Rita Davenport, a UB history major who completes the program this semester, is finishing on a high note with an internship at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Her main project at the BMI is documenting a backlog of historical objects. Recently, she has been using a database called Past Perfect to catalog products from Domino Sugar. As we all know, Domino Sugar has played a huge role in Baltimore’s industry.
Recently, the museum received a donation of four larges boxes full of Domino Sugar products such as boxes, coffee creamer, cinnamon shakers, coffee mugs, plush animals, sugar cubes, water bottles, and hats. Rita gave each of these objects a number, then labeled them with the number somewhere on the bottom(so it doesn’t show on display). She used a special archival pen. Rita says, “I photograph all angles of each object. I then catalog each object with their number into our database… I upload a photo for each object and describe the object itself and its condition.” In that way, the material history of Domino Sugar can be preserved for future scholars.
Rita finished the four boxes on Wednesday, February 7. This was her first completed task as an intern and she says she is “thrilled to finally be working in the field.” In the fall, Rita heads to a graduate program in public history.
The annual LEHS “Knowledge At Work” alumni event took place on October 23, 2017 in Dr. Nix’s HIST 295 evening class. This year, we had three alumni from the division come back to UB to talk to history program majors about their work experiences since graduation.
Mr. Michael Bealefeld (History ’13) talked about his master’s program experience at UMBC, which was funded by a Madison Foundation Fellowship that he won as a UB student. Since finishing the UMBC program, he became a history teacher at the Cambridge School in Baltimore County.
Ms. Lyndsay Bates was our representative from the Legal and Ethical Studies master’s program here in the Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies (LEST ’13). She is currently earning her doctorate in Public Administration at UB, and she has already presented her research on structural inequality in Baltimore to a professional audience of scholars.
Our third panelist was Sgt. Audrey McCoy, who graduated from the UB History program as Audrey Hayes in 2015. A recipient of the Keith L. Ware Military Print Journalist of the Year Award (2017), Audrey works as a photojournalist for the United States Army Reserve. Her article, “Remembering Rosie,” based in part on her History program research, was featured on the U.S. Army Web site homepage. Read her article here.
All three of our panelists talked about how their LEHS degree prepared them for their next steps, and how the research, writing, and communication skills they developed here gave them a competitive advantage. The history majors in the audience had the opportunity to ask Mike, Lyndsay, and Audrey their own questions about parleying their degrees into a variety of careers.
Special thanks to Dean Spencer, the History program faculty, and Cindy Meyers for helping make the event a fun night of useful insights and lots of laughs.
Mr. Marshall Odell (History ’15) has used his UB undergraduate degree, plus experience working at Langsdale Library, to get hired at the storied Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. No graduate degree required!
Archival photo from the USNA Web site: https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/ve-archives/academics.php
Odell says the combination of his history major and his work experience was “what really made the difference” in his application for the Library Technician position. Making more than he did in his previous career in banking, Odell now can immerse himself in American military history, saying, “there is a treasure trove” of history at the library that could keep him busy exploring the collections for decades.
Marshall’s UB history professors, Langsdale Library colleagues, and friends wish him the best of luck with his new full-time job with the Navy!
UB History faculty heard that Miguel Martinez (History, 2013) made it through the “gold bar” stage of training to attain the rank of Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Miguel says that he left for his Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Lee (VA) just two weeks after graduating with his history degree and that “it’s been a whirlwind since.” After he graduated from BOLC he headed to Fort Benning (GA) to take his first platoon. Miguel has also been to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin (CA) as an attachment to another brigade in his division, and is now running a motor pool for the Cavalry squadron.
Miguel was a great History student at UB, and we know he is putting his global knowledge and skills to use as an officer in the Army.
Fort Lee in Virginia is the site of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum. Recruitment poster in the museum’s collection.
“Knowledge @ Work,” the fourth annual alumni event presented by the Division of Legal, Ethical, and Historical Studies at UB, was a wonderful evening this past Thursday. Every October, UB’s History, Jurisprudence, Legal and Ethical Studies majors, and pre-majors, are invited to visit with program alumni who have parleyed their degrees into exciting careers here in the region.
This year, we had a panelist from each of LEHS’s programs: Luke McCusker (History ’11) is the director of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore. David C. Butler, Jr. (LEST ’09) manages an office in the U.S. Social Security Administration in Woodlawn, MD. And Hannah Dawson (Jurisprudence ’12) is an attorney who works in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, also part of the Social Security Administration.
Alumni David Butler, Luke McCusker, and Hannah Dawson turned legal, ethical, and historical skills into great jobs.
These outstanding alumni talked about how their reading, writing, research, and communication skills, honed at UB, helped them find fulfilling positions, and helped them get promoted once on the job. UB students who attended the event took the opportunity to network and pose their own school and career questions. They also got to meet and chat with CAS dean Chris Spencer, a history major herself who went on to have a career in public health and higher education administration.
