Alumni Corner

Welcome! The Alumni Corner is a new initiative to help keep alumni connected to our federated history community.  Alumni will be featured here, and in our e-newsletters.  Over time, we hope that this webpage will become a hub where history graduates can get in touch with old friends and classmates, share stories and memories, and connect on common interests. At the very least, it will be an excellent way to advertise yourself!

To be featured, click here to complete the Undergraduate (Major/Minor) or Graduate (M.A./M.A.T.) questionnaire.



Ryan Sandor (MAT, American)
Social Studies Teacher

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The professors came from a wide range of backgrounds and interests, which diversified my understanding of history and historical narratives.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?
A: The training I received through the graduate program prepared me to go into classrooms with more than just content knowledge, but a firm grasp of historical narratives and historiographies. This method melded well with more critical pedagogies of teaching history. Interrogating the way history is shaped and told is becoming just as valuable of a skill as the “established” necessary content knowledge.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: Don’t be afraid to air out ideas. From my experience, this history department really treats you as a contributor to the program/course, not just a student. In this respect, you are given the ability to put your voice out there to get feedback from professors and, just as important, other talented students.

Q:What courses best helped you prepare for your Master’s thesis/essay?
A: My Master’s project was a US History II curriculum, and the course that influenced me the most in thinking about the course was a crossover with the American Studies Program, “Modern/Post-Modern.” The timelines overlapped with a typical US History II course, but different histories were drawn in to provide a more holistic experience of the time periods. We used art, literature, and academic histories to trace the usage and instances of the  “modern” and “post-modern” American society.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
Challenging and enlightening.



Rabeya Rahman (M.A., American)
Department Administrator, Honors Living-Learning Community, RU-N

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The program is designed to be flexible without losing the core components. As a result, the program adapted to me. After completing the recommended coursework, I began to pursue external opportunities that complemented my interests. The program structure, staff, and faculty encouraged such pursuits and allowed me to create my own secondary concentration with ease. My experience would not have been as complete without that flexibility.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: I perceived the program to be very adaptable to a student’s individualistic needs. Students without the proper background or have interests that do not conform to a known category are welcomed in the program and are assisted, supported, and encouraged. All students leave the program having been educated as historians, but most importantly, without having to sacrifice their interests, academically or professionally.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: I received a unique opportunity to become part of the staff for the history department, in which I helped the professors that once helped me and positively guided other graduate students through the program. During the program and after, I had the most fortunate opportunity to work with staff and faculty that portrayed the professionalism I hope to emulate in both my professional and academic careers.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: Take advantage of your resources. This includes your professors, who are there to serve as mentors or advisors as you create your presence in the program; your campus, because the opportunities only increase when you get involved; and lastly, your peers, to help you through the struggles and achievements of the program, and perhaps, become friends along the journey.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?
A: I would recommend the program in its entirety. The people are supportive, approachable, and knowledgeable about their field, while the coursework will hone your writing and research skills. Academically or professionally, the program will prepare you.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
Truly, a life-changing opportunity.



Matthew Rozsa
(M.A., American)

Writer and Editor at Salon, Ph.D. student in history
Featured article

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The professors here are second to none in terms of expertise and friendliness. It is a program where you are surrounded by top-notch scholars yet also feel like you’re part of a family.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: It provided me with tools that I continue to use every day in my work as a writer and doctoral scholar.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: Take notes. Seriously. If you have notes on everything, the rest is a cake walk.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master’s thesis/essay?
A: I followed my own passion (in this case, presidential history) and found ways of intersecting it with the interests of my professors and colleagues.



Stephanie Jones-Rogers (M.A., American)
Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: As a person with a BA in psychology I lacked the skills necessary to engage with historical materials, conduct research, and to be an exceptional historian. My RU-N MA coursework prepared me to hit the ground running when I entered a doctoral program.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The stellar faculty and quality/variety of course offerings.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: I worked full time while completing the MA program, something that evening course offerings allowed me to do. But it was my constant engagement with faculty and fellow students which convinced me that I wanted to pursue my doctoral degree in history and if possible, become a professor.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?
A: I had the pleasure of working with extraordinary and supportive faculty who exemplified the kind of scholar I hoped to become. They pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged me to think beyond the obvious, and in the most supportive ways, helped me to deal with critiques in a constructive way. I have since drawn upon their pedagogical models as I’ve crafted my own courses and revisited many of the materials we covered in class. In word and deed the RU-N faculty served as models worthy of emulation.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: I initially applied, unsuccessfully, to PhD programs and initially I considered the MA program to be a “worst case scenario” because I aimed higher. But I soon came to realize that the MA program was equally rigorous and demanding in ways that prepared me for the kind of work I’d be expected to complete in the PhD program. So I would advise those students who are entering the MA program after not being admitted to the PhD program of their choice to recognize the exceptional quality of the MA program, and to realize that upon graduation, you will be a better scholar that you were when you entered, you will be in a more optimal position to gain acceptance into your PhD program of choice, and you may ultimately secure the
academic position of your dreams, which is precisely what happened to me.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
The RU-N History Department offers rigorous training and preparation for doctoral programs.



