The study of history helps you to understand the present circumstances of the world and allows you to articulate your arguments logically, coherently and with evidence.
When did you decide you wanted to study history?
I was originally a political science major, but I took a history course with Dr. Emilie Raymond and enjoyed it so much I switched my major to history. I realized that the study of history helps you to understand the present circumstances of the world and allows you to articulate your arguments logically, coherently and with evidence. This is increasingly important in our society as professionalism, expertise and facts are subjected to doubt and criticism.
What was one of your favorite classes in your major?
My favorite class in my major was Food Policy During World War II, which centered on the role of food in war, a crucial but overlooked aspect of how wars are fought and sustained. During the class, we planted our own class victory garden, and held a cooking demonstration where we all made a recipe from old cookbooks about rationing and then brought them in and ate them together as a class.
Who was one of your favorite professors?
My favorite history professor was Dr. Raymond. She is an overall outstanding professor: understanding, supportive, willing to help you succeed and just an enjoyable person to be around. At the end of one of my classes with her, Dr. Raymond asked me if I wanted to do a special undergraduate research project on the subject to help her develop the curriculum further.
Can you tell us about your undergraduate research project?
The research project I worked on with Dr. Raymond was about how local food policies (rationing, food stretching/replacements, selling of war bonds/stamps, creation of community canning facilities, etc.) were implemented and received by the public in Virginia. It was really cool because I got to use the archives at the Library of Virginia and use records from the VA Civilian Defense Committee from 1940 to 1945. It was an enjoyable experience because sometimes you'd spend hours sorting through papers and find nothing, and in other boxes you'd find actual treasures. The most exciting things I found were three handwritten letters addressed to the Roosevelt's from a widow, a Spanish-American war veteran and a group of Boy Scouts all asking about different ways they could contribute to the war effort since they couldn't participate in combat.
Why should a student major in history?
What I love most about the History department is how passionate all the professors are: I've never had one that did not seem genuinely interested in what they were teaching, and I feel like you can find a class for just about any personal interest of yours.