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Andrew Isidoro’10 BA,’12 MA, Reading Room Assistant, John J. Burns Library, Boston College
Throughout high school and my undergrad years, I always wanted to be a history teacher. History always fascinated me and getting the chance to share my passion with students every day seemed like an ideal career. While working on degrees in American History and Medieval History at PC, I got a graduate assistant position in the Archives and Special Collections Department in the Phillips Memorial Library. From day one I was fascinated by the collections held by the library and the work we were doing to make these collections usable and findable by faculty, staff, and students. From rare books that were hundreds of years old, to recent publications by campus groups, the Archives had a wide array of materials that could be used by scholars and independent researchers alike.
Once I completed my degrees, I knew that the library world was the place for me. I have been working at the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College for over five years now, and I am constantly using the skills I obtained from my history degrees as well as my GA position in the library. From curating exhibits and hosting classes, to helping researchers find important library holdings, each day is a chance to use the critical thinking and research skills I gained as a student at PC. I’ve been extremely fortunate to find a career that I love, and owe much of that to my time in the History Department at Providence College.
Ryan Fink‘14, Development Associate, Fordham Preparatory School
Having studied History and Theatre at PC, and gone on to study business for my masters degree, I can confidently say that my History education has served me the best. Since graduation I have worked in hospitality, theatre management, and now fundraising, and the education in writing, communicating, and research I gained from the History Department has greatly improved my ability to work as a well-rounded employee.
A History degree at Providence College will enable you to engage with people from different walks of life, and will give you the necessary foundations to pursue a career in any field that you choose.
Heather Macaulay ‘04, Head of Marketing & Brand Solutions, Publishers Clearing House
My history degree from Providence College prepared me greatly for the career I’ve had thus far in the digital advertising/media industry. Over the past 15 years I’ve enjoyed a variety of leadership roles overseeing large revenue teams, both global and domestic, across sales, account management, and marketing. You may think that my detailed knowledge of the Cold War (thank you, Dr. Manchester!) has not helped me land jobs or assisted in growing revenue for an organization but I believe that my years spent earning my history degree has been an incredible driver in building my career.
I still remember how engaged I felt during lively class discussions, the art of summarizing hours of reading and how to present a seemingly tired subject in a way that brought it to life. I know the importance of telling a good story and the need for passion in any presentation…be it a lecture on Napoleon or a sales presentation. Beyond my “9 to 5” job, I was asked to guest lecture a class for NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies by a client. Soon after, NYU approached me about teaching my own class on Mobile Marketing and Advertising, which I did for a few years. I loved taking my passion for teaching and combining it with my love for emerging media.
I am thankful to Providence College for giving me the confidence, passion and experience to pursue a career I love. And I thank the History Department for being the driving force beyond this.
Courtney McCurdy ‘15, Coordinator, Leadership Gifts, Boston Children’s Hospital
When I reflect on my experience as an undergraduate at Providence College, I have fond memories that for many consist of cheering on the Friars at Schneider Arena and the Dunk, late nights with friends, and 10:30 mass at St. Dom’s. Yes, I cherish those memories, but in my day-to-day life, the tasks I am assigned, projects I manage, and relationships I build often spark distinct memories from the phenomenal professors and classes within the PC History department. There is rarely a week that goes by where I don’t connect an aspect of my life—whether it be social or professional—to one of the many courses that I enjoyed during my four years.
Every day I wish I were back as an undergraduate student at PC, for many compelling reasons as referenced above. But in all honesty, the more compelling reason I wish to be back, is so I can relive the days where I sung along to the lyrics of Bob Dylan, studied the timeline of World War One, wrote journal entries about the terror of the guillotine, and so much more.
Being a history major taught me so much more than “what happened in the past.” Being a history major taught me to observe my surroundings and the events of the world from a critical and analytical perspective. Being a history major taught me that as important as the words are on the page, it’s equally as important to note what isn’t written. Being a history major allows me to accept different perspectives, and determine fact from fiction. If I were to go back, there is no reason I would be persuaded to be anything but a history major.
