“In May of 2009, I graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a degree in History. As an undergraduate I took such courses as Colonial America, Black Atlantic World, Tsarist Russia, Senior Seminar, History of New York City, Slave Rebellions, and Early Modern England. In addition, I wrote a 50 page paper for Senior Thesis entitled, “We Ourselves, And those that you call husbands, are our servants”: Dutch Women in Seventeenth-Century New Netherland,” which was granted the Maynard Redfield History Essay (Long Essay) award. During my time there, the skills and knowledge I acquired from the curriculum and excellent faculty helped to foster my subsequent successes. As an undergraduate, the faculty helped to hone my writing and verbal abilities and enhanced my personal capacity to analyze and sort information, both historical and other. As a historian, I have applied such skills in daily life and in the workplace.
Since graduation, I went on to earn an MA in History Museum Studies from the prestigious Cooperstown Graduate Program, one of SUNY Oneonta’s degree programs. Consequently, I have worked at the New York State Historical Association, the Fenimore Art Museum, as an Oneonta adjunct professor, and was recently named Executive Director of the Iroquois Indian Museum located in Howes Cave, NY. The Iroquois Indian Museum contains the world’s largest collection of contemporary Iroquois art and presents the culture of the First Peoples of New York through art, archaeology, and history. My current responsibilities include oversight of the museum and staff which include its functions and programming, its research and exhibition development, its fundraising and marketing. Additional accomplishments following the solid historical foundation established at SUNY Oneonta include research for the New York State Museum in Albany, creation of numerous public exhibitions at museums in Otsego, Sullivan, and Schoharie counties about various historical topics such as 9/11, the Delaware & Hudson Canal, Iroquois Art, and the Titanic. Further, I have written several peer reviewed publications including educators guides for museums, historical journal essays about colonial Dutch women, Native Americans, and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; and presented at several conferences including the Conference on New York State History, the Underground Railroad Public History Conference, and at the International Congress of Maritime History in Ghent, Belgium.
As the current history majors proceed to earn their degrees, never doubt what proficiencies you are gathering. They include time management, reading and writing skills, or communication expertise. Take advantage of every opportunity to present your research and seek advice from professors. If you forge a solid relationship with faculty, they will be happy to write recommendations for your pursuit of higher education and career. In fact, I have kept in contact with several of my former professors and feel they are exceptional colleagues. Remember, it’s not just about what you are given at Oneonta, but of what experiences you chose to pursue. Challenge yourself…write a thesis, present at Student Research Day, join the History Club, and network with successful alumni. Best of luck in a world full of numerous ways to use your History degree and to make a difference!”
“My undergraduate college experience has been anything but ordinary. The first couple of years of my college career in another state were a disconcerting and disappointing blur. I was frankly complacent and irresponsible in my academic studies. After poor academic performances, dropping-out of college, and working odd jobs, it hit me hard that this was a miserable and certainly not a “cool” reality – I did not like it at all. The immaturity of this life-style, however, presented me with a rude and cold awakening. For the first time, I was able to truly see and my metamorphosis began. January 2012 marked the start of my transformation and growth as I took classes for three semesters at a local community college, redeeming and building myself. It was not until I transferred to SUNY Oneonta in January 2013, however, where I experienced an intense growth, both intellectually and personally.
At my previous university, it is not uncommon for the class sizes to be upwards of 200 or 300 students. This made it difficult to approach and build a sustainable relationship with my professors; I was just a number to them. Additionally, a lot of the coursework is textbook based, which does not force students to attend class or to engage themselves intellectually. While my university provided its students with an abundance of resources, it is up to the individual student to learn about and take advantage of those resources with minimal individualized assistance from staff and faculty. While I enjoyed my there, I learned that it was not a good fit for me, as I required a more intimate learning environment with professors who would actively encourage me to succeed. At SUNY Oneonta, the class sizes, on average, are a manageable 20 students, which gave me the individualized attention that I needed. Moreover, this intimate classroom setting provided me with the opportunity to build relationships with my professors and maximize my education.
