Deshaies Runs for State Rep

It recently came to this blog’s attention that Brodie Deshaies ’21, a History-English double-major (and Philosophy minor), is running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives in District 6 of Carroll County. One Thing after Another could not resist asking Brodie some questions about his experiences.


Q: Why did you choose to attend Saint Anselm College?

A: I chose Saint Anselm College for two very practical, but also important, reasons: the campus looked aesthetically nice and the food was excellent. These were my top concerns when touring colleges around New England. Other things that really solidified my decision to go here were the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and the school’s RCIA program. I was actually already going through a process of conversion prior to my freshman year; attending Saint Anselm College allowed me to complete this process by becoming baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. I was previously agnostic.

Q: Originally, you were a Politics major. Now you’re a History and English double-major with a Philosophy minor. Why the change? What brought you to History and English?

A: I decided to drop the Politics major after my freshman year because the classes did not interest me. Nothing against the professors or anything, but I was not passionate about the subject matter. It would have been a terrible four years of college if I did not like what I was studying. I decided to become a History major because I was good at history courses in high school, and I had two AP credits that counted towards the major. I have always really enjoyed history, too, so it was a fitting change. I added an English major because of my EN105 professor freshman year, Kristin O’Brien, and my EN106 professor sophomore year, Ann Holbrook. Both of these professors made me passionate about writing. I enjoy literature, but I have always favored writing and communication. They feel like lost arts. The Philosophy minor was a spur of the moment thing. Second semester junior year, I realized I could fit two more philosophy courses into my schedule for senior year. I have really enjoyed all three philosophy courses I had taken thus far: Formal Logic and Mind and Cosmos, both with Professor Staley, and an ethics course with Professor Brown. Both my theology courses—one with Professor Pilarski and the other with Professor. McMahon—also drove me to my Philosophy minor. I am a strong believer that faith seeks understanding, and my Philosophy minor allows me to continue exploring the Catholic faith.

Q: When and why did you get interested in New Hampshire politics?

A: I became interested during the summer of 2016 because I needed a job, and Senator Kelly Ayotte was hiring. I come from a family with a fairly strong background in Massachusetts politics, but again, this choice was definitely inspired by practical motives. I needed money. My father and I became paid Field Representatives in southern Carroll County. I loved door-knocking and meeting with voters, and after Senator Ayotte lost, I got even more involved. I started going to local and county party meetings, helped local candidates with their campaigns, and ran for state delegate to the party convention in my hometown (Wolfeboro, NH). Eventually, I started getting paid for my work, and now I manage and consult for political campaigns.

Q: In an article that appeared in The Conway Daily Sun, you stated that “the biggest thing I think a representative should do is be an advocate for the people they represent.” What is Wolfeboro like, and what do its people need? What are the biggest problems confronting that part of New Hampshire?

A: Wolfeboro is the second-largest town by population in my county; it has around 6,400 people. It is a mixture of suburban and rural voters, and the average resident’s age is 58.5 years old (making us the second- or third-oldest community in New Hampshire). It suffices to say that we have a lot of retirees. Additionally, Wolfeboro is a resort town and a big summer destination for people all around the world (Wolfeboro is actually dubbed “The Oldest Summer Resort in America” and “The Jewel of Winnipesaukee). Our community is very dependent on tourism. Because of this, people in Wolfeboro demand a business-friendly climate. This means low taxes for individuals and small businesses and realistic regulations that will not overburden any small, local enterprises. Keeping and promoting this business-friendly climate also helps create more jobs and encourages young families to move into town.

The biggest issues affecting my part of New Hampshire is drug addiction, lack of job creation, and housing costs. In my opinion, all three of these issues are interconnected. Many people in New Hampshire struggle to find a well-paying job because they either live in an area lacking economic development or they lack the skills to do many of the technical jobs that already exist. This makes affording a home or place to live much harder, and the cost of housing in New Hampshire is already high. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, many turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to address the stresses and anxiety of life. The vice of choice tends to be opioids. Wolfeboro needs a state representative willing to fight for it down in Concord, someone who wants to help create a stronger economy and better job training programs, promote and incentivize private developers to build more housing, and someone who will work to combat the Opioid Crisis. These are all things I plan to do if I’m elected.

Q: Do you think that your studies in History and English have made you a better candidate?

