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History


After analyzing historical changes in the German nation and state, Augustana students investigated Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on a 2016 trip. The gate has played an important symbolic role in culture and politics.
  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

Augustana graduates in history pursue careers in the fields of research, government, education, law, museum and archival work, communications and business.

Students can receive up to nine credits in history internships. Students also gain hands-on experience through student teaching and by taking part in the international and experiential learning opportunities related to the teaching and research of their professors. These include the college’s programs in China, Germany, Ghana, Senegal, Peru and Mexico; the academic term at Holden Village in the Pacific Northwest; and service learning and/or research on American Indian communities in Oklahoma.

Recent history majors have completed internships with the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa; the Figge Museum, Davenport, Iowa; Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois; Rock Island County Historical Society; Seton Catholic School, Moline, Illinois; and the Quad City Botanical Center.

What graduates do

Here's a sampling of what history graduates do:

Angela Corsa ’10  is a graduate student in Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago, working toward a Ph.D. in history.

Tushar Rae '10 is a journalist and educator who has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education and taught social studies and special education at a residential placement for juvenile delinquents.

Alexander Vlastnik ’13 is pursuing a master’s degree in history at Western Illinois University.

Augustana offers a major and minor in history, a history teaching major, and a history honors program for majors intending to pursue graduate school in history; this includes a foreign language, an additional 3-credit history course and a two-term honors project guided by a faculty member.

More than half of Augustana history majors declare a second major, most commonly anthropology, geography, political science, sociology or religion—as well as related fields such as Africana, Asian, Latin American and women’s and gender studies. Most students in the pre-law program major in history.

Facts & distinctions

Through a nationally recognized curriculum designed by Augustana history faculty, Augustana students learn history not through memorization of facts and events, but by learning to understand and interpret history.

The eight full-time faculty members all have a Ph.D. and are leaders in innovative education methods, published research and international programs; one was named the 2011 Illinois Professor of the Year.

All students complete an original historical research project for their Senior Inquiry capstone, an experience that is especially rare for students of history teaching: Augustana history education students complete Senior Inquiry under the guidance of a historian and leader in the field of teaching history.

Paul Landahl '15, history and mathematics; Working for the Southwest Conservation Corps., Salida Ranger District, Salida, Colorado, with plans for graduate school in 2016

"I'm really surprised about the accuracy of the silly motivational quote "Anything worth doing isn't easy." [At Augustana], I pushed and challenged myself beyond my preconceived physical, emotional and mental capacities. I never thought I could become a Class IV whitewater raft guide, navigating the rapids of the Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon. I never thought I could successfully handle a long-distance relationship for several months. I never thought I could graduate cum laude with two tough majors with ZERO overlapping classes.... I really think I am an overall better person for
going through these tough tasks."

Sami Turner '15, history and anthropology majors, art history minor; Pursuing master's in museum studies at Western Illinois University

"I came to Augie knowing I wanted to major in history, but that was it. I had an interest in museums, but had no idea that interest would turn out to be what I actually did with my life, or would lead me to two other fields of study! I think if you'd told freshman me everything I'd be doing as a senior, I wouldn't have believed you."

Alexander Vlastnik '13, history and classical studies; Pursuing master's in history at Western Illinois University

"I was drawn to Augustana by the accessibility and friendly nature of the school. Selling points such as no teaching assistants and the ability to have a faculty advisor who worked in my area of study helped me make my decision.

My advisor in the classics department, Dr. Kramer, helped me immensely by sitting down with me and figuring out a program of study that would fit my needs, as well as helping me look for institutions for continuing my education after graduation. Dr. Calder [in history] also helped me as an advisor in working through my Senior Inquiry and helping me refine my approach to the research and writing process."

Angela Corsa '10, history, Spanish and English; Completed master's in Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago; currently a bilingual nonprofit program manager in Chicago

"My time at Augustana was invaluable. I met amazing people ... who helped me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and shaped me as an individual. I also had experiences that I don't think I would have been privileged to have otherwise, such as studying abroad in Ecuador and doing an interdisciplinary senior project with the history and Spanish departments.

I think one of my favorite memories happened during my first year in my LSFY class with Dr. Ellis. He told us he did not want to discuss Marx because he disagreed so strongly with his theories, so he had a guest lecturer for the day and left. We sat there confused for a minute waiting, and he came back in came back into the room, stood at the podium, and annouced, "Hello. I'm Karl Marx." He taught the entire class in character. I have no doubt that this experience contributed to my final decision to become a history major"

 

Rebecca Hopman '11: a librarian's conversion

Rebecca Hopman '11, outreach librarian with the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., was "over the moon" after an introduction to Special Collections at Augustana: "I could combine my interests in history, literature, and librarianship, and, let’s be honest, read other people’s letters and diaries." Hopman majored in English, history and German.

Connecting interests leads Rakers down memorable path

Kendra Rakers ’16 is interested in memory and how it works, particularly as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. So she chose an interdisciplinary major in neuroscience with minors in biochemistry and history.It’s a perfect fit, she says, because each field approaches memory from a different point of view, which is a good way to provide more flexibility in her career. As she sees it, “I’ll probably wind up with a job that hasn’t been invented yet.”

Meyer gets to talk baseball analytics

History major Julia Meyer rubbed elbows with major leaguers last month after winning a scholarship from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to attend its Analytics Conference in Phoenix.
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