While my time at SUNY Oneonta was shorter than that of most graduates, I was able to truly maximize my time with the assistance of my professors. During my first semester, and thereafter, I had the privilege of taking all of Dr. Yuriy Malikov’s classes. The first class I took with Dr. Malikov was History of Soviet Russia. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive to take this course due to my initial lack of interest in Russian history. However, after taking this course I not only developed an interest in Russian history, but I also learned the fundamental skills of writing, which was presented in a very organized and unequivocal manner. Dr. Malikov also led my Junior and Senior Seminar courses where I learned the bulk of my historiographical skills and independent writing techniques. I also had the opportunity to study under Dr. Thomas Beal, with whom I took an Independent Study, the course Economic History of the United States: Colonial Times to 1865, and a Research Assistantship. In my Independent Study, Dr. Beal was able to truly expand my research capabilities by sending me to historical societies and archives to conduct my own research and develop my own argument based on that research, like a true historian would. Moreover, Dr. Beal taught me to think critically and objectively, while exposing me to the professional world of historians through the Research Assistantship. I was also lucky enough to take several of Dr. April Harper’s fascinating courses, The Middle Ages and the Movies, Roman Civilization, and Medieval Sexuality, as well as participate in an Independent Study with her. Dr. Harper’s enthusiastic and captivating character sets her lectures apart from others and instills in her students the drive and motivation to be successful in their education.
Apart from SUNY Oneonta’s respected faculty, I believe that getting involved in the school community was just as important. I became a member of the History Club, where I progressed to become its Treasurer and then its President. The History Club not only expanded my historical knowledge and exposure, but it also allowed me to grow personally and become more responsible. I also became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, to which I presented a paper at its Regional Conference during the Spring of 2014. Moreover, I submitted papers and won an award for the Maynard Redfield History Essay Competition. Presenting and submitting personal papers that I wrote for courses I took provided me with a sense of achievement. SUNY Oneonta provides its students with numerous opportunities to get involved and it is highly important to take advantage of those opportunities.
I came to SUNY Oneonta with minimal historical knowledge and skills. However, the combination of SUNY Oneonta’s knowledgeable professors, with the numerous opportunities to get involved within the History Department, as well as my personal drive and ambition to succeed, provided me with the perfect combination to prevail in my studies. As a result of my SUNY Oneonta degree, I was accepted at my first choice of graduate school, New York University. Despite my unsatisfactory college experience at my first university, SUNY Oneonta changed my life and I am on the path I want to be. After I achieve my Master’s degree from NYU, I plan to pursue a PhD. As a career choice, I plan to become a professor and to teach and inspire others as the professors at SUNY Oneonta have me.”
“For me, one of Oneonta’s strengths is its strong cross-disciplinary approach to knowledge and learning, especially in the social sciences. Today, this is crucial, because we inhabit such a globalized world. Daily, thanks to technology and the increased means of transportation, we interact with an array of different people, demanding that we heighten our level of awareness and knowledge of various cultures and histories if we are to be personally and nationally successful.
Initially, I started my studies at Oneonta as a sociology major, but through the encouragement of Dr. Harder and Dr. Malikov, I added history to my course work and became a dual major. It wasn’t a hard sell. I have always loved history. In fact, my interest in attending Oneonta was sparked by a history course. As graduate of a community college with an associate’s degree in human services, my initial plans were to transfer to the large university near my home. Being that the program I was applying to was very competitive, I started exploring other options at a variety of institutions. Oneonta was one of the colleges I investigated. I was so intrigued by Professor Harder’s course on the development of European masculinity that, when I was notified that I had been accepted into my initial program, I surprised everyone by declining my place and attending Oneonta instead. It was a decision that I have never regretted.
While some people may be surprised by my dual major, I see a strong connection between these two disciplines. I truly appreciated how well the history department courses meshed with the areas I was studying in sociology, greatly adding to my understanding of societies and the people who composed them. Not only did Dr. Harder’s class inform my understanding of societal trends, but so did Dr. Hendley’s course on War and Society in Modern Britain and my historiography studies led by Dr. Malikov.