Both majors have helped me become a better candidate. They will also help me be a better public servant. My History major has improved my analytical skills and my ability to solve problems. Additionally, it has furthered my knowledge of political systems and my understanding of politics. My English major has helped me better communicate with voters and future constituents. I have noticed you need strong writing skills for everything in life.

Q: What has the campaign trail been like so far, and what’s next?

A: The campaign trail has been fun but obviously busy. I am always working to get yard signs up and to raise funds. I constantly write letters in my local paper, the Granite State News. The next part is to execute and win the election. And after that, I am unsure. If I win I need to start writing some legislation.

Q: Do you plan to make a career of politics, or will your aspirations take you in a different direction?

A: I am unsure if I will ever make a career out of being a state representative, especially because you cannot do that in New Hampshire (they make $200 a term). However, I do see myself continuing to work on political campaigns (for now). I may even start a business with a fellow Saint Anselm College graduate. We will see. I try not to live too far in the future or in the past. I need to win an election first.

Lessard Labors at Literary Agencies

The History Department recently hired Madison Lessard ’22, a History and Theology double-major, as a department student assistant. The History faculty is very pleased to bring her aboard. Soon after she was hired, One Thing after Another learned that Lessard has some uncommon experiences, and this blog thought they were worth sharing.


Q: What brought you to Saint Anselm College, and why did you decide to become a History major?

A: This may sound like a bit of a college admissions cliché, but I came to Saint Anselm after I visited campus and it just “felt right.” Of all the schools I visited my senior year of high school, I felt far more comfortable and welcomed at Saint Anselm than at any other school. The Catholic, Benedictine environment here was also important to me.

I began my freshman year undeclared, but history had long been my favorite thing to learn since elementary school. History was always the subject I chose to spend extra time outside of school researching because it was interesting to me. After a little experimentation with majors, I finally declared my major in history in the second semester of my freshman year, and I couldn’t be happier with where I’ve wound up.

Q: We understand that you’ve been working for different literary agencies since you were 17. Why did you apply for that kind of job? How did you obtain that position at such a young age?

A: One of my oldest hobbies is writing. I’ve been a novelist for many years, and writing and attempting to publish fiction was how I first learned how the publishing industry works. I applied for my first literary internship because I was very interested in reading, editing, and understanding what happened “behind the scenes” in the publishing process. This was the summer before I became a senior in high school. I happened upon the first internship posting online and applied to it because I saw that it was remote and knew that remote publishing jobs don’t come around very often. I participated in an interview process which involved the sample edit of a manuscript, and I eventually learned that I’d gotten the position.

Q: Could you describe to us what you did at a typical day of work? What kind of books did you review? How have your responsibilities changed over the years?

A: I began my literary work as a “reader” or an assistant whose primary job was to review submissions. Literary agents represent writers and negotiate publishing contracts. To add new clients to their list, agents field unsolicited submissions from aspiring authors. My original job was to review these unsolicited submissions and make recommendations about whether my boss should represent them. I originally was responsible for reviewing fiction across a variety of genres. I worked for several agents over the course of two years, and my responsibilities expanded as I gained experience. I now have experience sorting through agents’ submission inboxes, gathering rights information for sales to publishers, and running agency social media. Presently, I’m the assistant to the president of a literary agency in New York City, and I’m set to be promoted again this fall to associate literary agent.

Q: What are the most important skills you’ve learned at this job? Have you learned anything else while working in this capacity?

A: The most important skill by far is the ability to read and evaluate text with a critical eye. Working in publishing means that it’s very important to keep in mind that what you are reading is a text prepared with the goal of being published. In other words, I have to be picky in going over submissions, and I’m often expected to make many notes and comments for writers. This has honed my editing skills and, in fact, improved my own writing quite a bit over the years. I’ve also been grateful to learn the various ins and outs of the industry in general. I will soon to be trained to negotiate book contracts.

Q: Do you plan to make a career of literary work? Or do you have other plans for the future?

A: To be completely honest, I am surprised, but grateful, that I have been able to progress so much in my literary work over these past few years. Because I went into the industry knowing it would be a rather difficult field to break into, I expected that it would take me much longer than it has to move up in position. When I started out at Saint Anselm, I hoped to make a career as an editor or something similar; this is one of the main reasons I sought out literary internships to begin with. My literary work deals mostly, though not entirely, with the fiction side of publishing, and as I’ve gone through college, I’ve become very fond of research and nonfiction writing as well. With this in mind, I most definitely plan to continue my literary work on my own time, but after college, I hope to attend graduate school and work towards a Ph.D. in history. My eventual goal is to conduct academic research and teach while continuing to participate in the publishing world, and hopefully publishing works of my own.