Greg Winsper ‘86, Vice President, National Life Group
When I started my journey at Providence College in 1982, I was a Biology major thinking I was going to be a doctor someday. After slogging through the first semester I quickly realized, ‘not for me.’ But I did find a new passion with History introduced to me during Western Civ. At that point, I really wasn’t thinking about ‘what can I do with a History degree,’ rather ‘I’d like to enjoy my college experience with a subject that interests me.’ I was intrigued, mesmerized, and challenged during my 4 years by PC’s History professors, such as Dr. Mullen and Dr. McCaffrey. It also provided me the opportunity to get more involved in activities at PC, such as becoming the Editor-in-Chief at The Cowl. Upon graduation, I looked to the world of financial services, where I have been ever since 1986. I have found over the years that many employers value a Liberal Arts degree and my History major has not held me back in anyway. I have held Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Training positions at different companies over the last 32 years. Currently I am the Vice President of Field Training & Leadership Development at The National Life Group. One final thought: As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “the more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”
Anne Wolff Lawson ‘97, Department Administrator, Italian Studies Department, New York University
I graduated with my BA in History in 1997. I learned so much in those four years – from everything learned in the DWC program (what a gift!) to American history with Dr. Manchester in my freshman year to senior year with Dr. O’Malley’s ever-popular Irish history course to Dr. McCaffrey’s erudite European history survey courses. I then worked for five years in nonprofits and became a bit restless with a thirst for more. I came back home to my PC family from 2002 to 2004 and studied Modern European History this time around. I had studied abroad in Florence, Italy as a junior and wanted to focus more in this area, but I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I took Dr. McCaffrey’s Historical Methodology course, which in my opinion, should be required for all undergraduate and graduate students. I took an eye-opening elective on the Arab-Israeli conflict with Dr. Manchester, a classic course on the Progressive Era with Dr. DiNunzio, and one of my favorite courses of all time, La Belle Epoque with Dr. Grace and Dr. Dowling.
What did I learn? To study history is to seek truth. I was given the tools to inquire, the methods to evaluate and gather information, and the writing skills to integrate all of this information and share it with the world. These skills are so important right now because as a trained historian, I can decipher between fake news and real news. I have learned about economic and political patterns that tend to reappear when certain cyclical conditions are met in society. Most importantly, I learned about the importance of preserving and sharing cultural heritage in order to point out how similar we are to each other rather than dissimilar. What do I do presently? I work at New York University and manage its Department of Italian Studies, one of the best programs to study Italian in the United States. I again have a thirst for more history and am pursuing a certificate in Public History at NYU. I think it is important to follow your passion and do what you love. Follow your truth. I will forever be grateful to Providence College, the History Department, the Dominican Friars, and the love of lifelong learning that they have provided me.
Bridget Newton ‘10, Registrar, Newport Historical Society
While at Providence College, I started taking history classes as interesting electives. Eventually, I had taken enough that it made sense to declare history as my second major. When graduation arrived, I knew that pursuing a career working in public history would allow me to engage with my love of the past every day. In addition to fostering this lifelong passion, my history classes at PC taught me the writing, interpretative analysis, and communication skills that I use daily working with museum collections and historical research.
Patrick McGann III ‘75, Teacher/Alumni Director, Christian Brothers Academy
When I entered PC in 1971 I declared History as my major as a vehicle to attend law school. I was part of the first class to take the Development of Western Civilization course as a requirement. I learned to love history in those 2 years and also in Dr. Deasy’s Presidential Elections course. I did not get accepted to law school at the end of senior year (due, in part to the fun I had my first semester). I was planning to re-apply in January when an opportunity arose to become a 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher at the local Catholic grammar school. That was 44 years ago. I spent 4 years at that grammar school, moved on to teach history at a Catholic high school in the area for the next 12 years and am now in my 27th year teaching US History at my high school Alma Mater, Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ! The history curriculum at Providence College turned my “liking” history into “loving” history!
Christopher Cartland ‘02, Value Stream Manager, Kaman Specialty Bearings & Engineered Products
I graduated in 2002 with my history degree and had little to no plan on what I was going to do. My first few years out of college saw an eclectic path; I worked for the Public Works department in my town, I was a bouncer at a rock and roll club, I worked in a recording studio, and I finally ventured off to start my own landscaping business.
I landscaped professionally for 3 years and was successful; I had nearly 70 accounts and a handful of employees. I realized being 6’7″ was not the best height for this industry and I sold off my company. At that point I had a friend who gave me an application to become a Buyer (Procurement Agent) for an aerospace firm he worked for. I knew nothing about procurement but knew that I had loved aviation and aerospace since I was little.
