After spending four years teaching English in Japan, Mark Beauchamp returned to Montreal and completed his BA Honours in History at Concordia in 2007.
Beauchamp then entered the History Department’s Masters program where he pursued research on US-Japanese relations in the post-WWII period. He completed his MA in 2009, and began doctoral studies upon graduation. Two years into his PhD program, Dawson College offered him a teaching position, which he accepted.
Currently, Beauchamp is focused on teaching history and research methodologies at Dawson. In 2012, he founded the Dawson Oral History Project, a pedagogical initiative with the goal of using oral history methodology to engage students in research and to create a living archive of Montreal life stories. In 2013, students collected over 300 interviews on the 2012 Quebec student strikes. Through the Dawson Oral History Project, Beauchamp shares resources with Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and is proud to maintain a continuing relationship with the university. When reflecting on his time at Concordia, Beauchamp maintains that he gained a lot from working in an environment where students are encouraged to honestly and openly share their ideas. For Beauchamp, Concordia’s combination of a diverse student body and excellent faculty was crucial to setting the tone for a positive learning environment. Much of what he teaches and contemplates with his students at Dawson find their intellectual roots in his experiences at Concordia.
Alumni Student Profiles
After spending four years teaching English in Japan, Mark Beauchamp returned to Montreal and completed his BA Honours in History at Concordia in 2007.
At forty years of age, Lucie Bettez decided that she wanted to go back to school and to pursue her passion in history. Accepted at Concordia University, Bettez initially had her sights on completing an undergraduate degree. During her studies, she became inspired to continue her trainings and, after completing her BA at Concordia in 2007, Bettez completed a Masters degree at UQAM. In 2012, Bettez decided to start her own history consulting business. Offering diverse services, Bettez’s business develops workshops for primary schools on historical topics, assembles the history of corporative organizations for events, and even works on documenting more personal-family histories. The foundation of her business is meant to offer an alternative kind of job opportunity for history graduates, as well as a different way of applying history for the everyday public. Currently, Bettez is working on a permanent exhibition with MUSO (Musée des Deux-Rives), which is meant to open this month. For Bettez, her trainings at Concordia offered her an opportunity to follow her passion, and now feels that “I can do anything I want.”
After completing both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree at Concordia, Ian Bradley-Perrin was accepted into the doctoral program at Columbia University’s Department of Sociomedical Sciences in the fall of 2015. Bradley-Perrin first began his studies at Concordia in the Honours Public History Program and completed an internship at L’Université du Quebec à Montreal’s Institut de recherches et d’études féministes. At the Institut, Bradley-Perrin examined how accounts of the HIV/AIDS crisis had been used by the media, and helped develop best practices for community organizations collecting personal narratives.
Following his graduation in 2012, Bradley-Perrin was unsure if he wanted to remain in academia and took a year off to work in a community organization. His work fostered his curiosity about the inner workings of non-profit organizations and social organizing which inspired him to continue his studies at the graduate level. During his master’s degree at Concordia, Bradley-Perrin worked with Dr. Elena Razlogova and turned his attention turned to HIV/AIDS in New York City. He notes that he found the graduate history seminars at Concordia to be very challenging and, consequently, he arrived at Columbia well prepared, particularly in terms of historical theory and exposure to primary source material.
Moreover, Bradley-Perrin believes his work coordinating Concordia’s HIV/AIDS lecture series and the "Plus ou Moins Open Conference on HIV/AIDS,” an initiative created in response to the lack the space for critical community engagement with the real life experiences of people living with HIV, gave him relevant work experience which proved to be a significant advantage when applying to both doctoral programs and funding bodies.
His current research at Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Ronald Bayer, aims to understand the relationship between class and social movements in the context of HIV/AIDS and investigates how community input and community persecution are undertaken in the context of public health crises. Bradley-Perrin admits that graduate school can be very challenging and, therefore, having a strong sense of the purpose of one’s work is essential. He encourages those interested in graduate school to have a clear idea of what they want to do with their degree and to find a program that truly interests them.