Right now, I am attending SUNY Binghamton in the hope of attaining my master’s degree in social work. Ultimately, I would love to engage in social research, and I feel history has further enabled me to pursue my goals. Not only has it provided me with a context in which to place the societal problems I observe, but its study has helped me to learn and practice a different type of research. Sociological research is empirical and scientifically driven, which leaves little room for creative interpretation. This doesn’t always seem to be the case in history. For even though historical research relies on primary sources, events can still be interpreted and defended from a variety of viewpoints. I feel this discipline has broadened my approach to the situations and circumstances I observe. Another advantage of the historical training I received at Oneonta is the department’s emphasis on developing analytical writing skills. All my professors expected well-written cogent arguments to research questions, but Dr. Hendley’s excellent editorial skills, especially, helped me to improve my papers and thus, refine my ability to think critically. This skill carried over into my sociology courses, helping me to excel in that field as well.
While being a dual major was challenging with the number of courses I needed to take and the work required by two fields of study, it was a choice that I do not at all regret and I would encourage others to do the same. SUNY Oneonta, with its small class size and caring, knowledgeable professors, is an excellent choice to further one’s academic studies.”
"My name is Jennifer Cole and I graduated from SUNY Oneonta in May of 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in History. I took a wide array of courses while at SUNY Oneonta including several in English History with Dr. Matthew Hendley, German History with Dr. Julie Freeman, and American History. My senior research paper, under the supervision of Dr. Ralph Watkins, was entitled The FBI’s Destruction of the Black Panther Party. This was my first experience using primary sources as the main focus for writing a paper. We were given access to microfilm in SUNY Oneonta’s library of recently released FBI records. With dozens of rolls of film, students were able to choose from a myriad of topics on which to write. Many hours were spent sorting through the documents on the microfilm reader to compile the research necessary for this paper. This was a technique I would revisit in my graduate work.
I went on to complete a Master of Arts in History and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Albany in Albany, NY. I made the decision to pursue a dual degree program to maximize my skill set in the work place and academe – the study of history and public policy are in many ways intertwined. I believe having a historical perspective when studying public policy broadens ones understanding of current policy issues. The undergraduate study of history provided me with the necessary research and writing skill sets necessary to dive into higher level work. The rigor at the graduate level of study is a marked increase from the undergraduate level, but my experience in primary source research at SUNY Oneonta provided me a great foundation. In my graduate level history education I focused on American history, particularly New York and the post-World War I Red Scare. My Public Policy studies also focused on New York State, where my original research stemmed from a graduate assistantship in the Intergovernmental Studies Program at Rockefeller College, focusing on the success of intergovernmental agreements amongst New York State’s local governments. I completed my MA in History in May of 2010, and my MPP in April of 2012.
I have since gone on to be gainfully employed in an area outside of the traditional history-student route. As of November 2012, I obtained a position as a professional academic advisor at Excelsior College, a distance learning institution based in Albany, New York. Specifically, I work in the School of Health Sciences. While I do not have an educational or professional background in the Health Sciences I find myself exceling at my work. I attribute this largely to my educational background in the study of history. A history degree, both at the baccalaureate and graduate level provides students with valuable skills often lacking in the workplace today. This includes the ability to absorb, analyze, and apply large amounts of information. Students of history also acquire an attention to detail and policy. Finally, for a history student to be successful you must have the ability to communicate clearly, especially in writing – a most sought after skill in today’s economy. My education as a history student at SUNY Oneonta have provided me a solid foundation of employable skills that have served me especially well as I continue to work in academia. I hope to one day resume my studies and obtain a PhD in History.”
