My name is Amanda and I am in my last semester of undergrad at AU. I am in the 5-year program with my undergraduate degree being in history with a minor in anthropology as well as in the beginnings of an M.A. in public history. This class will be the last 3 credits I share with both degrees. I’m originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but came to D.C. about 3.5 years ago to attend AU for undergrad. Since then, I’ve pretty much never left. I always loved history (I once photoshopped myself into a photo of Thomas Jefferson my senior year of high school and put it into a presentation I gave to my APUSH class) and new that I would pursue it with my undergrad degree, but knowing that I didn’t want to be a teacher or educator, I wasn’t sure what I would do much farther than that. Eventually I realized I loved material culture and its interpretation, especially to a lay audience (yeah, I know I said in the sentence before I DIDN’T want to go into education, but I tell myself this is different) and have since pursued opportunities in which I am able to do this. I mostly interested in the history of popular culture (I’m writing my senior capstone on Titanic museum exhibits) as I see it as a great “gateway” topic for non-history people to get excited about the past.
I figured my clear route would be to work in collections management in some way or form, so initially this is what I told people I wanted to do. Two communications internships at historically-oriented organizations later, and I can tell you I’m just as confused about my career path as I was when I started college. That being said, I’m in my second semester of an internship at the White House Historical Association in the marketing and communications department and I love it. I think trying to convince the press to write about history as well as brainstorming ways to expand our reach is both exciting and fulfilling. Now it’s just a matter of managing my expectations of what I thought I would be doing with the reality of what I have actual experience in. Nonetheless, I am in this class because I think technology plays an important, and often overlooked, role in the interpretation of the past and while my internship experiences have given me some foundation in said technology, I think it is important to better familiarize myself with it in order to make myself a more dynamic student of history. I’m really excited for the finally digital history project as I think it will be a great opportunity for me to apply some of my own struggles I’ve had with my current research on Titanic exhibits to a digital tool that could potentially help others one day.
Outside of history, I love trying new foods, animals (I purposefully chose an apartment right next to the zoo), and rewatching the same 5 tv shows I’ve been watching since high school. I am really looking forward to getting to know you all as being an undergrad history major at AU can be somewhat isolating as most people are studying politics or international studies, and as such, I only have a handful of friends who are studying history as their primary major–so I spend a lot of time with non-history people and am therefore always excited to meet new history lovers!