As a freshman, I originally applied to UB as a business major. During the summer after high school graduation, I began to have doubts regarding this choice and contacted an advisor to discuss my decision. I spoke with Janeen Wilder and she was immensely helpful. She was very informative and fully described the history program. During the fall semester of my freshman year, I took two different history courses before officially switching my major. The first course was an Introduction to American History. At first, I was dreading this experience because I thought it was going to be a repeat of my class in high school but I was wrong! Dr. Thornton taught the course in a social history perspective, which I had never learned or experienced before. This new learning experience sparked my interest and fueled my passion for history. I realized that I wanted to become a history major in order to pursue further learning. Throughout my four years as a history major, this teaching perspective seemed to be a common theme in all of my history courses, which always kept it exciting.
I find that it is a quite a challenge to decide my favorite history class! I thoroughly enjoyed the class "20th Century United States Political History" and the class "US 1920s and 1930s Research". Both of these classes were taught by Dr. Radford, who is now one of my advisors for my senior thesis. Throughout both of these classes, I learned that I was interested in researching political history in the United States. Also, the skills I learned, during the research course, has prepared me for the large research thesis that I will be completing this year about the opinions and legislative process of instituting the secret ballot in New York State. Dr. Radford and Dr. Thornton will both be advising me on my thesis, which is really exciting since I have been connected with them since the beginning of my history career.
Over the course of my four years at UB, there have been numerous, amazing opportunities that were available to me with help of the History Department. I have become an intern at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and will become a tour guide. I have gone on different field trips, such as a walking tour of Buffalo’s First Ward with the History Honor Society (Phi Alpha Theta). I also had the opportunity to take a history course in Spain called España y Europa: Origen y Evolución (Spain and Europe: Origin and Evolution.) This was a history course I was able to complete in Barcelona, Spain completely in Spanish, due to the generosity of the History Department. With the help of a generous scholarship, I was able to study abroad and take a history course, in a foreign country, in their native language. I was asked by my history professor, along with one of my closest history friends, to speak to two freshman history courses about studying abroad and getting involved on campus. Since my professor has come to know us outside the classroom, she knew we were heavily involved around campus and wanted us to share our amazing experiences with students new to UB. Even though UB is a large research-institution, I have never felt alone or lost in my program. I was able to develop life-long relationships with most of the students in my department, as well as, forge bonds with professors.
Next year, I am planning on going to graduate school to become an English as a Second Language teacher. Once I have obtained this degree, my end goal is to become an ESL History teacher in a high-school setting. Since I have had an opportunity to learn history in a foreign language, while in a foreign country, I feel confident that I can teach students new to America and in that same situation. I hope to assist them with their assimilation into our culture. I want to help make their educational experience a positive one and just maybe, even make it an exciting adventure for them.