The rest is history. In 2005 I started off as an Associate Buyer, handling suppliers that performed chemical processing, non-destructive testing, and other metal finishing. Between that point and now, I have had 7 different job titles as my career has grown and I am now responsible for approximately $30M in sales annually. My team manufactures parts for landing gear, doors, flaps, tails, and flight controls, and we are on every aircraft that flies. I get to use the abilities I garnered from my history classes at PC (data retention and data analysis being the prominent two) in aerospace manufacturing.
Coleen Curry ‘13, High School History Teacher, Bishop Feehan High School
My PC degree has opened so many doors for me! Employers know that a degree in History from Providence College means I have a wide background of knowledge and a thorough training in content and methodology. I enjoyed my experience so much that I enrolled in the Masters program as well!
Katie Duval ’14, Master’s in Security Studies, Technology Consultant for Boston Police Department
The lessons taught in the Providence College History program are applicable to so many industries and jobs. Since leaving Providence, I completed a Master’s Degree in Security Studies and Homeland Defense, worked as a Product Marketing Specialist for a datawatch corporation, and recently started working on a technology contract for the Boston Police Department. In each of these roles, I find myself leveraging many of the skills I learned as a History student at PC. Specifically, the combination of research components and discussion-based classes prepared me to successfully communicate with my peers, both in academic and professional settings.
Dr. Andrews always tasked his classes with writing term papers that featured original arguments, but that were rich in primary research and supporting evidence. The entire time I was writing my graduate school capstone paper, I heard Dr. Andrews’ voice in the back of my mind reminding me to focus on making a solid, original argument that was grounded in unbiased facts. This approach to research also helped me learn new skills and concepts when I entered the technology world.
Discussion-based classes at PC also foster a mindset of collaboration, an important skill in any industry. These types of classes not only gave me the confidence to vocalize my thoughts in large groups, but taught me to listen to others and include their input in my decision-making. Practicing open discussion between different groups across business units fosters great business relationships and, more often than not, yields better business decisions than working alone.
I am forever thankful for the lessons I learned and the relationships I built through the History Department at PC. As always, Go Friars!
Mackenzie Tor ’18, Graduate Student, Department of History, University of Missouri
When I reflect on my time as a history student at Providence College, I feel grateful for how thoroughly it has prepared me for where I am now. Coursework in subjects ranging from East Asia to the American Revolution has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of history and the challenges it poses. Discussing various influential primary and secondary sources with the department’s brilliant faculty helped sharpen my critical thinking, which in turn has shown me the need for continually re-examining the past. With the support of many professors, this is precisely what I’ve set out to do by continuing my historical education.
Perhaps what most resonated with me during my time at Providence College was the encouragement from my professors to pursue independent research. Dr. Andrews, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Weimer all cultivated my interest in hands-on history, especially while I wrote my senior honors thesis. This emphasis on research was the initial spark for my desire to study history at the graduate level. Although this is just the beginning my career as a historian, I am confident in the sturdy foundations the Providence College History Department has imparted to me for embracing whatever opportunities arise in the future.
Dan Gagnon ’15, High School History Teacher, Danvers, MA
Soon after graduation I was elected as the then-youngest-serving Town Meeting Member in Danvers, Mass., allowing me a role to reshape the future of my hometown. Additionally, I now serve on the board of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead Museum in Danvers, the home of a victim of the 1692 Salem Village Witch Hunt. The museum presents the story of one of the most important events in colonial American history to the general public in a way that reveals the lessons that can be learned from such a tragic example of injustice.
Meredith Strokes Calcagni ’04, ‘Director of Consumer Finance Group, PwC
My history degree is invaluable to me – it is a constant presence in my professional career. Don’t get me wrong – I certainly don’t discuss topics like the Axis of Evil, the New Deal, or the Bay of Pigs on a daily basis. However, what my history degree taught me is that everything has a story – a past, a present, and a future – but also, someone gets to tell that story. When I work with clients to solve their biggest issues, I look to uncover their story – how did they get here, what were the main events that brought them to this place, what is their present situation, and how do we re-write the past to better their future? I get to help my clients tell their story, but also shape their place in their history.
