Introducing Erica

My name is Erica Devine and I am a first year PhD student at American University.  My current research interests lay in the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. I took a rather circuitous path to where I am now. I first dabbled in the political history of the Middle East as an undergraduate at Providence College and became fascinated with studying the roots of current conflicts in that region and their relation to U.S. policy. I graduated with a degree in political science and history. With degree in hand, I went off to Connecticut as a Teach for America Corps member to teach 8th grade social studies. After four years in the trenches, I decided to pursue a Masters in American history at Oxford University, where my research focused on U.S. intervention in Syria in the early Cold War. Upon my return stateside, and after another year of teaching 7th grade humanities, I realized that I wanted to pursue research and higher education.

One important lesson I learned as a teacher is that history needs to be accessible. Teaching American history to 13 and 14 years olds forced me to consider how historical scholarship can be tailored to younger students and non-academics. This is especially important in the field of U.S. foreign policy in the modern Middle East where new scholarship has very real implications in the present day. My aim for this course is to learn how I can use digital technologies to create an online presence for myself and make my research accessible to both academics and non-academic students of history. Additionally, my goal is to understand how digital tools and sources are influencing new scholarship in my field and how I can incorporate those new methods in my own research.

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