My name is Sara, and I’m a first-year MA student in Public History. I grew up in the vibrant border city of El Paso, Texas, went to college in Connecticut, and moved to D.C. five years ago after earning an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since graduating, I’ve worked in education – both as a classroom teacher and as an online instructional designer. While entering the Public History program has marked a significant academic shift for me, this course is an intriguing blend of my professional and academic interests, and I’m eager to continue exploring the relationship between technology, digital media, and history.
I’ve found that the aspects of engineering I love most: curiosity about how things work, creative problem solving, and attention to detail are all things that contribute to designing effective educational resources and experiences, and I’m still learning about their role in historical research and interpretation. I’m curious about the mechanics of education and history; I’m energized by the process of confronting a challenge and navigating its inherent constraints and opportunities with ingenuity; and I’m passionate about executing the seemingly minor details that, considered together, can have a major impact on a learner’s experience. Beyond details, I believe that contextualizing ideas and connecting them to a larger framework are crucial to designing meaningful, actionable education. Most importantly, I am committed to accessibility and inclusivity. In my experience, working toward these ideals has meant considering everything from a learner’s point of view and advocating for greater representation in the voices and perspectives reflected in the educational resources I have designed.
In short, my experience as an educator has taught me that effective education is accessible, engaging, relevant and meaningful. Through the Public History program in general, and this course in particular, I hope to expand, re-think, and apply this educational outlook to my public history practice.
I’m a firm believer in the power of education as a force for positive change. I believe that fostering an understanding of the historical realities that shape our lives today is key to realizing the vision of a more just, equal society. My ultimate goal is to work with institutions that encourage authentic reflection, cultivate honest historical dialogue, and shine the light of truth on subjects of profound moral consequence. In my current work with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I’ve been able to explore how new approaches, such as Augmented Reality, might be used to connect diverse audiences to Holocaust history. I look forward to the ways in which this course, and particularly learning from your work throughout the semester, will provide a new lens for thinking about the opportunities and implications of applying new technological and digital approaches to (public) history.