Dr. Marie-Eve Chagnon completed her undergraduate degree at Université du Québec à Montréal in 2004, where she majored in history and minored in German. Inspired by a course on the First World War during her undergraduate studies, Chagnon went on to complete a Master’s in 2006 from UQAM, where her studies focused on the mobilization of French and German intellectuals during the war. Later that year, she came to Concordia to begin a PhD with Professor Norman Ingram.
Along with serving as valedictorian for her graduating class, Chagnon’s doctoral thesis, “Nationalisme et internationalisme dans les sciences au XXe siècle : l’exemple des scientifiques et des humanistes français et allemands dans la communauté scientifique internationale (1890-1933),” was awarded the Prix d’excellence in 2012 from the Association des doyens des études supérieures au Québec (ADESAQ), one of Quebec’s highest thesis-writing honours. Chagnon appreciated the supervision and support that Concordia’s history department offered her – both financially and emotionally. She felt her ideas and decisions were always respected, particularly when she took time off to have her first child.
Chagnon is currently pursuing postdoctoral-research, at the Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes with Till van Rahden and she is organizing, “The Academic World in the Era of the Great War,” an International Conference which will take place in Dublin in August of 2014. The conference will host PhD students, post-docs and professors from North America, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Austria, among other countries.
After completing an undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba in 1995, Catherine Chatterley began a M.A. degree in history at Concordia University. Her second degree provided Chatterley with both experience as a Teaching Assistant and the opportunity to work closely with faculty members from whom she benefited intellectually a great deal. Chatterley studied European history at Concordia, writing her thesis on the literary critic George Steiner and his philosophic understanding of the Holocaust. While living in Montreal, Chatterley had the opportunity to work with both the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.
Chatterley went on to complete a PhD in history at The University of Chicago. Syracuse University Press published her dissertation under the title Disenchantment: George Steiner and the Meaning of Western Civilization After Auschwitz in 2011. The book was a 2011 National Jewish Book Award Finalist.
Today, she is the Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA) and is Editor-in-Chief of its academic periodical, Antisemitism Studies, published by Indiana University Press. She currently teaches European and Jewish history at the University of Manitoba. According to Chatterley, her academic training taught her to think critically and historically. Both abilities, she says, are crucial intellectual skills for university graduates regardless of career trajectory. Her advice to students studying history today is to be as versatile as possible in how they imagine using their education and to be open to studying and teaching in ways that are not traditional. Chatterley thinks of her training in history as “indispensable to my way of being in, and thinking about, the world.”
Penelope Duffy, PhD received her BA in honours history at Concordia University in 1970, and although she switched to neuroscience and later took up creative writing, she notes the lessons she learned from her study of history have served her well.
Returning to Washington D.C. in 1970 with the intention of pursuing law, she took a temporary job at a hospital, which brought her in contact with neurologically impaired patients who had difficulty communicating. Inspired to help them, she went on to get a doctorate in Communication Disorders from the University of Minnesota. Duffy states that her background in history helped her successfully write, synthesize information, recognize bias, and filter issues through various lenses in her field.
After retiring from a 25-year career in right hemisphere brain damage, she began writing for Mayo Clinic in the neurosciences. In addition to academic writing, Duffy published a memoir on her family’s time in China during the Communist revolution 2006.
In October, 2013 she published The Cartographer of No Man’s Land (Penguin Canada; W.W. Norton U.S.), a novel that takes place on the Western Front at Vimy Ridge and in Nova Scotia and during the First World War. Lessons in how to find, use, and evaluate primary and secondary materials were invaluable in recreating the era.
Duffy says of her time at Concordia, that she “could not have been more fortunate… I was proud to be part of the history department and lucky to taught by such great professors. It was a turbulent, exciting time with the Vietnam war, the Front Liberation Quebec and student protest all in full force, and Concordia was most definitely the place to be. I learned the value of the past in interpreting the present.”
Alex Frost graduated from Concordia in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in history. At the beginning of his studies Frost was interested mainly in European history, however, his attention shifted to the history of the Soviet Union after taking a course with Dr. Alison Rowley.
