Weybrew: Communication is a Basic History Skill

Lauren Weybrew

Lauren Weybrew ’08 graduated as a History major but ended up working for a communications firm in New York. As Lauren’s experience demonstrates, many people assume that a history degree automatically leads to teaching. Yet as her experience also demonstrates, such is not the case. Indeed, only 20% of the department’s alums end up teaching at one point or another. One Thing after Another asked Lauren about her job and how it related to her training in history.

Q: What made you decide to be a history major?

A: Growing up, I was the girl who was more than happy to spend family vacations wandering around Mt. Vernon and Hyde Park, so it was not surprising that I ended up majoring in history. My one hesitation about the major was the fact that everyone assumed I’d go on to be a teacher or go to law school. I didn’t have the patience or desire to work with children or go back to school–but I felt that there was more I could do with a history degree.

Q: How did you get into the field of communication?

A: After an internship in the Office of Communications and Marketing at Saint Anselm College, I knew that my next step would be a move to New York City to work in the communications field. I felt really well prepared with my degree and ready for my next step.

Fast forward almost six years later, and I’m an associate at a strategic communications firm in New York City that works exclusively with nonprofits and foundations. We help nonprofits of all sizes plan and execute communications strategies to achieve their goals and move their missions. I feel very fulfilled in my work, and it is my ‘dream job’–as corny as that sounds.

Q: Some students might think you need a Communication degree for your type of job.  How did a history major prepare you?

A: I am consistently and happily surprised by how well my history degree prepared me for my career. A large part of what I do requires digesting dense, technical information (medical information, legal information, etc.) and repackaging it into easy-to-read, engaging content for a wide variety of audiences. All of the reading and processing I did in college prepared me for this in a way I didn’t expect. Plus, all of the writing helped a great deal as well!

Some of the other skills honed by my history degree include the ability to be a strategic thinker and look at the entire scope of a project or campaign, rather than just one event or one tactic.

I think back to my history classes all the time, especially as I see something on the news or come across a topic in my work that relates to something I learned while at Saint Anselm College. I have a background level of knowledge on so many key issues thanks to my history classes, and it’s a great feeling. Looking back, some of my favorite classes included Professor Moore’s reading seminar on Jimmy Carter, Professor Pajakowski’s Crime and Punishment in Europe class, and Professor Dubrulle’s absolutely epic World War II course.

Q: If you could give history majors a piece of advice, what would it be?

A: I would tell them to think outside the box–don’t feel that you have to get an MA or be a teacher. History provides such flexibility and so many skills that are an asset to any career path–communications included!

 

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