"I am forever grateful for my experiences with the Oneonta State History Department. As an Adolescent Education Social Studies major from August 2000 through May 2004, I found the History faculty to be a constant source of inspiration. They regularly modeled best teaching practices and to this very day I utilize my old course notebooks for preparation in teaching my own classes. Dr. William Simons is always in the forefront of my mind when teaching American History in my 7th and 8th grade classes. He always managed to educate and captivate his classes with fascinating historical anecdotes and inspired me to integrate cultural history into my curriculum wherever possible. Students receive a richer and fuller picture of eras gone by as a result. Throughout my own teaching career, I’ve found that making connections with students both in and outside the classroom enhances the educational process. Dr. Thomas Beal, in an effort to encourage relevant, on-topic, student and faculty interaction, served as the faculty representative to the Oneonta State History Club. As a group we would regularly meet to discuss and debate topical subjects and tour the many rich historical offerings Otsego County had to offer. Following Dr. Beal’s example, I’ve had the pleasure to chaperone educational outings everywhere from Plymouth Plantation to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
Today I am seven years into my teaching career at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, a Catholic College prep school in Schenectady, NY. I still carry with me the joy and excitement for the subject matter which my professors helped to guide and foster. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I would not be the Social Studies teacher I am today were it not for my time with the History Department at Oneonta State.”
"I entered SUNY Oneonta in 2010, as a transfer from a community college. When I came to Oneonta I could barely formulate the structure of an essay, and my idea of research was a couple of books. In my first year, I felt like I was just trying to catch up, and the history department was beyond patient and helpful. I honestly did not always give my best effort in my first year; I always had a feeling, like a shadow of disappointment, of knowing that I could do better. In my second year, the riddles of research no longer mystified me; the rate of data that I was able to map allowed me to deconstruct any ideal. The more research I conducted, the more questions I had, research made my work ethic increase exponentially, the idea of being able to extrapolate any idea in a realm of possibilities, fulfilled me. Oneonta’s history department inspires you to want to do your best, creating a powerful source of intrinsic motivation not to let them or yourself down. They wanted you to reach your potential, this makes work easy, and I dare say fun. The best part of Oneonta’s History Department is their staff; they are passionate workers that project the ideals of what they love, becoming great conductors of the transfer of knowledge. Each history professor I had at Oneonta took their own unique style of displaying their classes, and it allowed the creativity of students to flourish. Just a few would be Dr. Hendley’s ability to bring classes into a state of wonder, to expand our minds into the creativity of different perceptions, Dr. Freeman’s skill to make students laugh and learn complex material at ease, and Dr. Fortin’s comprehension to inspire and perpetuate a better degree of confidence in your abilities as a historian. They created a passion, an ethic that by the end of my last fall semester, I was starting on research projects before classes even began.
In my senior year I was perplexed by the future; thinking if I should become a teacher, historian, or a lawyer. Dr. Hendley’s Senior Seminar class opened up my eyes to librarianship, and guided me to communicate with the very helpful staff at Milne Library. I was able to interview, and shadow librarians that gave me a plethora of data, including statistics on the field, advice, and even a contact that was currently going for a Library Science Masters. This data made me feel very confident in the direction I was going, and allowed my entrance into the Master’s Program into Library Science at Pratt Institute in 2013. In my first semester at Pratt, the skills I learned as an Oneonta history major readily transitioned into those of Library Science. There were plenty of essays, discussions, and presentations, but I was never intimidated, if anything, I was eager. With writing as my strength, I used the same ethic that made me a better writer to become a better presenter. I did presentations and papers on GNU/Linux, Radical Cataloging, and Cyborg Anthropology. So far, I have been told that my writing skills are on par with being published and that my presentations are compelling and exuberant. Students at Pratt have been impressed with my presentations, humorously calling them intimidating, constantly over achieving, and even intense! I think that this field needs history majors with drive and passion. I can never thank the Oneonta History Department enough; to me they stand for Nietzsche’s theory, that ‘man is a bridge, not an end’.”
