Welcome! The Alumni Spotlight is a new initiative to help keep alumni connected to our federated history community. Alumni will be featured here, and in our e-newsletters. Over time, we hope that this webpage will become a hub where history graduates can get in touch with old friends and classmates, share stories and memories, and connect on common interests. At the very least, it will be an excellent way to advertise yourself!
Maggie Tchorzewska 2015 (B.A., History Major)
Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Everything about the program is great. During my time as an undergraduate, I especially valued the welcoming and supportive spirit of the department- the entire staff as well as the professors. There was always someone who was ready to offer a helping hand, whether in composing a paper, setting up a schedule of classes, or in organizing research for a Senior Thesis project.
Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Aside from the caring environment shaped by everyone involved within the program, another strength was definitely the variety of the courses offered by the department.
Q: How did your experience as a history major/minor influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: I always had much interest in the subject of History. To me, studying the past and its relation to all of us is fascinating as there is always a new and unique element of history that one can delve into and explore. As an undergrad, I had the opportunity to transform into a historian myself whenever I sat down in any one of my history classes and that was one of the most memorable moments of my college career. I want to continue my education and further expand my historical knowledge. Studying history made me realize that it is within the sphere of history that I want to continue to grow, develop, and hopefully in the future, make my addition to historical research by way of my own findings.
Q: What aspect of your training in history has been a benefit to you personally or professionally?
A: My writing and reading skills have evolved tremendously as a result of being exposed to numerous historical sources; this is an advantage as these particular skills are ones that I utilize in everyday life. Examining and analyzing the historical past has also taught me how to uncover the connections between what has been, what is, and what will be.
Q: Do you have any advice for current history majors/minors? For the Department?
A: All of the difficulties and obstacles that you will encounter as a history student will be worth it because it is through struggle that you learn and achieve the most. So immerse yourself in all that is history, read and examine the past. Do not be afraid to take classes that will challenge you because I can guarantee you, those will enlighten you most.
Q: What courses best helped you prepare for graduate work or professional work?
A: All of the history courses that I have taken were special in their own way. History of Islamic Civilization with Professor Varlik helped me learn about important ideas of the Islamic world. In current times, when Islam is often attacked by those who fail to understand it, I am truly grateful to have learned all that I did in this course. When people reject education they prevent themselves from obtaining vital information and in turn, stun their own intellectual development. Perspectives in History with Professor Giloi was another valuable course because it trained me to think like a historian. The Research Seminars with Professor Strub were ultimately the courses which offered a look into the experience of a graduate student. Through my experience as a history student, I was able to find connections between my Perspectives in History course and my Research Seminars which essentially helped me create my own research topic. Being able to understand points of view and concepts that differ from one's own ideas is essential to studying history and all these courses have shown me that, essentially helping to prepare me for my future role as a graduate student.
Q: What would you recommend about the program?
A: I recommend everything about the History program. I admire the incredibly enthusiastic staff and all the knowledgeable professors for their commitment to inspire and encourage each student to experience a personal growth by forming their own connections to history; Christina Strasburger is a terrific administrator but more importantly a truly wonderful person who makes everything possible. I admire professors Varlik, Giloi, and Strub as they each passionately represent the qualities of true historians. The program takes care of its students and helps mold them into individuals who continue to engage themselves in learning even after they are out of school.
Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Comprehensive, Rich, Illuminating"
However, I think that the following phrase can best describe my experience with the History program and what I took away from it:
"When you familiarize yourself with the historical past, you gift yourself with the strength and skill to extend a helping hand in order to change and mend the present world and thus, help make better and enrich the times which are yet to come."