Bickford Interns at the Eisenhower National Historic Site

Emma Bickford ’22, a History-Marketing double-major in the Honors program, just completed a prestigious summer internship at the Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, PA. Although she had to carry out her duties remotely due to Covid-19, Bickford still learned a great deal this summer. One Thing after Another is always interested in the experiences of our students and had some questions to ask Bickford upon her return to Saint Anselm College.


Q: Even before you set foot on this campus, you were interested in pursuing a career in public history. What sparked this interest?

A: I became interested in public history when I visited Old Sturbridge Village in middle school. What drew me to the field is the way it makes history come alive by engaging us in stories of the past that stick with us long after we’ve left a museum or historic site. It’s a way of using history as a form of outreach that connects people with history to create a better present and future. I am fascinated with how museums and historic places inspire and educate people by showing them how they are part of a much bigger human story.

Q: How did you find out about the internship at the Eisenhower National Historic Site? What was the application process like?

A: After volunteering with the Boston National Historical Park at Faneuil Hall, I knew I wanted to work with the National Park Service again this summer because of the way they create meaningful connections between visitors and history. While researching different college internship opportunities through the National Park Service, I found the Interpretation Intern application for the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The application process consisted of a resume, cover letter, and two letters of recommendation. After I was selected to move on to the next steps of the application process, I completed a phone interview where I got to share more details about my experience, answer further questions, and learn about what the internship would look like if I was selected.

Q: Originally, before Covid-19 struck, what were your duties and projects supposed to be at this site?

A: Before my internship went remote due to Covid-19, I was originally supposed to live on site in Pennsylvania with other interns. I would have acted as a tour guide for the Eisenhower home and worked at the information desk at the site’s reception center. I would have also researched and presented any other interpretive programming I’d worked on during the summer. Finally, I was supposed to work on social media posts with the goal of connecting Eisenhower to people in the 21st century. The goal of the internship was to work with the Eisenhower staff to formulate interpretive programming that applied Eisenhower’s history to modern day conversations and experiences.

Q: How did your assignments change as a result of the pandemic?

A: My readjusted remote internship offered me the opportunity to learn more about writing for public history and how to engage a community online that is centered around history. I was invited to write two articles on any Eisenhower topic I chose; these will be posted on the park website. I wrote one article exploring the ways in which Eisenhower lived out the advice that he gave students during his commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 1953. My second article centered on how Jacqueline Cochran, a leader for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, helped inspire Eisenhower’s campaign for the White House. I also found photographs and researched information for Facebook and Instagram social media posts on various Eisenhower topics. The final aspect of my internship included using Adobe Acrobat to make oral histories more fully accessible for people with disabilities.

Q: What exactly are your career goals? How do you think this internship will prepare you to attain these goals?

A: After leaving Saint Anselm College, I hope to attend graduate school in Museum Studies so I can continue working towards my goal of becoming a Museum Director. This internship, combined with my double major (History and Marketing), has enhanced my understanding of public history as well as strengthened my social media skills. The whole experience has allowed me to see how social media can connect people with historic places and stories while also revealing the degree to which history can make an important contribution to modern conversations. I hope to bring both of these insights with me to graduate school and beyond.

Menice Maps Monasteries over the Summer

Katie Menice ’22, a History-Secondary Education double-major and Medieval Studies minor, received an Honors Summer Research Fellowship for 2020. One Thing after Another asked her about her research which had to do with Emperor Joseph II’s Secularization Decree (1782) which dissolved about a third of Austria’s monasteries.


Q: How did you become interested in Joseph II’s policy towards monasteries in late 18th-century Austria for the Honor’s summer research grant? 

A: I took Professor Pajakowski’s class on the Habsburg empire, and Joseph II stood out as a particularly interesting emperor with the number of reforms he implemented. I specifically chose his religious reforms for my project because I was interested in seeing the extent to which the Catholic Church was impacted by his work; the empire was a stronghold for the Catholic faith.