"I am a proud member of the SUNY Oneonta class of 1979, graduating with a BA in American History. I went on to study law at Albany Law School of Union University and have practiced as an attorney for more than 30 years, including challenging jobs as a prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney's Office, a litigator with the New York Power Authority and an in-house counsel specializing in employment issues at Macy's, Inc. Today, I am one of about 50 Macy's lawyers nationwide, supporting a Fortune 100 company, with 850 stores and more than 175,000 employees. My office is located in midtown Manhattan and, for the first twelve years, my office was upstairs of the main and iconic department store on 34th Street. Upon reflection, I credit my undergraduate experience as an integral foundational piece of my professional success. I fondly remember the History Department, with its interesting courses and passionate faculty. While my professors have all retired, I give them credit for helping me develop my research and writing skills, along with engaging and challenging my critical and analytical thinking. Learning to analyze and understand the dynamic underpinnings of various civilizations, key leaders and historical movements, was extremely helpful in understanding the evolution and development of common and constitutional law. Some of my favorite classes included History of Post World War II Through the Vietnam War with Professor Iverson, History of New York State with Professor Fink and History of the Holocaust with Professor Goodman. It amazes me that almost 35 years after taking those courses, I can still see and hear in my mind those instructors and the key historical issues they taught. Oneonta was (and remains) a terrific place to go to college. I fondly remember the beauty of Otsego County, sitting at the foothills of the Catskill Mountain range, the friendly student body, passionate, engaging and approachable faculty, along with a modern and manageably sized campus. SUNY Oneonta was the place where I "grew up", made lifetime friendships and met my wife. It also happens that SUNY Oneonta was and remains one of the best academic values in the Northeast. In fact, Kiplinger's Finance Magazine has named SUNY Oneonta one of the top 100 best values in public colleges for six consecutive years. I never doubted my choice of attending SUNY Oneonta. If I had to do it all over again, I would again choose SUNY Oneonta."
“My name is Emily Hunter and I am a history graduate of SUNY Oneonta. Over the course of the last three years, I had the opportunity to take a wide range of wonderful courses in American, European, and World history with professors who are deeply committed to their dual roles as researchers and educators. In many of my college history classes, I learned to take my researching, writing, and critical thinking skills to a new level with the guidance of attentive professors who were extremely generous with their time and insights. In addition to its wonderful courses, the history department also directs an internship program which places SUNY Oneonta students in a variety of history-related venues. Through the internship program, I was able to work in the special collections departments of two local libraries: the New York State Historical Association Library and our college’s Milne Library. When I was a senior at Cooperstown High School, I chose to apply to SUNY Oneonta because I wanted to attend an academically strong university in beautiful upstate New York; the college’s outstanding history program was an additional important factor that convinced me that this school was the right fit for me. Three years later, I am happy to say that I made the right decision and that SUNY Oneonta and the history program have actually exceeded my high expectations. Whenever I contemplate my aspirations for the future, I feel very grateful for the wonderful foundation that my college history courses and professors have given me. My experience in SUNY Oneonta’s history program has been thoroughly enjoyable and has given me the skills, perspective, and confidence that I will need to pursue the next level of my history career. I recently finished my first semester as a graduate student at UMass-Amherst. I am enjoying my coursework and appreciate how well my experiences in the history department at SUNY Oneonta prepared me for graduate school."
“I graduated from SUNY Oneonta in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in History and Philosophy. I entered Oneonta as a transfer student from a small community college located in my hometown and was not sure what to expect. However, my anxiety was quickly abated by my experiences there. I found the faculty to be extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and approachable. They are the kind of people that will go out of their way to say hello, always willing to answer my questions or help with research. I came to Oneonta to develop skills in history that would allow me to turn my love for history into a career. Oneonta’s History department offered a top-notch degree program with top-notch faculty members. The department’s course offerings were both plentiful and interesting. My Senior Seminar experience was especially exceptional. During the class I was able to conduct archival research for my seminar paper. I also really loved the department’s ability to offer “special topic classes.” These classes are more specialized and offer students an insight into their professors’ research interests. Two of my favorite history classes at Oneonta were special topic classes. In the spring of 2011, for example, I took Baltic Field Experience. In this class I learned the history of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and was offered the chance to go on a two-week study abroad trip to Lithuania. I found it exceptionally interesting to see the culture and history of Lithuania first hand after learning its history. I would suggest this class to anyone that has the opportunity. During my senior year I was also a Teaching Assistant for a class on the History of the French Revolution and Napoleon. I assisted the professor with the development and implementation of the course. This experience was very fulfilling as I learned some of the ins-and-outs of being an historian, and developed my personal skills as well as my knowledge of the subject matter during weekly office hours with students. The professor was very open to my suggestions and always willing to have a conversation about the class. This experience helped me prepare for a future career in history by advancing my oral, research, and tutoring skills. After graduating from SUNY Oneonta I went on to pursue an MA in History at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. I feel extremely well prepared for graduate school.”