Following his graduation from Concordia, Frost went on to complete a Master’s degree at Carleton University’s Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS). At EURUS, Frost expanded his knowledge of modern Russian politics and economics while completing his major research paper under the joint supervision of Dr. Elinor Sloan and Dr. Piotr Dutkiewicz. While at EURUS, Frost had the opportunity to spend a summer taking intensive Russian language classes at St. Petersburg State University.
Upon graduation in 2009, Frost initially struggled to find a job in his field in Canada, so he decided to move to London, a regional hub of foreign policy. Shortly after his arrival in the United Kingdom, in 2010, Frost was hired by Axco Insurance Information Services to do strategic economic and political research. Axco is currently the world’s premiere supplier of risk and insurance information to various major corporations and organizations.
Over time, Frost carved out a niche for himself at Axco by focusing on providing companies with more detailed, in-depth, information. Currently, as Head of Country Intelligence at Axco, Frost is responsible for helping companies understand the various factors affecting risk in specific regions such as overall political stability, credit rating, health profile, chance of natural catastrophe, etc.
Frost believes his analytical and writing skills, which he honed during his history classes at Concordia, have proved to be key factors in his career advancement. He also notes that his foreign language training gave him a significant advantage; his first major promotion was tied to the fact that he was the only person in the office who spoke Russian. Frost advises current history students to take advantages of opportunities to network and to get to know people in their intended industry because this will also help them secure positions in the future.
In his mid twenties, Kristian Gravenor was laid off from his work at Bell Canada and struck with the question of what to do with his life. Having completed his undergraduate degree in history at McGill University, Gravenor decided to go back to school and pursue a Master's degree in history at Concordia University. Gravenor completed his MA in 1991, where he dedicated his studies to the rise of fascism in Europe, evaluating the experience in France. Gravenor was enthralled by the course work, stating that returning to studies full time was one of the best decisions he made.
Concordia’s MA Program provided Gravenor with an ability to think critically about the world, and sparked his interest in Montreal history. Gravenor began to think about pursuing journalism – a field he was always interested in but had never gone into. The skills Gravenor developed while at Concordia allowed him to flourish in his new field, where Gravenor became a full time journalist writing for Montreal Mirror newspaper from 1998 to 2005. Gravenor wrote near 1,000 articles for the publication, while also working as a real estate developer on the side.
Presently, Gravenor is a freelance journalist, working with news broadcasting teams such as CTV. He writes on many diverse subjects, such as local history, city politics, general news, business profiles, and opinion pieces. For Gravenor, completing an MA at Concordia was an undertaking of a massive task, which pushed his ability of creation to the limit. He learnt how to write in a concentrated way, which gave him a strong sense of accomplishment and left him with the confidence to tackle any major task. “It is hard to explain how valuable that is to me.”
When Anastasia Jones began her undergraduate degree at Concordia University, she was unsure of what field she wanted to pursue. She began her studies in political science, but after enrolling in history courses as electives, Jones switched her major to history.
She graduated from Concordia in 2006, having completed honours history with a major in creative writing. While at Concordia, Jones won the Crevier-Bronstetter Award (2005), the Pearls of Wisdom Bursary (2004), the David Fox Memorial Award (2006), and the Irving Layton Award for Fiction and Irving Layton Award for Poetry (both in 2005). She also won the Arts and Science Scholar Award (2005 and 2006), and was on the Dean's List from 2003 to 2006.
Upon completion of her BA, and with the support of her Concordia professors, Jones decided to apply straight into PhD programs in the United States. She was accepted into Yale’s History PhD program, specializing in the history of sexuality and early twentieth-century popular culture, in order to work on a research project involving popular conceptions of intimacy between women. Her dissertation is entitled “’She's That Way’: Female Same-Sex Intimacy and the Growth of Modern Sexual Categories in U.S. Culture, 1920-1940.”
