My name is Melyssa Laureano, I’m a first-year Public History MA student. I’m from Kingston, Pennsylvania (near Scranton, PA for all you Office fans). In undergrad I attended Wilkes University for history and secondary education, with a Minor in women’s and gender studies. For a while I was sure I would become a high school teacher- I love history and I love teaching it, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in a classroom to do that. Luckily, I was able to get an internship at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) after graduating and worked with their Experience Design team to present educational programs to visitors. It was during that time when I first heard about “public history” and after learning more about this field, I realized it was a perfect fit for me!
I have some experience with digital history, but I want to learn everything I can about it. So far, my fellowship with the DC Preservation League has given me a lot of great learning opportunities. I help maintain their app, DC Historic Sites, and have written some posts for their Facebook page. I also attended a vocational high school, where I majored in audio-visual communications and got experience in film production, photography, and graphic design; however, since then I haven’t been using these skills as much as I would like to, so I also want to find out how I can put these skills to good use as a public historian.
I really love the collaborative and accessible nature of digital history. I love talking to visitors at NMAH, but I also want to find out how I can reach people who aren’t physically at the museum. I’m excited about this course because I believe digital history offers a lot of great opportunities for more inclusive and active interactions with a broader public.