“I graduated from SUNY Oneonta with my Bachelor of Science in History in May 2010. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to study at Oneonta after a long period of time out of school. I came to the Oneonta campus with the goal of taking up my love of history in a more serious manner and with plans of making a career of it. During my time there, I was amazed at the quality of the history faculty and diversity of subject matter available through the SUNY Oneonta Department of History. As a result of my degree earned, I am now pursuing a Masters degree in Medieval History at University College Dublin, Ireland. The focus of my research is Norman Italy, particularly the conquest period that occurred from the mid to late Eleventh Century. After completing my MA I hope to enter into PhD level study and to continue in this research area. I plan to eventually teach history at the college or university level, and my experiences at Oneonta were instrumental in helping me to get started on my way towards this goal. During my time at SUNY Oneonta, I had the pleasure of studying under numerous professors in the Department of History and took courses ranging from American, Ancient Middle Eastern, Ancient European, Asian, British, Canadian, Latin American, Medieval and Russian history. I found the entire history faculty at SUNY Oneonta to be helpful, engaging, and always willing to take time to give advice on issues ranging from essay assignments to advice on graduate schools and the options that were available.”
“During my time as a History major at SUNY Oneonta between 2002 and 2006, I took several history classes including history of New York City, history of Slavery, Colonial and Modern Latin American history, and Borderlands history. These classes showed me that history was much more than names and dates. They taught me to think critically and analytically, instructing me in the craft of argumentative writing. From my first year at Oneonta, professors encouraged me to question the obvious and created classroom environments that fostered thoughtful discussions. Professors at SUNY Oneonta also helped me delve into history outside the classroom. The summer after my sophomore year, I obtained a summer internship with the Colonial Albany Project where I worked with primary sources. The next fall I became a teaching assistant for a Colonial Latin American class, where I got experience working with students. The next summer, I won a fellowship at the Gilder Lehrman Institute for Historical Studies and spent eight weeks in New York City conducting research in some of the city’s premier libraries and archives. During my senior year, I became profoundly grateful for the one-on-one attention that History majors receive at Oneonta in regard to writing grant proposals, going over sources, and preparing a senior thesis. During that time, I researched over 1200 police indictments and wrote a thesis exploring the intersections of economic fluctuations, violent crimes and concepts of masculinity in New York City between 1800 and 1860. The skills I learned at Oneonta served me well when I entered the University of Texas’ number one ranked Ph.D. program in Latin American history. Since the fall of 2006, I have researched a variety of topics such as bestiality in Colonial Mexico, masculinity among Puerto Rican immigrants to NYC, and the professionalization of the Buenos Aires police force. I am currently planning a research trip to Argentina to complete my dissertation research. After graduation, I will become a professor and try to instil in my students the same love for history that SUNY Oneonta gave me.”
“I recently had the privilege of returning to SUNY Oneonta. I was invited to speak as the keynote for the Phi Alpha Theta New York Upper Regional Conference, and in doing so, given the opportunity to reflect on my time at Oneonta and how it led me to where I am now. The talk I gave was entitled, ‘History Major to History PhD: Pursuing Historical Studies from Undergraduate to Graduate School’.
I attribute the success I had in graduate school to the education I received at SUNY Oneonta. In particular, the faculty served as irreplaceable role models and advisors. Their passionate teaching styles and enjoyment of their subjects encouraged me to continue in academia. To this day I am still in touch with members of Oneonta’s history department, and still receive the same support that I did when I was an undergraduate. I know that it was my time at Oneonta that led me to achieve so much in the field of history. Standing in front of the undergraduate delegates at the Phi Alpha Theta Conference I was thrilled to be able to share my experiences and give advice on attending graduate school. It was all the more meaningful to present this paper at the very institution that inspired me to become a historian.”