Q: What types of sources did you use for this project?  What challenges did you face doing the research for this project in light of Covid-19?

A: I mainly used Derek Beales’s book Prosperity and Plunder along with monastery websites to find the information I was looking for. In order to use ArcGIS (the mapping software), I made a spreadsheet organized by the different services (i.e., many monasteries operated parishes, hospitals, and schools). The spreadsheet below is the overview spreadsheet, which had all the monasteries I was researching along with the services they provided. Then the following sheets covered one individual service (e.g., parishes) and included only the monasteries that had that specific service. Originally my project was supposed to be a map of all suppressed monasteries under Joseph II. Sadly, due to Covid-19, I was unable to get the source material from Austria.

Q: Can you tell us about using ArcGIS (Geographic Information System) for your research and share some of the maps that you created for this project with us?

A: Using ArcGIS made my project more interesting because I wasn’t just compiling facts—I was also creating a map and looking at the spatial data. My favorite map, which is a bit nerdy to say, is the one that showed the parishes and churches built by the monasteries I researched during the time of Joseph II. I think it is very cool to see their placement and how the monasteries closer to Vienna created more parishes. The creation of new parishes had an impact on the monastic economy. However, creating these parishes was necessary to avoid suppression at the hands of the state. The problem was that the monasteries sacrificed their sense of community because of the monks being placed in the newly created parishes.

Another interesting map shows the resources of the three monasteries in my data sets that created the most parishes. These three monasteries were Melk, Klosterneuburg, and Gottweig. In the map the brown lines connect to Melk, the green lines to Klosterneuburg, and the teal lines to Gottweig. These monasteries are all within 50 miles of Vienna. Melk had an average distance of 42 miles between its services and the monastery, Klosterneuburg had an average distance of 34 miles, and Gottweig averaged at 17 miles. The average distance between monasteries and their services is about 21 miles. The map shows that monasteries had a wide range of influence with parishes even ranging more than 20 miles away from the monastery. And, these distances meant that monks working in the parishes or hospitals often lived more than a day’s walk from their home monastery and thus were not able to participate regularly in the communal live of the monastery. It would be cool to see how suppressions had an impact on the influence or services of monasteries and if there was any correlation, but my project did not have the data for it.

Q: What did you learn about Joseph’s policy towards monasteries from this project?  Did anything surprise you?

A: I learned that Joseph II had a very logical approach to suppressing monasteries. He assessed the finances of the monasteries and used the information he obtained to inform his suppressions. I think what surprised me the most was the number of monasteries Joseph II suppressed, which was 700.

Q: What was your experience doing research over the summer?  What skills did you develop?

A: It was a great experience to learn how to research a topic and be able to do so for two months. It definitely taught me time management and patience. It also introduced me to the research path of my major. While Covid-19 made it a bit difficult it was still really cool to research Joseph II more in depth.

A Message from the Chair of the History Department to Majors in the Class of 2020

Professor Dubrulle (lower right) poses with most of his suitemates shortly after they graduated from Pomona College.

Professor Hugh Dubrulle, chair of the History Department, sent the following message to the majors in that department who will graduate this year.


Dear History majors in the Class of 2020,

Every year at the senior dinner, the department chair makes a few remarks to the graduands majoring in History and American Studies. The chair usually issues a few pleasantries, tells the students how much the department will miss them, asks them to stay in touch, and reminds them that in the future the faculty stands ready to help them in any way possible. In other words, once a history major at Saint Anselm College, always a history major.

This year, of course, we’ve had to cancel the dinner in the same way that we’ve had to cancel so many other things. I realize that anything I write online is a poor substitute for a senior dinner where you can socialize with your favorite professors and fellow seniors. But I’d feel negligent if I didn’t issue a heartfelt farewell of some sort to the history majors from the Class of 2020.

Long ago, I received my BA in History from Pomona College. There are three things that every alum of that college shares: a mystical reverence for the number 47; a perverse pride in our mascot, Cecil Sagehen (alums frequently punctuate observations on social media with “Chirp! Chirp!”); and a clear recollection of the inscriptions on the college gates that flank North College Avenue. My attitude to each element of this triad varies. Frankly, I’ve grown tired of the “Mystery of 47” which is fatuous, and I die a little when yet another alum posts on the Facebook alumni page, “Hey, I was at the meat counter in the supermarket, and I got ticket number 47!” As for Cecil Sagehen, he’s certainly distinct if a bit ridiculous. Of the three, it’s the inscriptions on the gates that seem most worthy of attention (and by the way, these gates—surprise, surprise—are far smaller than the ones at Saint Anselm College).