Ariel Natalo-Lifton 2014 (M.A., American)
Ph.D. student at Temple University

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The people – my cohort, the professors, and the staff. 

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Again, the people – my cohort, the professors, and the staff.

Q: How did your experience in the Master's program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: RU-Newark helped me gain the confidence I needed to continue my academic career.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?
A: All of the research seminars.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate stduents?
A: Participate in every event you can! Make connections – you never know who can help you later.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?
A: Again, the people – the professors and the staff.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Fun, Educational, Important"



Melissa Geddis 2015 (M.A., American, HisTEMH)
Ph.D. student at George Washington University

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I really enjoyed the sense of comradery that developed among my classmates. The program is on the smaller side so of course the classes are as well. We (my friends and I) came into the program as strangers, but through this shared experience, we became a family of sorts. While I don’t have the chance to see them as frequently as I once did, we still make it a point to stay in contact and reconvene every year at the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series. 

Another thing I liked about this program is that while the faculty is comprised of amazing scholars, they’re also good people who genuinely care about their students’ overall wellbeing as well as academic performance. I definitely grew as much personally as academically while at Rutgers.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: There are too many to name one as the greatest, but towards the top is definitely that fact that the program does an excellent job of preparing students for careers both in and outside an academic setting. The faculty and staff are really great with offering career advice and passing along different professional development opportunities.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?
A: The two research seminars I took definitely provided the most preparation in terms of hands on primary source research and original analysis. They helped me develop a strategy for conducting and organizing my research, while also honing my writing and editing skills.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate stduents?
A: Make the best of the opportunities in front of you. Utilize the resources provided by the university and surrounding area (i.e. Newark Public Library, NYPL, etc.), and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your faculty, classmates, or staff.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Best decision ever!"



Gene Smith 2014 (M.A., American)
Adjunct Professor

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I think that the Professors in the department care about your development and that they go out of their way to help you.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Sometimes the focus of academia is on research and publishing, and the desire to be a competent teacher gets overlooked. I found that my instructors at RU Newark were both, experienced academics and excellent teachers who were able to help bring you to the next level in your education and skill development.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: The training and experience that I've had here at Rutgers has helped to prepare me for being in a PhD program. I've learned from everyone one of the teachers that I've worked with; they all have unique talents and abilities that are worth emulating.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?
A: I recommend the program to people all the time. If they are looking to expand their horizons, develop their intellectual skills and want to be at a place where the people care about you and what they are doing, then the RU Newark History M. A. program is the place to go!

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Rewarding, Transformative, Lasting"



Dennis Reinhartz 1966 & 1967 (B.A., M.A.)
Emeritus Professor of History, The University of Texas at Arlington

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Professors, diversity of subject matter, class sizes.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Professors as role models.

Q: How did your experience as a history major/minor influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: Went on for my PhD and became an historian.

Q: What aspect of your training in history has been a benefit to you personally or professionally?
A: Research and writing skills.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for graduate work or professional work?
A: Russian history, German history, non-Western civilizations, historiography.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Interesting, Professional, and Welcoming"



Maggie Tchorzewska 2015 (B.A., History Major)

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Everything about the program is great. During my time as an undergraduate, I especially valued the welcoming and supportive spirit of the department- the entire staff as well as the professors. There was always someone who was ready to offer a helping hand, whether in composing a paper, setting up a schedule of classes, or in organizing research for a Senior Thesis project.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Aside from the caring environment shaped by everyone involved within the program, another strength was definitely the variety of the courses offered by the department.

Q: How did your experience as a history major/minor influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: I always had much interest in the subject of History. To me, studying the past and its relation to all of us is fascinating as there is always a new and unique element of history that one can delve into and explore. As an undergrad, I had the opportunity to transform into a historian myself whenever I sat down in any one of my history classes and that was one of the most memorable moments of my college career. I want to continue my education and further expand my historical knowledge. Studying history made me realize that it is within the sphere of history that I want to continue to grow, develop, and hopefully in the future, make my addition to historical research by way of my own findings.

Q: What aspect of your training in history has been a benefit to you personally or professionally?
A: My writing and reading skills have evolved tremendously as a result of being exposed to numerous historical sources; this is an advantage as these particular skills are ones that I utilize in everyday life. Examining and analyzing the historical past has also taught me how to uncover the connections between what has been, what is, and what will be.

