Introducing Patrick Sullivan

Hello there. My name is Patrick Sullivan and I am from the North Shore of Massachusetts. I attended Gettysburg College and graduated last year. I am in the first-year of the general history master’s program and chose AU because I wanted to be closer to politics and history. During my time in D.C., I hope to take advantage of the opportunity of being close to so many archives, museums, and other important historical locations.

My research interests are very diverse but mainly incorporates modern history, specifically international relations, foreign policy, and imperialism. For my undergraduate thesis paper, I wrote about the covert imperialism of the Eisenhower Administration in regards to Cuba after its revolution in 1959.

Other non-academic interests of mine include following and playing sports such as soccer and golf. For soccer (or football), I support Manchester United and was lucky enough to meet some of the players (Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard) when seeing a friendly match against Real Madrid in Miami. I also was able to study abroad in England at Lancaster University during the fall of 2020 and traveled to Liverpool and the Lake District.

Lake District in Cumbria in Northwestern England

For this digital history course, I hope to learn about the ways in which digital technologies are influencing the work of history and its eduction. Despite being relatively-well versed in technology and having a passion for history, I have not explored and researched tools and other aspects of digital history studied in this course. Besides expanding my knowledge of digital history, I wish to understand how artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, can present advantages and disadvantages towards the study of history. In using ChatGPT these past couple weeks, I have been pleasantly surprised and even astounded at its capabilities in exploring and explaining historical subjects. Despite this, I have also seen potential problems such as its training data only being up to 2021 and the fact its data remains limited to what it has been trained on and cannot source from the great breadth of information from the internet. This presents consequences for people using it as a tool to study and learn about history, especially for younger students who may believe uncritically a biased or inaccurate answer.

As for the graduate program, I hope to not only explore my research interests but also grow as a historian. I believe the skills used to study history (research, reading, critical thinking, writing, etc.) are relevant to a wide variety of profession but also that these skills help in improving as a person in society in general. The influx of social media combined with the ever more complex, modern world has made the skills mentioned above important to understanding “hot-button” or more nuanced issues and topics. This graduate program, as having already seen in the first semester, will help me towards that growth. Beyond this, I hope to go into the Foreign Service or a similar profession that works to understand and improve relations between nations and other trans-national problems. My mind is open to other paths, though, as I have many interests and am really just here for the ride.