One side of Pomona College’s gates at the intersection of North College Ave. and 6th St. (ca. 1930).

The gates were erected in 1914 when James A. Blaisdell was the college president, and he provided the text for the inscriptions. On one gate is written:

Let only the eager, thoughtful and reverent enter here.

On the other, the inscription reads:

They only are loyal to this college who departing bear their added riches in trust for mankind.

Years later, Blaisdell admitted to one of his successors that the first quote was “a trifle too prohibitive,” and that he should have left out the word “only.” That was a good insight. I know that when I first marched through the gates as an 18 year old (a rite of passage that all freshmen endure) I was certainly eager (perhaps in the wrong ways), moderately thoughtful on a good day, but not at all reverent. Blaisdell felt much less ambivalence about the second quote, claiming it was “exactly as I still would wish it.” It’s this latter inscription that I’d like you to keep in mind.

I know I speak for every professor in the History Department when I write that, at some point, we made a pledge to study history. Perhaps our attraction to the discipline began because we found it entertaining and engaging. But as we got older, we began to see that history is interesting. When I write “interesting,” I use it in the same sense as John Robert Seeley, author of The Expansion of England (1883), perhaps the most influential history book written in English during the 19th century. When he employed that word, Seeley did not signify “romantic, poetical, and surprising.” Instead, he meant something that “affects our interests, which closely concerns us and is deeply important to us.” History, he intimated, provides special insights into the past, the present, and the relationship between the two.

History is truly interesting because it helps us recognize the degree to which we are surrounded and thus limited by the past. As the text on the department website asserts (and we must thank Professor Pajakowski for these lines), “We live in the shadow of the thoughts and actions of those who lived before us. To ignore this legacy is to live a sort of collective amnesia.” However, studying history also includes realizing that we are not imprisoned by the acts of previous generations; by studying past societies we can understand values that differ from our own and imagine alternatives to the world in which we live. This immersion in the experiences of the past (as well as the methods we use to interpret that past) enhances one’s judgment of people, places, and things today.

Having made our pledge, it was with these riches that we left college and later graduate school. We thought they were so important that we decided to become academic historians and devoted our professional lives to sharing them with others. You must have found history significant because you also devoted much of your time here over four years to this discipline. Now that you are graduating, we ask you to do as we did—to bear your added riches as a trust for the people you will serve in your own careers.

If you majored in Secondary Education and are bound for a job teaching history in high school, this responsibility should be fairly clear. But even if you are not going to be a teacher, there are still important ways you can bear this trust in service to your country, your work, and your community.

The foregoing probably sounds portentous. After all, I’ve taken my keynote from an inscription that appears on a gate, and such inscriptions are invariably solemn and pompous. And I’ve made the study of history sound like a sacred inheritance passed from one generation to the next (which, if you were paying attention in some of my classes, will remind you of Edmund Burke’s arguments in Reflections on the Revolution in France). Still, the ideas expressed in Blaisdell’s quote are no less true for all that.

After all, take a look around you. Is the world doing so well these days that it has no need of the historical understanding as well as the analytical and expository skills you obtained in college? Can it really dispense with the riches you acquired during your four years?

Although the department chair repeats the following sentiments every year at the senior dinner, they are still sincere. The department will miss you, and we ask that you stay in touch. We will always be happy to hear from you. If you drop by, even in the midst of a busy day, we will make time to speak to you because it gives us joy. If you need references or any other assistance, do not hesitate to call on us because we are happy to help. After all, we share a common understanding that history, as Seeley put it, is interesting; we are all in this together.

Best wishes,

HD

Senior Profile–Tyler V.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors.

