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Professor Lendol Calder and his department colleagues help students gain the knowledge and critical thinking skills to become responsible scholars and individuals who compete in the global marketplace.

  • 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.

Andrew Shaffer ’11, history major

Graduate student in international studies, University of San Francisco

“In my second term at Augie, I took a history class that exposed me to the modern realities in Latin America for the first time. This class, taught by Dr. Todd, piqued my interest in the region and in Argentina specifically. Through conversations with Dr. Todd and others, I learned that my interest didn’t have to end once the class finished, and we set about making a plan to get me to Argentina to do my own research. A few months later, with the help of funds from the Freistat Center for World Peace and Augie Choice, I was on the ground in Argentina, taking Spanish classes and performing my very own research. While I was there I toured some of the most historically important areas of Buenos Aires, participated in a protest for marriage equality, became mostly fluent in Spanish and made the first inroads into research that I am continuing now in my graduate study.”

Tom Geraci ’08, history and secondary education majors

Vocational coordinator McHenry and Johnsburg schools

“Since graduating, I have taught history, worked for President Obama’s election twice, and assisted young adults with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining and succeeding in competitive employment. Thanks to Augustana’s history department, I had the tools to take on all of these challenges. At Augustana, the study of history is an ongoing discussion … to be part of which requires thinking critically, seeking multiple perspectives, reflection and plain old hard work. Pursuing the past in this way gave me not only the hard skills of a historian, but the soft skills needed to succeed in many areas.”

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.

Conference offers chance to meet other history students

Sophomore Max Bestvina received an honorable mention for his paper, "The Army Navy 'E' Production Award and the Quad Cities in WWII," presented at the regional Phi Alpha Theta history honor society conference April 2.
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