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Careers

A pioneer member of the American Historical Association’s Career Diversity Initiative, TAMU prepares students for a full range of professional careers within and beyond the academy. Our students have been successful not only at securing faculty positions at universities and community colleges, but also jobs as historians in archives, university presses, museums, federal agencies, and the U.S. military. From admissions to graduation and beyond, we emphasize sustained and broad mentoring. With strong faculty communication, monthly professional development seminars, internships, summer research funding, an annual recruitment weekend, and a continuously updated curriculum, we help students compete for appointments in the careers of their choice.

Here are a few of their stories:

Hillary Anderson

I am an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Central Arkansas. I also serve as the Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Education program.   My scholarship examines lesbian feminist activism in the American South in the 1960s to the 1980s.  My teaching fields include Recent US History, Queer History of the US, and Music and Identity Politics in America, besides teaching pedagogy to future social studies teachers.  The history professors I worked with at TAMU were warm and supportive, always willing to answer my questions and provide guidance.  Their consistency with and care for me as a graduate student prepared me well for my current position. 

Tiffany Gonzalez

I earned my Ph.D. in American History, focusing on 20th and 21st Century Mexican American and Latina/o History in August 2020. After graduation, I was selected as the Bonquois Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History in the Gulf South at the Newcomb Institute of Tulane University. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am granted the time to revise my dissertation into a book manuscript for publication.  I feel fortunate to have landed the postdoctoral position, as it has opened doors to present my work to a national audience and offered me the opportunity to receive mentorship from a constellation of scholars at Tulane University. My experience at Texas A&M University prepared me to handle my postdoctoral position. The Texas A&M History Department has a strong commitment to making sure its graduate students can attend conferences and assist with research needs, which are resources strongly needed to write a dissertation. The training I received from the professors in the department strengthened my commitment to pursuing a career in teaching, research, and service—leading to my recent appointment as Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University.

Rachel Gunter

Caption: Rachel Gunter on the set of the PBS documentary Citizens at Last

I earned my Ph.D. in history in 2017 from Texas A&M University, where I benefitted from several years as a teaching assistant, discussion leader, and instructor of record as well as from funding that allowed me to attend conferences and make professional connections that proved pivotal to my career. The teaching opportunities I had at A&M were crucial to me earning a position as a Professor of History at a community college in North Texas, where I have the pleasure of teaching classes capped at 35 students alongside colleagues who care deeply about both teaching and research. I recently was a consultant and co-writer for the documentary “Citizens at Last”. After contributing to an anthology and publishing articles in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the Journal of Arizona History, I am currently working on a manuscript that grew out of my dissertation research. I still keep in touch with my committee members, one of whom in particular has generously provided advice on my book proposal and the publication process.

Debra Reid

I leaped into the Texas A&M History Ph.D. program because I craved learning. At the time I held an endowed position at Baylor University (Curator of the Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village). I knew I needed to know more to do that job well, and I believed that Ph.D. work could help me realize that goal. What I did not expect was a life altering experience. The Texas A&M coursework, connections, and dissertation research propelled me on the journey of a lifetime. The guidance of Texas A&M professors helped me complete a dissertation that won the first Gilbert Fite Award from the Agricultural History Society. That project became the award-winning book, Reaping a Greater Harvest: African Americans, the Extension Service, and Rural Reform in Jim Crow Texas (recipient of the Texas Historical Commission’s Fehrenbach Award). Now, as curator of agriculture and the environment at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, I use things I learned every day to engage with the public on essential topics – agriculture and the environment. That’s a land-grant institution’s mission realized!

Blake Whitaker

Photo Caption: Dr. Whitaker (on the right in blue) leading a battlefield staff ride for officers from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Photo Credit Colonel Stephen Lynskey)

I had no idea when I was a student how well the History graduate degree would prepare me for a career in the Intelligence Community. I use the skills I honed as a graduate student daily as a civilian intelligence analyst for the Department of the Army. While the deep subject matter expertise in my major field has been valuable, the most important aspects of my education was learning how to plan and perform in-depth research projects. My historiography course laid a foundation for considering how available information can bias the interpretation of an event. Discussions with my professors on evaluating sources, and source credibility are directly applicable to my career and help frame how I evaluate disparate pieces of information. Discussions in seminars, and debates over the work of other historians prepared me well to craft analytical arguments that help inform decision-makers.

 

Erika Weidemann

At Texas A&M University, I serve as the Historian in Residence supporting the Defense and POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The DPAA is an agency of the Department of Defense that is tasked with recovering and identifying missing American servicemembers from World War II to recent conflicts. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am involved in research, education, and outreach. Because the history graduate program at A&M focuses on career diversity and holds its students to high academic standards, I felt prepared for the postdoc even though I knew I would be conducting research outside my field of expertise. The research, teaching, writing, and public speaking skills I needed to succeed as a partner of the DPAA were the skills I learned in graduate school at A&M. Working with the DPAA has expanded my historical knowledge, increased my professional network, resulted in designing and teaching a course for history majors, and given me the opportunity to serve my country.

 

Marshall Yokell

I work as an archivist at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). As an archivist, I review, arrange, describe, and preserve presidential records that were created during the Bush administration. I also work with researchers, answering their questions about the Bush administration as well as locating and providing records related to their research. The History Department at Texas A&M – especially the faculty – was extremely helpful in getting me where I am today. In developing my analytical and critical thinking skills to encouraging me to apply for numerous fellowships and grants, I was able to gain valuable experiences. The department’s professional development workshops were especially useful, as they not only helped me prepare for applying for jobs, but also made me aware of opportunities in fields beyond the academic sphere. I am grateful to all my professors, as they were very encouraging and supportive of me in exploring all avenues for my post graduate career and their efforts were an important factor in bringing me the success I currently enjoy.