Tyler

Today’s featured student is Tyler V. from Pelham, New Hampshire. Tyler is a History Major with Minors in Political Theory and German.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Hiking, Camping, most things outdoor, Reading, watching sports (specifically hockey)

Why did you become a history major?
I was always interested in history for as long as I remember, which I owe to Grandparents and Great-grandparents who told stories about family history and brought me to museums. One of my earliest memories is going to the USS Constitution with my Great-Grandparents. These events really inspired me to read almost anything history. Studying history in college, then, only seemed natural.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
Jerzy Andrzejewski’s Ashes and Diamonds from Eastern Europe in the 20th Century. Although fictitious, the book painted a powerful picture of communist Poland in the aftermath of WWII.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
There are numerous memories I have, ranging from memorable Paj-isms to works of Soviet art such as Pass me a Brick. Reading about the South Pacific during the post-World War II and early Cold War era for my research project was also memorable due to the strange stories arising from a confusing political situation. For example, the British, Americans, and Australians teamed up with the Imperial Japanese Army in Indonesia to restore Dutch rule.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
David Livingstone. I hadn’t heard of him before Prof. Dubrulle’s British Empire course. I found his story intriguing because he was for the most part unremarkable and a failure until he decided to just become an explorer, which he turned out to be rather good at.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
This is a tough question. I frankly enjoy more modern things like plumbing, effective medicine, and not being a peasant so that rules out a lot of periods. Though I would be intrigued to witness the North America frontiers, the Plains/Prairies region of the US and Canada or perhaps even Alaska/Yukon, during the latter half of the 19th century. The frontier was viewed as an integral part of North America identity so just seeing what it actually was like would be interesting. I would also get to see a lot of the natural, albeit sometimes dangerous, beauty of the west before widespread settlement.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
With the uncertainty around the goal is to simply find a job and grow my skillset. Right now I am leaning towards a career in the public sector, but that might change as I work or as the world changes.

Senior Profile–Bobby H.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors.

Bobby

Today’s featured student is Bobby H. from Manchester, New Hampshire. Bobby is a History and German double major.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Watching sports, playing video games, exercising.

Why did you become a history major?
I’ve always been interested in it and I excelled in the subject matter in high school. One of the main reasons I became a history major was because I wanted to go to law school, and history is one of the recommended majors. They also recommend a second language, hence German.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
One books that stands out to me is Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder. I just found it to be a really compelling read. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century are kind of my thing, so this book was mesh of the two most famous of those regimes.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
One fond memory I have as a history major is presenting my thesis. I was really nervous before hand, but it went perfectly. That’s something that happens whenever I present: I’m always nervous, but I quickly turn on “playoff mode” and usually do well.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
My favorite figure that I learned about was Otto von Bismarck. I think it’s cool that one man through the machinations of planning basically founded and ran the German Empire for the time he was in charge as chancellor.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
If I could live in a time and place, I would choose late Wilhelmine Germany (1890-1914), just before things went really bad.  I think I like imperial Germany so much because all things considered, it was a pretty successful state.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
I actually accepted a job today to work at RiverStone Resources, a reinsurance company in Manchester.  I’ve interned there for four years, and it’s a great opportunity. Reinsurance companies do great in times of economic hardship, so I am set. Long term though, I plan to attend law school.

Senior Profile–Brendan D.

Today’s featured student is Brendan D. from Waltham, Massachusetts. Brendan is a History Major and Philosophy Minor.

Brendan

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Street hockey, rollerblading, listening to music, trying to become fluent in French (emphasis on trying).

Why did you become a history major?
Though I came in undeclared, I had always had a passion for history. After poking around a few core curriculum classes, it was obvious to me that I had to continue studying what I cared about.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
I had one book from American Women’s History with Professor Salerno called The Myth of Seneca Falls, by Lisa Tetrault. Not only did the book try to correct one of my biggest misconceptions regarding women’s history, but we actually had the author come into class to expand more on her research and ideas. It was an awesome experience and a great book.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
I’ll always remember when Professor Dubrulle won the teacher of the year award at Commencement last year. I was serving as a marshal, so I had a great seat. It made me feel really proud to be part of the department and I think it was an award that reflected everyone’s hard work very well.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
The most intriguing historical figure that I learned about was Stokely Carmichael. I had hardly known about his impact on the Civil Rights Movement and was increasingly interested in his doings the more I heard about him.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
Easily the 1960s. I would love the chance to see the Kennedy era (Jack and Bobby) unfold before my very eyes.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
I’m hoping to use my experience from my time on the Hilltop to either get involved in college Admissions or work my way into the non-profit sphere of work!

Senior Profile–Anthony G.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors. 