Jones completed her PhD in December of 2013, and is currently in the academic job market with the hopes of finding a tenure-track teaching position. Jones came to love history at Concordia because professors in the department nurtured curiosity and encouraged both innovative thought and writing. The discipline enabled her to contemplate the nature of cultural and social change, as well as the quotidian details of life in past eras. At Concordia, Jones developed an enduring fascination with the ways in which the study of history reveals both the hidden stories of people's lives and the meaning and importance of culture.
Sarah Ladik graduated from Concordia University in 2012 with a double major in history and journalism. She wrote her undergraduate honours thesis on the migration of African Americans and Jewish Americans to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s under the supervision of Dr. Alison Rowley.
Following her graduation from Concordia, Ladik worked briefly as a freelance writer for the Montreal Gazette before moving to Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories (NWT) in August of 2012 to work as a writer for the Northern Journal. Prior to arriving there, she admits that she knew very little about life in the NWT, but today she is very engaged with the realities and issues facing Northern Canada.
Ladik is currently based in Inuvik, the administrative centre of the Beaufort Delta region in the NWT, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Inuvik Drum, the weekly paper in the area. As Editor, she is responsible for selecting, researching, and writing all of the stories that appears in the paper. Ladik enjoys the fact that her position allows her to get out of the office and interact with different people every day. Even though she rarely gets the opportunity to report on situations directly related to history, many of the skills she developed in the history program are essential to her current position. In particular, she notes that research skills and her ability to quickly digest and distill large amounts of detailed information give her a distinct advantage over other reporters. Moreover, Ladik believes that her honours history seminars taught her how to think critically and the question everything, a prerequisite for any journalist.
Eugene Miakinkov first arrived at Concordia as a transfer student from Ryerson University where he had studied Information Technology Management. Miakinkov had originally intended to enroll in Concordia’s John Molson School of Business but was fascinated by his history classes.
He became interested in 18th-century Russian military history and wrote his honours thesis on Alexander Suvorov under the supervision of Dr. Alison Rowley.
Miakinkov feels that the honours program prepared him well both theoretically and methodologically for graduate school and allowed him to develop close relationships with several professors who have continued to mentor him throughout his academic career. In addition, he notes that having honours seminars with MA and Ph.D students allowed him to measure himself, intellectually, against students already in graduate school.
Furthermore, Miakinkov believes his activities outside the classroom, particularly his position as Editor-in-Chief of Historiae, Concordia’s undergraduate history journal, helped prepare him for graduate school.
After his graduation from Concordia in 2007, Miakinkov went on to complete his master’s degree at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Alex Statiev and his Ph.D at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Heather Coleman. His Ph.D focused on Russian military culture in the latter half of the 18th-century.
In the fall of 2014, Miakinkov was hired by Swansea University, in the United Kingdom, as the Lecturer in War and Society in the Department of Political and Cultural Studies. Miakinkov is currently enjoying the collegial environment at Swansea and is happy that his position allows him to teach a variety of courses on Russian history.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Miakinkov is in the process of turning his dissertation, titled “Russian Military Culture during the Reigns of Catherine II and Paul 1st 1762-1801,” into a monograph. He is also in the initial stages of a project on the militarization of Russian culture, society, government, politics, and foreign policy, under Vladimir Putin. Miakinkov encourages current history students, who intend to pursue a career in academia, to clearly identify their interests and read extensively.
Finally, he notes that mastering a second, or third, language, is of great benefit to anyone interested in graduate studies and a career, in history.
Ngozi Okidegbe completed her undergraduate degree in honours history at Concordia University in 2010, and is currently pursuing a B.C.L./LL.B (civil and common law degree) at McGill University.
Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Okidegbe spent a year abroad studying French in France with the intention of later pursuing a graduate studies in History. In 2010, Okidegbe presented her undergraduate thesis “I Love a Man in Uniform: The Debate Surrounding Uniforming the New York Police Force, 1844 –1853,” which was supervised with Professor Gavin Taylor, at “Uniform, State, Power” conference in Münster, Germany. Her thesis was subsequently published as a part of the German book, Staat Macht Uniform: Uniformen als Zeichen staatlicher Macht im Wandel.
