Sam Trzaska

Sam Trzaska

Sam Trzaska, BA Student

Class of 2018

What drew you to a History major at UB?

Before I even started to attend UB I knew I was going to major in History. In either middle or elementary school, I knew that I wanted to study history far more than any other discipline. The moment that I was able to declare a History major, I made my way over to Park Hall and applied.

What has been your favorite class or experience so far?

To be honest, every single class and experience during my time as a history major has been excellent. From the office staff to the faculty, everyone in the department is there to help you achieve your academic and career goals. I have taken courses on everything from the history of WWII to the cultural history of the Huron-Wendat Nation and the evolution of my favorite sport, soccer. However, my experience with the History Honors Program stood out as the most memorable and rewarding. Writing my honors thesis allowed me to research any topic of my choice. As a result, I researched Black Swan Records, America’s first African-American owned record company. With the help of my advisor, Dr. Thornton, I transformed articles written in newspapers almost 100 years ago, into a paper exploring the politics of respectability during the 1920s. 

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how do you see your History major preparing you for that goal?

After graduation, I plan to attend Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies to work towards a M.A. in American Foreign Policy. Aside from History, I also majored in Political Science. Without a doubt, the History major taught me more than historical knowledge. History has helped me to improve my critical reading and thinking skills, both of which are necessary in all career fields. Beyond that, History has provided me with a perspective of the world to ensure, as the old saying goes, that history does not repeat itself.

What is your favorite time period to study?

The first three decades of the 20th century. This is mainly due to my interest in early American music, specifically in genres like the blues and country.

What are your favorite history spots in the Buffalo area?

As a kid, I always loved going out to Fort Niagara. They always have people demonstrating various duties of the soldiers stationed their throughout history. Beyond that, you cannot go wrong with visiting any of the buildings or sites designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or Frederick Olmsted.

If you could have dinner with one famous historical person, who would it be?

Hard choice, but I would have to pick Robert Johnson, the blues singer and guitarist from the 1930s. I would just have to find out if he really did sell his soul to the devil to learn the blues.