Doug Smith ’88, American Society of Golf Architects, Golf Design Unlimited
As a freshman at PC I had no idea what I wanted to do. The single major I actually had a love for was History. I knew I wanted to travel the world doing whatever I eventually settled into as a profession, so what better way to prepare for that? As it turned out, my two true passions were golf and architecture. I knew I could play golf, draw well, and was creative enough, so I continued my studies at RISD, earning a BFA (Fine Arts) and a BLA (Bachelors in Landscape Architecture). After four years at PC and three years at RISD I joined a small Golf Course Architecture firm just outside of New York City and quickly became a partner. After 20 years with my business partner (Stephen Kay) I am now on my own and my company is called Golf Design Unlimited. I’m a seasoned member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and have renovated hundreds of golf courses and designed close to 20 new ones in many states and countries.
I have been so fortunate to design courses in very historical places like The Links of North Dakota, located on the banks of the Missouri River, right smack on the Lewis & Clark trail. I designed a course in India adjacent to the famous Qutab Minar in New Delhi and have taken trips to the Himalayas, swam in the Ganges River, and am probably the only one you will ever know that has been to the Taj Mahal twice. I am in the planning stages for designing the last ever golf course in Hong Kong’s New Territories. My last trip to China my wife and I adopted our fourth child and spent two weeks in Guangzhou (Old Canton). I built a golf course outside of Poughkeepsie, New York for hundreds of Irish born New Yorkers who pooled their money to build their own course called The Links at Union Vale. It is actually the largest Irish born member Club in the world (including Ireland). The relationships I have had with them and the stories of Ireland are priceless.
My best friends to this day are my fellow Providence grads and we all have amazing stories after going on to so many diverse careers. Stick with what you love and it all works out. My career had no better training ground than the History program at PC.
Lily Macomber ’17, Partnerships Coordinator, MIT Solve
As the world gets further engrained in technology and the innovations of the future, I become happier and more confident in the fact that I decided to study the past. Even though history was a passion of mine since I was young, it was a passion that developed and revealed other passions, ones I only could have found while being a history major. I learned of personal interests that I never even knew existed, and I fine-tuned both my writing and critical thinking proficiencies, skills that will never go out of style.
Being a history major presented me opportunities that led to experiences of a lifetime, such as traveling to Japan my sophomore year or writing my thesis senior year. It presented me with approachable and knowledgeable professors who were passionate about their work, and of course, it brought me to some of my best friends who I still keep in touch with. The far wing of the first floor of Ruane became a second home, a community where I could be the history nerd that existed long before Providence College, and for that I am forever thankful.
Julie Mathieu ’14, Data and Reconciliation Specialist, Smithsonian Institution
Getting my bachelor’s degree in History from Providence College was one of the best decisions I have made for my academic and professional life. The faculty helped to encourage my interest in public history, and the research and interpretation skills I learned in my classes served me well in my graduate program at George Washington University for Museum Studies. The courses I took while at Providence College provided a strong base of knowledge that I can draw from for my current job at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, conducting research for a variety of museum collections, including military, science, and domestic life objects.
Jonathan Hegler ’12, Education
Jonathan Hegler stepped foot onto the PC campus in the fall of 2008 undecided what he wanted to major in. It was not until the Spring of 2009 when he made up his mind while as a student in Dr. McGovern’s US history class. This class really sparked a renewed interest with history because of how passionate Dr. McGovern was about the topic. As a student in several of Dr. Dowling’s classes, Hegler’s passion and love for history continued to grow. When he graduated from Providence College in the spring of 2012, Jonathan Hegler was not sure exactly what he wanted to do with his degree in History. Law school and a career working for the US government were all possibilities. In fact, Mr. Hegler participated in a shadowing day experience offered by the Career Service Center where, he shadowed a PC alum in the State Department in Washington, D.C.. After leaving PC in the spring of 2012 he accepted a job offer and embarked on a career with a small closing management company located in Midtown Manhattan. Although an exciting and challenging job at times, Hegler was searching for more value in his life. As a student he always valued the important relationships that he had with teachers in high school and college. Motivated to make an impact in students’ lives, Hegler decided to obtain a masters degree from Adelphi University in Teaching Students with Disabilities grades 7-12. Currently, Mr. Hegler is employed by the Sewanhaka Central High School district (Long Island, New York) where he is licensed to teach middle school and high school English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. In addition to this, he finds joy in coaching football and lacrosse after school. Mr. Hegler is extremely thankful for the education and experiences that he received while at PC! He believes that if you work hard and stay focused you can do anything you set your mind to!
Sydney Linhares ’15, Population Health, Oscar
As an innately curious person, I’ve always been drawn to figuring out why certain decisions were made or why events transpired the way that they did. Studying history at Providence College honed in on this sense of curiosity and taught me to be methodical and strategic in my investigations. These skills set me up for success in my current role in Population Health at the health insurance company, Oscar. Everyday I am faced with complex problems that I need to break down, such as ‘how do we creatively support our sickest members?’ or ‘how can we make sure our members are matched with the right level of care when they need it?’ My history classes and professors always encouraged me to look at all sides of a story and to analyze the impact of certain decisions and events that had already transpired. Most importantly, I learned that oftentimes there is no single ‘truth.’ As a result, I constantly look at the problems we face in health insurance from all different angles to ensure that I have a well-rounded understanding of all the working pieces. This practice has helped to ensure that the solutions that we implement take all sides into consideration and are positive and impactful. As I work alongside my team of data scientists and strategy experts, I’m constantly reminded of the critical thinking and analytical skills that studying history at PC taught me.
Theresa Feaster ’16, Director of Men’s Hockey Operations, Providence College
Choosing to attend Providence College has been the most rewarding decision of my life; a close second was deciding to pursue a degree in History. Although I do not currently work in a profession that correlates directly to my degree in History, I can attest wholeheartedly that studying History at Providence College helped to instill valuable and practical skills I use every day. In my history courses at PC, I learned to become a critical and analytical thinker and developed the ability to produce detailed and purposeful writing.
With that being said, what I value most from my time in the PC History Department are the relationships I was able to build with my professors both as an undergrad and graduate student. These incredible men and women are not only knowledgeable, passionate, and highly respected in their fields, but truly care about your growth as a student, and more importantly, as a person. I am thankful to the History Department at Providence College for helping to foster my development as a student, person, and professional.
Samantha Paulik ’15, Video Investment at Mindshare NY
Heather Sanford ’13, Doctoral Student in Early American History, Brown University
The department’s diverse course offerings, ranging from History of the Modern Middle East to the History of Africa, distinctly shaped my historical passion and affirmed my decision to attend graduate school. Both in and out of the classroom, the PC history faculty are not only leaders in their respective fields, but exemplary guides for students as they navigate and chart their intellectual interests. I particularly benefited from the optional honors thesis project, which allowed me to create original scholarship under the direction of an approachable and supportive expert in my field of interest.
Mark D’Arcy ’90, Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager, Fidelity Investments
When I look back on my career thus far, I see my time at Providence College as a foundational experience that positioned me for success in many ways. As a history major and with the added benefit of the Development of Western Civilization requirement, I gained an understanding of why things are the way they are and that you could apply the lessons of history in an attempt to engineer a certain outcome in the future.
It was this realization that drove me to seek out and talk to as many people as I could as I neared graduation in an attempt to understand the personal history of those I admired in an effort to plot my own career path. It was through this process that I realized the truth in the old Mark Twain quote, that although ‘history does not repeat itself, it does rhyme.’ By embracing this approach, I was able to pursue a course based on certain principles gleaned from these conversations that I knew would serve me well, even though I did not have a clear view of my destination. The history department and Professor Donna McCaffrey, specifically, provided my first push along the journey that eventually led me to a successful career in financial services. For this I will be forever grateful.
Michael P. Sullivan ’88, International Human Rights Law
The lessons I learned while a history major at PC have accompanied me, and shaped my thinking, throughout my post college experience. Perspectives that I gained while a student in Dr. Sickinger’s course on totalitarianism in Nazi Germany were particularly relevant and came to mind while I was working on, and being interviewed about, the conflicts in Bosnia Hercegovina and Kosovo. And having assessed the rise and fall of empires during PC’s Development of Western Civilization program provided me with a useful source of insight that I was able to apply during future international relations efforts, including the years when I was working on Rule of Law issues in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and assisting with the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution in Baghdad, Iraq.
Outside of the work context, I fondly recalled Dr. O’Malley’s outstanding course on Ireland when I was visiting the remains of the house where my mother was born in County Cork. The house had been destroyed during the Irish War of Independence by the Black and Tans and this conflict was a topic upon which Dr. O’Malley had lectured on brilliantly. So, it seems that studying history at PC turned out not only to be a 4-year experience followed by a degree – but, rather, the start of a lifelong journey that continues to offer lessons from history which enable me to assess and tackle modern challenges related to my work.