Okidegbe realized that she wanted to diversify her training, and as a result, is now pursuing law at McGill. She plans to work in the area of human rights, and in the long term, sees herself becoming a constitutional law professor. In her legal studies, she has had the opportunity to work as a research assistant to a judge and work as a law clerk to the attorney general in Nigeria.
When reflecting on her choice of honours history at Concordia, Okidegbe says that it was “one of the best decisions I made.” Her history training allowed her to develop her research and writing skills, which have helped her in her legal studies. Okidegbe is also grateful for the dedication of the professors who were always there for their students whether it was to build on their research skills, improve their writing, or even just to help them through a mental block. Okidegbe notes, “The professors are excellent. I was provided with a solid foundation with which I have used to succeed in my legal studies.” Okidegbe anticipates completing her law degree in June 2015.
Emma Park is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan whose research focuses primarily on East African history and draws on the insights and methods of Science and Technology Studies (STS).
During her undergraduate career Park was an honours student who worked under the supervision of Dr. Frank Chalk. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on the conflict in Darfur and the problematic nature of international intervention.
After the completion of her Bachelor’s degree in 2008, Park decided to work with Dr. Andrew Ivaska and remained at Concordia for her graduate studies. She wrote her master’s thesis on roads and the politics of mobility in colonial and post-colonial Kenya. In addition to Dr. Ivaska, Park notes that her classes with Dr. Anya Zilberstein and Dr. Ted McCormick helped shape her research interests and approach as they both study the history of science and technology.
According to Park, one of the advantages of doing her Master’s degree at Concordia was the availability of funding to do research abroad. Park believes that while she had always intended to obtain a PhD, her experience doing fieldwork in Kenya for her master’s thesis clarified her research questions. Moreover, the research Park undertook for her MA enabled her to develop networks in Kenya which have been invaluable to her as she pursues her PhD.
Currently, Park works under the supervision of Dr. Gabrielle Hecht and Dr. Derek Peterson and is exploring the micro political struggles that assemble around large scale infrastructures from the interwar period to the present in Kenya. Park suggests that current students interested in pursuing graduate studies in history look at the academic research being generated by a particular department to determine whether or not a given program would be a good match. Finally, she advises current students to develop close relationships with the faculty as professors can play a key role in providing information, advice, and reference letters during the application process.
Julie Perrone completed her PhD at Concordia in 2013 under the supervision of Professor Ronald Rudin. Perrone’s research focused on the commemoration of Canadian sports heroes.
Shortly after her graduation from Concordia, Perrone was hired as a Postdoctoral Researcher by the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling to collaborate on the project, “What Happened to the Franklin Expedition.”
In 2014, Perrone became a Senior Advisor in Corporate Communications at Via Rail. As a Senior Advisor, her primary role is to develop strategic partnerships in preparation for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. Perrone is very happy to have found a career that allows her to use the analytical, writing, and research skills she honed as a historian. She also enjoys that in her position she has the creative freedom to design new strategies for assessing potential partnerships. Perrone believes that one of the reasons she was hired by Via is that she was employed throughout her studies; during her bachelor’s degree she was an assistant in a law office and over time she gradually gained more advanced positions. For example, while completing her dissertation, she worked as the Assistant Director of the Association for Canadian Studies, eventually becoming the Executive Director in 2013.
Perrone notes that her work outside of academia gave her a slightly different profile that helped her both support her studies and gain recognition from potential employers. Perrone encourages current students to have an open mind, be creative, and be willing to consider both academic and non-academic careers.
Daniel Quinn has run as a candidate for the New Democratic Party in three federal elections — two of them while he was an undergraduate — and is currently a party organizer for the province of Quebec. He completed his Bachelors degree in honours history at Concordia University in 2007.
As a young candidate, Quinn’s mission was to empower youth to get involved in their communities on a political level. Upon completion of his BA, Quinn went on to do a Masters at Concordia University, where he wrote his thesis “Postwar American Liberalism: From Triumph to Defeat.”
