Hey there folks, my name is Kyle Vratarich and I’m a first year General History MA student here at American University. My studies in history are focused in the United States in the nineteenth century, specifically in the political sphere of the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Before my time at AU I attended Towson University in Baltimore, MD, which isn’t too far from my hometown- a quiet little place called Eldersburg in Northern Maryland. I spent my undergrad years studying History, Geography, and Spanish, and I spent a few years participating with Towson’s delegation to the Washington Model Organization of American States, a group with which I am still involved. I work as a substitute teacher at an elementary school in my hometown, and the little rugrats drive me crazy sometimes yet I keep going back, so I must like them. I believe that these experiences that I’ve had will contribute to my future goals as a historian, as I hope to eventually earn my PhD before teaching at the university level and publishing my own research.
While I’ve only been at AU for a little over a semester, I feel like my skills as a historian have already greatly improved since my undergrad years. My undergraduate experience was fantastic, don’t get me wrong. I learned so much about history and how to be a historian. However, at Towson I didn’t have much experience with historiography and how to analyze historical texts. That more than changed here at AU, and while I know I’m still nowhere near where I need to be as a historian, I am confident that I am on my way. I also have had the experience here of learning some information about public history. I have had next to no experience with this field, yet here at American I have been surrounded by public historians and had the opportunity to take classes with an attention to the field. This opportunity has been extremely worthwhile to me as I continue my educational and professional careers, and I feel that this will only continue while I am at AU.
As it pertains to this class, I feel like I have nothing but room to grow in terms of digital history. The extent of my knowledge using the platforms that we have discussed comes from an oral history course that I took last semester. Besides that one course, I think it would be a fair assessment to call me “technologically challenged,” however this is mostly due to a lack of familiarity with these platforms. I see this class as a chance to learn about many of the forms of new media available to historians today and to begin to familiarize myself with as many of these as possible. Hopefully this will provide me with new techniques and methods of studying history that will allow me to be the best historian that I can both now and in the future. I look forward to learning more about digital history, as well as learning from everyone else!