Laura Martin 2014 (M.A., American)
Social Studies Teacher
Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I loved the program’s flexibility. When I began my studies at Rutgers-Newark, I had just begun my professional foray into the world of K-12 education. I needed a program that would permit me to complete the degree at my own pace, accommodate my schedule as a working commuter student, and allow me to design a curriculum that matched my personal and professional interests. The Graduate History Program at RU-N fit the bill on all three counts.
Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The greatest strength of the program is, without a doubt, the dedicated faculty and staff who work tirelessly to meet the needs of their diverse student body. The faculty are incredibly knowledgeable and accessible, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with historians who challenged me to think deeper, search further, and question constantly. The staff are also so supportive - I can’t thank them enough for their help in navigating the program’s requirements.
Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional expierence?
A: As a middle school social studies teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to integrate my training with my instructional practices. I feel that I have become fairly adept in recent years at pushing my students to consider events from multiple perspectives, at asking them to search for answers to ‘essential’ historical questions, and at encouraging them to interrogate the contents of our curriculum. I also find myself stressing skills that are important to historical scholarship - critical reading, research, and writing.
Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: First, I would advise current graduate students to speak up! Engage in classroom conversations. Talk to faculty. Meet with other students to discuss your work. Participate in the historical community. You will learn so much from your interactions with others. Second, and on a related note, seek out help when you need it. Graduate level work can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to balance your academic pursuits with other demands. The faculty and staff are there to assist you - avail yourself of their services.
Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Engaging, enriching, encouraging"