Intro Post – Allison Pesta

Hello budding Digital Historians!

I am Allison Pesta, Master’s student of General History at AU. This will be my last semester at American, and I am looking forward to a rich and fulfilling semester!

Unlike many of my colleagues in this course, I am rather inexperienced in the Public History arena. My interests generally include reading massive academic books for fun, researching topics using primary sources, and writing essays, both historiographical and monograph-esque. However, I am not unaware of the value digital history provides our field. Knowledge of the programs we will be learning about during this semester is pivotal to the field, regardless of which occupation avenue one chooses. Since my initial career path will be to teach Middle School Social Studies, at least a rudimentary knowledge with some application will be necessary to get kids involved and loving history (as they should!). And my ultimate goal of earning my PhD and teaching at the collegiate level will benefit by the topics and practicums learned in this class, as well.

Originally from New Jersey, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA to finish my undergrad. I completely fell in love with the city, and after graduation I am looking forward to moving back and beginning my career in the Steel City. My path to becoming a historian did not evolve easily. Initially enrolled in nursing school, I realized after my first year that I was not doing something I absolutely loved, which would ultimately negatively impact my work. So I decided to take a year and go to culinary school to study pastry arts. While enjoyable, not exactly the most lucrative decision I’ve ever made. Next, I swung the pendulum the completely opposite direction, and went back to school to study accounting. An unfortunate choice, since it turns out I’m not very good at math. After my second year of struggling through accounting, I started asking myself why I was choosing paths that were not making me actually happy. Security? Safety? Some desire to follow in my parents footsteps (both math majors in college, one MBA)? I realized it was not worth doing something my heart was not completely interested in just so I could maintain a level of security in my life.

Enter history. To say the study of history is a passion of mine would be a tremendous understatement. History is everywhere, it connects every event, and while it does not give a road map for future events, it can always create a contextual basis for understanding. Having focused most of my academic career on physical texts and artifacts, it will be refreshing to see what is out there in the digital realm of history. There is a wealth of knowledge out there in the digital world and I am excited to scratch the surface of all the possibilities. While I would consider myself almost technologically-illiterate, I am looking forward to expanding my historical knowledge through a digital venue and fall in love, once again, with all history has to offer!






One Reply to “Intro Post – Allison Pesta”

  1. Yo, also from Pittsburgh. Well, the Pittsburgh area. History in the Rust Belt is in an incredibly delicate state right now. Pittsburgh specifically is trying to engage with its industrial past after decades of denial and focus on the Davy Crockett frontier before steel. I worked in various capacities with the Stone House Center for Public Humanities in Butler County, just north of the city. The curator, Dr. Aaron Cowan, was my mentor at Slippery Rock University. Below is an excellent article he worked on for the National Council on Public History, about how Pittsburgh has dealt with it’s industrial heritage. I highly recommend it, perhaps it’ll give you some inspiration for this class!

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