Alumni News

Alumni Spotlight | Peter Sufrin

Peter Sufrin.

Where are you from and how did you end up at UB?

I grew up in the Buffalo area, particularly in Snyder, and UB seemed like the best and most logical choice, as it was close to home. I was fortunate that I could stay in the area, and have a chance to hit local spots like Duff’s, Wegman’s and Tim Horton’s. Study at UB also facilitated my local travel, and I was able to get to the Amherst Campus quickly, to use the library at Capen Hall, and Lockwood as well.

What initially motivated you to pursue a degree in history? How do you feel these motivations continue to inform you today?

I chose to major in History because I always had an interest in liberal arts, and the background and cultures of nations around the world. I chose my courses accordingly: primarily European and American history helped my gain an understanding of the traditions of the prominent countries. Today, I use this precedent in my work in foreign affairs, and my history training has given me a basis on which to evaluate current events and international trends.

What do you feel was the most valuable experience for you at UB?

The most valuable experience at UB for me was definitely the academics. I took courses not only in History, but in Literature, Art, Science, Business and Public Speaking, to name a few. With the opportunity to explore a wide variety of coursework, I was able to focus on and define my primary interest, which blossomed into my major in History. Through my liberal arts experience, I crafted an academic program suitable to my aspirations as a liberal arts student and scholar.

Do you have any stories that stand out for you from your time at UB, or from your time in the department? Favorite faculty members or classes, etc.?

My most memorable courses at UB were, again, in the liberal arts. Classes with History Professor James Bono on the cultural history of science and medicine, and Comparative Literature Instructor Gerard Boucher were my favorites. Both professors were excellent, and significantly broadened my intellectual horizons. By examining both early modern science and the origins of poetic language, I gained a valuable perspective on European and American culture which supplemented my historical knowledge.

Could you tell us about your career trajectory after you left UB? What role do you believe your history studies played in your career?

My history studies at UB did indeed, play a valuable role in my career trajectory. Though I initially started out in Business and Finance, I found that I was more attracted to academics. I now have master’s degrees in History, International Relations, and Portuguese respectively, and I’m currently working with a Think Tank in Washington, D.C., with a specialization on contemporary Brazilian Foreign Affairs. With my History major at UB, I was able to reinforce and define my skills as a researcher and writer, and today, I carry with me the skills by which to evaluate in-depth scholarship in both English and Portuguese. I attribute this proficiency to the liberal arts background that started in the History Department at UB.

Do you have any news?

Have you traveled? Presented at a conference? Been published? Gotten a new job? Received a grant? We want to know!


Alumni Updates

Addison Arnold, BA ’19, is currently serving as a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer in Hood River, Oregon. As the Museum Outreach Coordinator for the local history museum, Arnold interviews members of the Latinx community in the area to preserve their stories and document the process by which these relative newcomers have integrated with longer-standing community members.

Our alumni have also been hired for exciting jobs! Tommy Buttaccio, MA ’16, was hired as Children’s Technology Librarian at Jerome Park Library in the Bronx. Rachel Eshenour was appointed to the Board of Directors for Contingent Magazine. Betsy Loren Plumb, class of 2017, found placement as an academic administrator in the Department of African and African American Studies Department at Brandeis University.

David Strittmatter, PhD ’18, published, “The Evolving Rhetoric of Peterlo, 1819- 1919,” in Labour History Review.

Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, PhD ’05, was awarded the Ann Firor Scott Mid-Career Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians. She was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for her research on Mary Willing Byrd, one of the few women plantation owners in early America.

Paul Zwirecki, PhD ’14, was hired as the Organization of American Historians’ Public History Manager. Multiple other alumni are working as professors in universities across America.

Give to the Department of History

Thank you for your support of the Department of History! With gifts from alumni and friends, we can access crucial resources to enhance our department and provide support for students, research projects and new programs.

In recent years, thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to renovate our teaching spaces and support our students with scholarships. Can you help us make sure the Department of History remains vibrant and vital? Make a gift online today: