. program in public history at Arizona State University, which I might never have considered -- or been able to gain admission to -- without the guidance of my professors. The program gave me the opportunity to work closely with faculty to develop my specific interests as well as gain a broader knowledge of various topics. The faculty and curriculum encourage original thinking, sharper analysis, and productive discourse, and that helped me better understand my own strengths and weaknesses. Attending UB to get my master's before moving on to the Ph.D. was one of the best decisions I have made."

-Jill Horoshoe, M.A. 2003


"My dissertation enabled me to combine my multiple interests in race, religion, culture, and the relationship between the U.S. and the rest of the hemisphere. I got the idea for the project while researching something quite different for a research seminar. I was looking into revivalism in upstate New York in the 1820s when I came across a statement by a Presbyterian minister who held up newly independent Spanish America as an example of the kind of degradation that awaited Buffalonians if they failed to repent and reform. It piqued my curiousity - did most U.S. citizens feel the same way? Wheni investigated further, I was fascinated to discover how many U.S. writers and thinkers were sympathetic to Spanish America, notwithstanding differences of race, culture, and religion."

-Mark Jaede, Ph.D. 2002, Assistant Professor, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota


"When I started the M.A. program in history at UB, I was trying to decide whether to pursue a career as a historian or work in the field of labor relations. As it turned out, I decided fairly soon that studying history was what I wanted to do -- but I didn't give up my interest in labor relations: Now I'm studying labor history in a Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois.

The M.A. program trained me in academic rigor, taught me basic historiography, and exposed me to the latest theories in history. It gave me the flexibility to complement my studies with research seminars, personalized reading courses, and independent study within and outside of the department.

During my two years in the M.A. program at UB, I studied with a fascinating cross-section of fellow students -- Ph.D. candidates, high school teachers, law students, blue-collar workers (including myself), and people returning to academic life after having spent years in different professional careers."

-Jason Kozlowski, M.A. 2003



"I can summarize my experience as a graduate student in UB's History Department quite easily: I loved it. I loved the courses and the intellectual atmosphere. Most importantly, I loved the people. As UB there are people who truly care, great mentors and advisors who dare one to be a committed, caring, thoughtful scholar and professional. I made friends and colleagues for life. Also, my life as a graduate student was made easier by the many grants and fellowships I was able to secure from state, university, and department sources. Finally, the department gave me a rare gift: It not only prepared me to be a scholar, it transformed me into a professional. Throughout my many years there, I had the opportunity to become an active member of the department, participating in its government as president of the History Graduate Student Association, as a representative to the Graduate Committee and on one of the search committees, and as a long-time teaching assistant and, later, a member of the adjunct faculty. Such professional training - rare for a graduate student - made me a better candidate on the professional market."

-Maritére Lopez, Ph.D. 2003, Assistant Professor, State University of California/Fresno


"People used to ask me where I wanted to teach after I got my history M.A. It seemed to surprise them when I'd explain that teaching wasn't my only option. When you arm yourself with the research, analysis, and writing skills that you can develop in UB's history M.A., you're ready for a multitude of careers.

I chose public history as my major subject area. My master's project involved the design and implementation of a permanent historical exhibit at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Buffalo. I explored the broader field of public history while learning how to curate the exhibit.

I now work as a historical researcher at the Archaeological Survey in the Department of Anthropology here at UB. Out focus is public archaeology (prehistoric and historic) and archaeological site protection. We make our work widely available through public outreach and community access programs."

-Nathan Montague, M.A. 2002


"The training I received in the M.A. program in history at UB made me a more attractive job applicant and helped me to land a job in one of the most competitive and well-known school districts in New York State. By the time I was finished with the program, not only had I developed my knowledge of history but I had honed my skills in research methods, information gathering, and writing.

One of the reasons I chose to study at UB was that the M.A. program in history allowed me to choose from a wide variety of courses, including a number of interdisciplinary courses, so I could create a schedule that accommodated my needs. Also, the low tuition was an important factor. But I can really recommend the program the most strongly for the faculty -- the professors were really mentors, giving me the guidance and support that I now try to give my students."

-Daniel Zambito, M.A. 2003

 

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