History, Jurisprudence, and LEST students socialize with Dean Spencer over nachos and buffalo wings at the “Knowledge @ Work” event.
Many thanks to Dr. Yi for taking photos at the event, and Lyndsay Bates for helping make the event this year a success.
History major Audrey Hayes is a U.S. Army Specialist who has contributed seven photo-illustrated news stories to the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), a Web site for U.S. military and its partners’ news. The DVIDS site “is provided as a public service operated by Third Army/U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) on behalf of the Department of the Army in support of all branches of the U.S. military and its Coalition partners serving with U.S. Forces in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility and throughout the world,” explains the Web site.
As part of the 214th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Hayes has photographed Army exercises in the U.S. and Europe, where she was stationed in Poland in 2014. She says that studying history at UB has enhanced her love of investigating stories, and when the chance came to join a reporting unit in the Army Reserves, she grabbed it. Hayes hopes to head back to Europe in that capacity some day.
History faculty members agree with Hayes that the research skills and global knowledge cultivated in the major make journalism a natural career choice. In the digital world of social media, we need critical thinkers who can determine the “Who, What, When, and Where” of a story, and analyze the “Why” by tracing the roots of the world’s problems, conflicts, and reconciliations.
A Polish color guard prepares to raise their nation’s flag alongside American Soldiers, as they assemble to pay tribute to the Polish Independence day and American Veterans Day, Nov. 10, 2014, at the parade field on Zlocieniec Army Base. U.S. Soldiers have been in Poland participating in training with the Polish army as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. OAR is a demonstration of our continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine specifically. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Audrey Ann Hayes)
Mr. Luke F. McCusker, UB History grad of 2011, is now Managing Director of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore. The museum is situated within a group of 5 alley houses where the Irish immigrants who worked for the adjoining B&O Railroad lived. Two of the houses, 918 and 920 Lemmon St., are the museum. A significant Irish presence established itself in Southwest Baltimore during and following the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.
Under the direction of the museum’s board of directors, McCusker interprets an Irish immigrant home of the 1870s, and develops the family’s story for presentation to visitors. He says that the history major helped him develop critical thinking and “a heart for research and the ability to communicate my findings” clearly and concisely. When asked what advice he has for new history graduates, McCusker says that becoming “as comfortable with technology as you can” will give you an edge. The UB history faculty agrees that public history has become closely linked to digital history.
Emigrants Leave Ireland, engraving by Henry Doyle (1827–1893), from Mary Frances Cusack’s Illustrated History of Ireland, 1868.
Jessica Swadow (grad. 2011) tells Dr. Hudgins that she will be completing her third year at UB Law School and is clerking full time at SBW (short for Schlachman, Belsky & Weiner, headquartered on Lombard Street). When asked how her history degree helped prepare her, Swadow says, “I have found that my research and writing skills learned at UB have helped to prepare me for law school and work.” If law school and full-time work weren’t enough, she has also been working as a research assistant for one of her law professors.
“My background in historical research has been immensely helpful in this area,” she says. Swadow is helping her professor research a book about the intersection of secular and religious laws as they pertain to kosher frauds and scandals. “I am able to efficiently and quickly find primary and secondary sources due in large part to the extensive research and writing I did at UB as a history major.” The history faculty feel pretty confident that Jessica will be as successful with her budding legal career as she was in our history program.
Are you a History program alum with news about your studies or your career? Please contact Dr. Hudgins at firstname.lastname@example.org
History Major Brian Jeffries had a great experience with his internship at the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore. The museum, located just next to Oriole Park, fills the old Camden train station, and contains artifacts and interactive exhibits related to athletics in Maryland, including native son Babe Ruth.
Faculty members in the History program at UB have long known that Jeffries’ first love is sports, whether present or past. He said he really enjoyed helping to preserve sports history at the museum, working with artifacts, and museum staff. Students who are interested in public history can gain good experience by interning or volunteering at the wide array of museums around the city.
Luke McCusker, an outstanding history student at UB, won the Fisher Award in his senior year and went on to pursue a career in public history. He now serves as the first paid director of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum near the B&O Railroad Museum in Southwest Baltimore. On Monday, March 23, Luke led a class in Dr. Nix’s 19th-century social history class on a tour of the compact neighborhood where Irish immigrants worked, lived, worshipped, shopped for food and educated their children.
As a student in Dr. Nix’s methods course, Luke had uncovered the story of H.L. Norris, a Baltimorean who had started to work for the B&O at age 11. Norris went on to design a refrigerated rail car for transporting milk, and he shared his profits with his community through his philanthropic efforts.
Luke has continued to conduct research into the lives of railroad workers, discovering that the family that lived in the homes that now house the Irish Railroad Workers Museum fled the potato famine to settle in Baltimore. They started out renting the property, eventually bought their home, then bought another larger home in the same neighborhood and rented this smaller property out to new arrivals.
UB grads like Luke continue to add to our understanding of our city and to the interpretation of our history to a wide audience.