He graduated from his MA in 2009, and immediately became a high school teacher at St-Thomas in Pointe-Claire, where he had been a substitute teacher while he completed his BA. In the fall of 2010, he began teaching at Kuper Academy, were he taught Canadian History, World History, English, and Ethics classes.
Although he enjoyed teaching, politics continued to attract Quinn, and since March 2012, he has been working in the NDP central office as a Party Organizer. Among his responsibilities, Quinn is in charge of election preparation, riding association development, fundraising, and volunteer training.
When reflecting on his time at Concordia, Quinn said his history training has helped him in his political career. He found the department’s seminar discussions constructive, thoughtful, and was grateful that they provided a space where any issue could be addressed. One of the most valuable skills Quinn took away from studying history was the ability to construct and deconstruct arguments — a particularly useful skill in the political realm.
Being surrounded by approachable professors and intelligent students who engaged with course material was a humbling experience for Quinn. He found there was an inherent value to what he learned in the history department which allowed him to develop a more complex worldview and learn how to think more critically about the world.
At seventeen years of age, Etienne Stockland found himself at Concordia University without a clue about what he wanted to pursue in his studies. Having developed a general interest in history during CEGEP, he entered Concordia’s history program in 2005. After enrolling in the honours program, Stockland found himself intellectually stimulated in seminars where he was able to share ideas with fellow students and professors. Stockland’s interest was sparked particularly in Early Modern history classes, and by his third year of study, he was taking courses almost exclusively in 17th and 18th century history.
As he neared graduation, it became clear to Stockland that he wished to continue in academia full-time. Upon completion of his BA in 2009, he went on to pursue a Master’s degree at Oxford University with the support of a scholarship from the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC).
Currently, Stockland is completing a PhD at Columbia University, funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Grant, where he has spent three years teaching and completing course work in New York. He is now conducting archival research in Paris and teaching at l’Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences-Po). Stockland’s research examines the heterogeneous scientific and administrative networks that were formed in ancien régime France and its colonies to manage environments affected by biological invasions of insect pests.
Stockland believes Concordia’s small-sized classes, as well as the responsive faculty team who put the time in to help him develop as a young historian, allowed him to pursue his current trajectory. His current work, based on interests that were fostered during his time at Concordia, is something he is happy to “live with everyday.”
Nick Tošaj is currently a second year Ph.D student in Food History at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Dan Bender, Tošaj is investigating the role of bread and dietary staples in the French colonial empire in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Tošaj completed both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in history at Concordia. According to Tošaj, his studies at Concordia improved his writing and his knowledge of historiography, both essential skills at the doctoral level. More importantly, Tošaj claims that the relationships he built with professors in the history department, who supported and encouraged his success, made him a far better student.
During his undergraduate degree, Tošaj was interested primarily in Russian and Chinese history, however, by the beginning of his graduate studies, his focus had shifted to European history. A discussion with Dr. Anya Zilberstein helped Tošaj realize that food could be used as an approach to understanding history. He then wrote his Master’s thesis on the diffusion of French culinary culture through British luxury hotels under the supervision of Dr. Norman Ingram.
Tošaj enjoys how food can captivate the imagination, even of individuals who initially demonstrate little interest in history. At the University of Toronto and as a member of the Culinaria Research Group, he has had the opportunity to work alongside professors to create and teach food history courses. As part of his work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the class Edible Histories, Tošaj conducts historical cooking practicums with undergraduate students in the university’s teaching kitchen.
Tošaj believes that history students interested in pursuing a Ph.D should find a topic that captivates them on a personal, as well as academic, level. Naturally, his own interests in food extend beyond academia, he is the author of the cooking blog Tošaj & Co.
Meagan Wierda arrived at Concordia in 2012 to embark on an MA in History after graduating from the University of Ottawa with a bachelor’s degree in history and lettres françaises. Working under the supervision of Dr. Theresa Ventura, Wierda’s master’s thesis focused on the relationship between medicine and slavery in the decades leading up to the American Civil War.
