“What are you going to do with a history degree?” Helping students navigate a graduate degree and career in public history

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Public History Navigator. Screenshot courtesy Adina Langer

Public History Navigator screenshot

Every history major is familiar with this question, and while a few undergraduates may have an answer at the ready, many aren’t exactly sure what they want to do with their degree. For the past year and a half, the NCPH New Professional and Graduate Student Committee has worked hard to create a resource to better prepare undergraduates and graduate students to enter and succeed in the public history profession:

The Public History Navigator: How to Choose and Thrive in a Public History Graduate Program

Section one of this two-part guide investigates how to choose and apply to a graduate program and encourages students to find the right program and degree for their ultimate career goals. The second section includes tips on making the most of graduate school and how students can make themselves more marketable for the job hunt.

The creation of this guide was truly a team effort encouraged by the NCPH board and fueled by survey participants and volunteers who wanted to share “what they wish they knew before and during graduate school.” Yet our work is far from over. How do we ensure that the Public History Navigator is accessible to students, advisors, and professors? What is the best way to reach these audiences and how do we know if we are successful? What are the next steps to educating students about career opportunities in the field of public history?

These are the questions we need your help to address as we create an action plan for distribution and outreach for the Public History Navigator. We hope you will join our conversation on social media by following our committee on Twitter at @NCPHnewgrad and using the hashtag #PHnavigator when talking about our guide. At the NCPH 2015 annual meeting in Nashville, we will have a table in the exhibit hall where you can chat with committee members and learn more about the guide. We encourage and welcome feedback and contributions to this dialogue and hope to see you in Nashville!

~ Michelle Antenesse graduated from University of California Davis in 2002, with a BA in History and Political Science.  After going back to school to pursue her Master’s degree at Cal State Fullerton, she graduated in 2011 with an MA in History, with an emphasis in Public History.  Since graduating, she has remained active in the public history field, although not in a full-time capacity.  She curated the reopening of Farmer to Flyers: MCAS El Toro and Mid-Century Orange County for the Orange County Great Park, co-chairs the New Professional and Graduate Student Committee, and is an active volunteer at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
~ Theresa Koenigsknecht graduated from Michigan State University with a double major in History and Anthropology and a Museum Studies Certification. She earned her Masters degree in Public History from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). She co-chairs the New Professional and Graduate Student Committee and is the Curator at the Johnson County Museum of History in Indiana. You can follow her on twitter at @TKhistarch7.

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