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History Department Recognized for Career Diversity

Monday, June 26, 2017

St. John’s University’s doctoral program in World History was recognized by the American Historical Association (AHA) as part of its Career Diversity for Historians initiative. Four faculty members from SJU: Associate Professor and History Graduate Director Nerina Rustomji, Ph.D.; Professor and Chair Dolores Augustine, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Lara Vapnek, Ph.D.; and Associate Professor Kristin Szylvian, Ph.D. will join faculty members from 36 other history departments around the United States to discuss emerging models for preparing doctoral students for a diverse range of careers  and to share resources for integrating career diversity into graduate curricula.

The AHA is the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and all professions. Founded in 1884, the AHA has become a trusted voice for history education, the professional work of historians, and the critical role of historical thinking in public life.

The SJU faculty attend three meetings as part of the initiative: a Summer Faculty Institute in Arlington, VA from June 8-9, 2017; a fall workshop in Chicago from October 19-20, 2017; and multiple sessions during the associations' annual meeting in Washington, D.C. from January 4-7, 2018. During this last session, they’ll draft a proposal for the AHA’s Career Diversity for Historians Departmental Grant, which would fund an SJU graduate student as a Career Diversity fellow and provide funds to the department for improving its curriculum, strengthening alumni connections, and building alliances with New York City cultural institutions that would help with the job placement of graduate students.

Students in the Ph.D. World History program will be rotating through internships in libraries and archives, parks and heritage tourism, publishing, secondary and post-secondary education, museums and galleries, and non-profit organizations. The rotations allow students to practice history in the community and gain valuable professional experience.

One of the presenters at the Summer Faculty Institute was public historian Stephen A. Aron, Ph.D., the 2015 Peter P. and Margaret A. D’Angelo Endowed Chair in the Humanities at St. John’s and current chair of the History department of University of California in Los Angeles.

“It’s all about creating more job opportunities for history graduates,” said Rustomji. “Fortunately, our doctoral program already has an internship component built in to the curriculum, which sets us apart from many other schools.”