Major Areas of Study: HISTORY
The discipline of History studies the record of civilization throughout the ages. The History program at Muskingum University demands and develops a broad perspective, analytical skills, and an ability to communicate with clarity and style, making it one of the most useful disciplines in a liberal arts curriculum.
Recent internships for History students include:
- Cataloging and archiving historic documents and artifacts (John and Annie Glenn Historic Site, Hayes Presidential Center, Massillon Museum)
- Historic Inventories of Homes (Indiana Historical Society)
- Serving as tour guides (Fort Pitt Museum, Roscoe Village, Hale Farm)
- Developing Educational programming (Roscoe Village)
- Living History/Historical Interpretation (John and Annie Glenn Historic Site, Hale Farm and Village, Roscoe Village)
- Developing a traveling exhibit for the Ohio Bicentennial (Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center)
History majors have recently participated in the following research activities:
- Conducting research at the Ohio Historical Society for Dr. Bil Kerrigan's book on Johnny Appleseed, developing GIS maps for this book, organizing notes and creating a database.
- Conducting oral histories with farmers displaced by strip mines and strip mine workers and census and archival research on 13 townships affected by surface mining in the second half of the 20th century.
- Researching and writing biographies of notable Muskingum alumni for use by the College's Development Office.
As a capstone project, the senior seminar requires that the History major thoroughly research prospective sources (both primary and secondary sources, and occasionally sources in a foreign language), assess the value and validity of said sources, develop a methodology to explore their chosen topic, and then write and re-write a polished final project. Some recent seminar topics include:
- "A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness: The Confessing Christians in Germany, 1933-1945"
- "The Bloodiest Day: Antietam and the Maryland Campaign of 1862"
- "From Bouts of Honor to Honor Cultures: A Relational Look at Dueling and Honor with Focus on America's Southern Culture"
- "The Politics and Poetics of Mapping South Asia at a Major Art Museum in Washington, DC"
- "The Rise of the German National Socialist Party, 1919-1933"
Phi Alpha Theta is open to all students who have completed twelve credit hours in history and who hold a 3.0 GPA overall. PAT is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. It seeks to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by members in a variety of ways.
The History department employs 1-2 student assistants, performing general office tasks, assisting with web-page design and upgrading, and providing tutoring assistance to fellow students.
Students involved in the History honorary, Phi Alpha Theta, have the opportunity to present their work at the annual Spring meeting of the organizational branch in Ohio. Senior research projects can also be submitted for acceptance in a variety of regional history conferences.
Troy Valasek ('11) majored in History, Business, and economics at Muskingum, before attending law school at the University of Akron. He writes:
"At the University of Akron School of Law, my focus was on Business/Corporate Law and eventually Oil and Gas/Environmental Law. In July 2014, I sat for the Ohio Bar Exam and was subsequently sworn in that November as a licensed attorney in the State of Ohio.
Currently I am an Attorney at Law and Landman of West Appalachia Assets for EnerVest Operating, L.L.C., a national oil and gas producer, headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia. I have been with EnerVest since August 2014 and work in EnerVest's field office located in Hartville, Ohio. My area of operations includes: Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.
I would not be where I am today without my Muskingum education. In particular, my History Department courses provided me with not only the skills required to successfully complete law school but also objective lessons that I use every day in my personal life and profession."
An avid re-enactor for more than ten years, initially Civil War, Troy (left) now also participates in the Great War Association.
Jason Petz ('11)
is teaching 8th
grade social studies at T2 Honors Academy, a charter school on the southeast side of Cleveland that serves under-privileged students. He was named Teacher of the Year in his first full year! He writes:
"I attribute much of my success to the qualities instilled in me at Muskingum University. While at Muskingum, I was very active and involved in numerous activities (Class President, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, Resident Hall Association, Muskie Preview, and Freshmen Orientation). My involvement in these clubs led to leadership positions. I use these leadership skills in the classroom and hold many leadership positions within the school as well. In addition, I had grown up in a very rural area, so Muskingum also exposed me to culturally diverse groups and taught me how to interact with people from all walks of life.
The last (and most important) skill that Muskingum instilled in me is a strong work ethic. The countless hours I spent dissecting historical texts for Dr. Hilton’s class, revising and editing papers, and preparing for exams prepared me for the life of a teacher."
As an intern at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in the summer of 2009, while a student at Muskingum,
History major Kate (McFadden) Smith ('10) got
a taste for what a career in a non-profit would be like. "I learned that you need to understand every facet of how your organization runs and I was able to gain experience in marketing, education, event planning, and fund raising. I realized early on, fortunately, that public history and any non-profit field requires passion and a willingness to invest deeply in what you are doing."
After graduating, she took a position with the first AmeriCorps Local History Corps program assisting with the Civil War 150 Project, gaining the experience which led to a full- time position as the Director of Spring Hill Historic Home in Massillon, OH. After starting her family, she was able to return to The Dennison Depot as a consultant, where she now coordinates all special projects, writes grants, designs marketing materials, and plans one of the largest outreach and kids’ educational events in the area.
Through this position, she has also been able to serve on the Ohio Local History Alliance (OLHA) Board of Trustees, which centers on educating museum professionals and preparing them for advocacy.
Looking back on her Muskingum experience, she writes: "After graduation I felt prepared to look at history on a local level and tie events into what was happening at a state, national, and international level, all of which are key when explaining to the public why your site matters and why they should support it! With any career, it takes time and effort to find your place and get into the 'groove', but the experience and knowledge I learned while at Muskingum and from the History Department ensured I was able to hit the ground running."
Gene Saunders ('06) is currently working as as a Veterans Administration & Active Duty Caseworker for Congressman Mike Turner (OH-District 10), providing administrative and IT support, staffing Congressman Turner at events he attends, and assisting with special annual projects.
He writes: "One important ability I recognized in myself early on that has followed me through two jobs, is a capacity to train myself to a level of competency in areas where I have no prior expertise. I credit this to a combination of the critical thinking/analysis skills I learned while a History major at Muskingum as well as its Liberal Arts strengths. While I did not understand or appreciate it at the time, being able to specialize in my passion (History) but also learn from other areas of academia (the General Education requirements) prepared me to be successful in a career where I have to switch my thought process several times throughout the day to accomplish many differing tasks."
Career Possibilities for History Majors (in general):
- Non-profit (museums, historical societies, etc.)
Recent History graduates have enrolled in the following graduate schools:
- University of Kentucky
- Indiana University
- University of Akron
- Kent State University
- Miami University (Ohio)
- Ohio University
- University of Delaware Winterthur Program
- Princeton Theological Seminary
- University of Cincinnati Law School
- Ball State University