Wierda began a PhD at Rutgers University in September 2015. Wierda decided to continue studying history because she felt that she had so many unanswered questions and she simply wanted to continue learning. She feels that excelling in the classroom, while also gaining relevant work experience, greatly increased her chances of being accepted into Rutgers’ competitive American history program.
While working on her bachelor’s degree at the University of Ottawa, Wierda completed internships with both Libraries and Archives Canada, and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
At Concordia, she worked as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) for multiple professors. Being a TA helped Wierda develop transferable skills such as leading conferences and evaluating students’ assignments. She believes that the structure of the TA program is one of the history department’s major strengths. Moreover, her experience as an RA gave Wierda a better sense of what studying for a PhD involved, and helped her decide whether or not she really wanted to pursue a doctorate.
Wierda notes that many employment opportunities in history are not well publicized and that, therefore, getting to know her professors helped her gain relevant work experience. In addition, she found that the relationships she built within the history department at Concordia became even more essential when she needed information about applying to graduate programs in the United States.
At Rutgers, Wierda is enjoying exploring her interest in 19th century American history, the history of medicine, and the history of slavery.
Amie Wright arrived at Concordia after working for several years in various libraries and non-profit organizations in Calgary. Wright was impressed with the quality of the history faculty at Concordia and appreciated being exposed to a broad range of historical perspectives and approaches.
She graduated in 2008 with an Honours degree in History and was her graduating class's Valedictorian. She wrote her honours thesis, “La Bebida Nacional: Pulque and Mexicanidad, 1920-46,” on the cultural history of pulque, under the supervision of Dr. Nora Jaffary. Wright’s thesis won several awards including the David Fox Memorial Prize and the Canadian Journal of History Graduate Student Essay Competition.
Wright went on to complete a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Most recently, Wright has worked at the New York Public Library (NYPL) where she began as the Selections Supervisor, and is currently the Program Manager, of MyLibraryNYC. MyLibraryNYC is the NYPL’s outreach program to educators and students in roughly 280 public schools in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The program provides educators with access to teacher sets, special curated collections of materials for classroom use.
Wright also regularly conducts professional development workshops for educators which aim to introduce them to new materials, help them incorporate primary sources in the classroom, and address historical topics from multiple perspectives.
According to Wright, her background in history has proven to be an invaluable asset when she is evaluating nonfiction material for children and adults. In addition, she admits that she never thought her discussions with Dr. Jaffary regarding the importance of questioning primary sources would be so important, but it has proved essential in her work at the NYPL. Wright encourages current history students to be open to different opportunities and to think creatively about how to use their degrees.
For over a decade, Christopher Young has been a social studies teacher at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg. In 2005, Young decided to take a sabbatical from teaching to complete a Master’s degree in history at Concordia. In pursuing a graduate degree, Young hoped to expand his knowledge of history and become a better educator.
Young chose to attend Concordia because he loved the city of Montreal and wanted to work under the supervision of Dr. Ronald Rudin. Young is specifically interested in Canada’s role in World War I and his Master’s thesis focused on the conscription riot of April 1918.
Young believes his graduate experience at Concordia made him a much stronger teacher with a greater appreciation of the philosophy of history, of how history has been used for political purposes, and of the role of public history and commemoration.
Young strives to make his history classes as engaging and relevant as possible by taking his students on trips to visit Canadian battlefields in Europe and having students conduct research on former Kelvin students who fought in World War I.
Over the past three years Young has been working with his students to create the interactive Kelvin History Website which celebrates both the school’s military history and distinguished alumni. In the fall of 2014, Young received a commendation from the Minister of Veterans Affairs in recognition of his work promoting remembrance at Kelvin.
In February 2015, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Young one of fifty individuals recognized for their contributions to Canadian society.
Young advises current history students to enjoy their studies as much as possible and to appreciate that their history classes can truly change the way they view the world. He notes that so many incredible opportunities can come out of a humanities degree and encourages current students not to worry too much about their future; if they work hard they will find a fulfilling career.