Anthony

Today’s featured student is Anthony G. from Reading, Massachusetts. Anthony is a History and Secondary Education double major.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
Running.

Why did you become a history major?
For as long as I can remember I have had a love for history. Some of my fondest childhood memories were going to bookstores or the public library with my parents to sift through the shelves, reading about all the fascinating events and people of our past. Before I even stepped foot in a history class my interest in the subject was alive and well, so choosing that as a major was a no-brainer.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
The last history course I took at Saint Anselm, History of New England with Professor Salerno, had a required book titled “Images of New England” by Joseph Conforti. This book did a tremendous job of identifying and elaborating upon the imagery of this region, things that I had previously only taken at face-value. I now think back to this book and class when I drive by an old New England stone wall or Congregational Church by a town green and appreciate the historical context.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
When they brought a cotton candy machine onto campus during the spring of my sophomore year, Professor Pajakowski along with the rest of my Modern Germany class indulged in some as Pajakowski continued to lecture as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
Walter Gropius, who founded the Bauhaus school of architecture. It was fascinating to learn that this style of architecture, developed just after World War I, had such a large impact on the style of skyscrapers that we see in major American cities today.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
Timbuktu during the height of the Songhai Empire (studied in Understanding Jihad in West Africa with Professor Hardin). The city became a bustling crossroads of culture, education, and commerce and would have been fascinating to witness.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
I hope to teach high school social studies after graduating and receiving my teaching certification. I have had a great student teaching experience and know I will carry the great experiences and information provided by the Saint Anselm history department into wherever my career takes me.

Senior Profile–Nick M.

The class of 2020 is having an unusual final semester, to say the least. While it is no replacement for a graduation ceremony, we thought it would be nice to have a little feature for each of our graduating seniors. 

Nick

Today’s featured student is Nick Meissner from Seabrook, New Hampshire. Nick is a History and International Relations double major.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
I enjoy going on hikes, working out at the gym, running, traveling, reading, cooking breakfast, and playing the piano.

Why did you become a history major?
I have always been interested in history since high school. My favorite aspect about history as an academic study is the diversity of it; you could be studying a specific year in a specific country and realize how many other events occurred that same time elsewhere – or perhaps how one event can lead to many others. There’s never a limit to what you can learn in history.

What is one book from a history class that will stick with you?
One book that I will always remember is To Live by Yu Hua. I read it for Modern China with Professor Masur. It is a historical fiction novel about the life of a farmer named Fugui from China. He and his family experienced dramatic changes among themselves throughout the twentieth century including the Communist takeover in 1949, the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, and the Cultural Revolution in 1960s. The son of a landlord who lost it all, Fugui ended up an honest and caring peasant. Despite all the pain and hardship he endured, Fugui harbors no sense of “resistance” in his mind since he lives simply to live.

What is a fond memory you will have about your time as a history major?
A fond memory I have as a history major is when I presented my thesis in Fall 2019. After devoting months researching my topic and writing out a long essay about it, nothing felt more rewarding as I shared my most important findings to an audience at the student center. My thesis topic was the United States’ involvement in the counterinsurgencies during the Guatemalan Civil War in the 1960s.

Who was the most interesting or intriguing historical figure that you learned about while at Saint Anselm?
Perhaps the most intriguing historical figure I learned about – and that I didn’t know already – would be Hong Xiuquan (1814-64). We learned about Hong both in Modern China and Asian Civilizations. He was the messianic leader of the Taiping Rebellion in southern China who believed himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ and who designed a pseudo-Christian religion with Chinese trappings. What made him stand out for me was how close the Taiping rebels were in overthrowing one of the world’s most powerful imperial dynasties. What is noteworthy about Hong’s story is, after the Taiping’s defeat by the Qing Dynasty, the emperor had most records about him and his movement destroyed. As a result, there isn’t a lot of contemporary information about the man who nearly reversed centuries of imperial rule.

If you could live in a time and place that you studied, what would it be?
I would live in Meiji Japan during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. It would have been eye-opening to witness the rapid industrialization and Western-styled modernization that transformed Japan from a series of feudal domains to a centralized parliamentary state recognized by the rest of the world. Moreover, one would have certainly viewed the growth of Japan’s empire that made it the first outside Europe to do so.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
My plan is to attend graduate school for Foreign Policy next spring, and in the meantime find a part-time job teaching nearby as specialist in history.