I am a first year General History MA student and under the advisement of Dr. Gautham Rao. I’m 23 years old and just moved from California to DC for this program at American University. I received my Bachelors Degree majoring in History with a minor in French from San Diego State University in 2020. Over the years I have studied a wide variety of historical topics ranging from Ancient History to significant 20th century events like the Great Depression, the World Wars and the Cold War. That being said I haven’t had much of an opportunity yet to pinpoint my exact interests, as they constantly seem in flux as I take new courses. A common theme throughout, though, is social history, from family and marital relations to education and general social climate of various time periods. What I love most about history is being able to imagine being in a different time and everything that comes with that. It’s like reading a book and being transported to another world. That being said I love to read and watch period pieces from all sorts of time frames. The shows Outlander, Reign and The Crown are three of my favorites.
In regards to digital history, I think that I am most fascinated with how these digital tools aren’t only helpful for digitizing resources for better public access but that the process of creating a visual presentation of research can be a wonderful way to engage students and those hoping to learn something. Reading paper after paper can get boring very quickly but having a visual presentation, map or timeline can really deepen a learner’s understanding of the historical topic. The visual aspect gives a three-dimensional scope that is not as easily achieved, if at all, on paper.
I am hoping to learn a wide variety of history while in this grad program, while also fine-tuning my resource collecting skills. I also hope to make more friends who share my love for history. From this course specifically, I hope to broaden my experience with various digital tools that I could apply to future history projects and research. The digital and visual aspect adds a new element to history that appeals to the newer generations. I think digital history has the ability to make learning history fun! Not to say that it isn’t already fun, but I think we all can agree that those that aren’t interested in history dislike it because they think it’s boring or just about a lot of dead people and that can be true. But digital tools open history up to a world of creativity that could benefit learners and teachers. Applying history to modern technologies and exercises grabs the interest of the STEM students or the drama students who enjoy employing their own creative spin on things. I believe I want to be a history teacher and I would love to apply the digital history tool of research in a classroom with students who would appreciate that creativity.
Looking forward to getting to know you all!