Stephanie Jones-Rogers (M.A., American)
Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley
Q: What did you like about the program?
A: As a person with a BA in psychology I lacked the skills necessary to engage with historical materials, conduct research, and to be an exceptional historian. My RU-N MA coursework prepared me to hit the ground running when I entered a doctoral program.
Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The stellar faculty and quality/variety of course offerings.
Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: I worked full time while completing the MA program, something that evening course offerings allowed me to do. But it was my constant engagement with faculty and fellow students which convinced me that I wanted to pursue my doctoral degree in history and if possible, become a professor.
Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?
A: I had the pleasure of working with extraordinary and supportive faculty who exemplified the kind of scholar I hoped to become. They pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged me to think beyond the obvious, and in the most supportive ways, helped me to deal with critiques in a constructive way. I have since drawn upon their pedagogical models as I’ve crafted my own courses and revisited many of the materials we covered in class. In word and deed the RU-N faculty served as models worthy of emulation.
Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: I initially applied, unsuccessfully, to PhD programs and initially I considered the MA program to be a “worst case scenario” because I aimed higher. But I soon came to realize that the MA program was equally rigorous and demanding in ways that prepared me for the kind of work I’d be expected to complete in the PhD program. So I would advise those students who are entering the MA program after not being admitted to the PhD program of their choice to recognize the exceptional quality of the MA program, and to realize that upon graduation, you will be a better scholar that you were when you entered, you will be in a more optimal position to gain acceptance into your PhD program of choice, and you may ultimately secure the
academic position of your dreams, which is precisely what happened to me.
Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
The RU-N History Department offers rigorous training and preparation for doctoral programs.