Q: Do you have any advice for current history majors/minors? For the Department?
A: All of the difficulties and obstacles that you will encounter as a history student will be worth it because it is through struggle that you learn and achieve the most. So immerse yourself in all that is history, read and examine the past. Do not be afraid to take classes that will challenge you because I can guarantee you, those will enlighten you most.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for graduate work or professional work?
A: All of the history courses that I have taken were special in their own way. History of Islamic Civilization with Professor Varlik helped me learn about important ideas of the Islamic world. In current times, when Islam is often attacked by those who fail to understand it, I am truly grateful to have learned all that I did in this course. When people reject education they prevent themselves from obtaining vital information and in turn, stun their own intellectual development. Perspectives in History with Professor Giloi was another valuable course because it trained me to think like a historian. The Research Seminars with Professor Strub were ultimately the courses which offered a look into the experience of a graduate student. Through my experience as a history student, I was able to find connections between my Perspectives in History course and my Research Seminars which essentially helped me create my own research topic. Being able to understand points of view and concepts that differ from one's own ideas is essential to studying history and all these courses have shown me that, essentially helping to prepare me for my future role as a graduate student.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?
A: I recommend everything about the History program. I admire the incredibly enthusiastic staff and all the knowledgeable professors for their commitment to inspire and encourage each student to experience a personal growth by forming their own connections to history; Christina Strasburger is a terrific administrator but more importantly a truly wonderful person who makes everything possible. I admire professors Varlik, Giloi, and Strub as they each passionately represent the qualities of true historians. The program takes care of its students and helps mold them into individuals who continue to engage themselves in learning even after they are out of school.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Comprehensive, Rich, Illuminating"

However, I think that the following phrase can best describe my experience with the History program and what I took away from it:

"When you familiarize yourself with the historical past, you gift yourself with the strength and skill to extend a helping hand in order to change and mend the present world and thus, help make better and enrich the times which are yet to come."



Laura Martin 2014 (M.A., American)
Social Studies Teacher

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I loved the program’s flexibility. When I began my studies at Rutgers-Newark, I had just begun my professional foray into the world of K-12 education. I needed a program that would permit me to complete the degree at my own pace, accommodate my schedule as a working commuter student, and allow me to design a curriculum that matched my personal and professional interests. The Graduate History Program at RU-N fit the bill on all three counts.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The greatest strength of the program is, without a doubt, the dedicated faculty and staff who work tirelessly to meet the needs of their diverse student body. The faculty are incredibly knowledgeable and accessible, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with historians who challenged me to think deeper, search further, and question constantly. The staff are also so supportive - I can’t thank them enough for their help in navigating the program’s requirements.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional expierence?
A: As a middle school social studies teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to integrate my training with my instructional practices. I feel that I have become fairly adept in recent years at pushing my students to consider events from multiple perspectives, at asking them to search for answers to ‘essential’ historical questions, and at encouraging them to interrogate the contents of our curriculum. I also find myself stressing skills that are important to historical scholarship - critical reading, research, and writing.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: First, I would advise current graduate students to speak up! Engage in classroom conversations. Talk to faculty. Meet with other students to discuss your work. Participate in the historical community. You will learn so much from your interactions with others. Second, and on a related note, seek out help when you need it. Graduate level work can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to balance your academic pursuits with other demands. The faculty and staff are there to assist you - avail yourself of their services.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Engaging, enriching, encouraging"



Lacey Hunter 2008 (M.A., American)
Adjunct Instructor - African American and African Studies & Early African American History Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I most enjoyed the course offerings here. Each semester provided enough diversity of selection that I was forced to read, write and think outside of my typical areas of concentration. By the time I completed my degree I found that I had greatly complemented my sense of American history.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The greatest strength of the M.A. History program here at Rutgers Newark is the sense of community you build with your professors and colleagues/classmates. Here, I found that my professors pushed and challenged me, while my classmates encouraged me. I also really appreciated the balance my professors worked to maintain between foundational historical texts and newer additions to the many questions and debates that shaped the field.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional expierence?
A: The most impactful part of my training here was learning to engage the community surrounding our campus as I crafted my work. Often students and researchers spend most of their time in libraries and study rooms. Here, the history, culture, and communities in Newark offer many possibilities for new projects, and plenty of opportunities to complement the research you begin in your classrooms.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?    
A: I recommend taking at least one HisTEMH course here. I took three during my time at RU-Newark and they changed the way I view each of the cross sections of my field. I would also recommend taking one public history course here. For me, these courses were helpful in developing my writing and the interests I’ve pursued in my career and my doctoral program.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Dynamic, Challenging, and Enriching!"



Shereen Ramadan 2014 (M.A., American)
Adjunct Instructor - History/Content Specialist

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The history classes in the program were consistently engaging and thought provoking. In addition, the degree of flexibility in the program and accessibility of the professors is unparalleled. The professors have thoroughly mastered their respective disciplines, and engaged the students at every opportunity. The structure of the program and competency of the professors makes this a perfect program for the working professional.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The small class sizes and individual attention from the faculty is certainly one of the greatest strengths of the program.  These two factors allowed me to engage with theory, methods, and historical content. The unique thematic fields gave me tremendous preparation for comparative historical analysis as well as for teaching Western Civilization and US History survey courses.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: The Master’s program in history has been an influential force in my life. Although difficult, the challenges I faced taught me more than anything I could obtain by reading a textbook. History has become more than just a series of events chronologically presented in a number of books, but has instead become a way to learn the significance of change over time. Rutgers Federated History department has allowed me to improve my analytical abilities and writing skills by challenging my capability to ask better questions and look past the obvious. My professors have demonstrated the importance of doing more than just summarizing an event, but to dig further and question the historical significance of any event. I have always felt comfortable approaching my professors for help and seeking their help every step of the way when working on a project or writing a paper. I have been able to learn multiple skills necessary for future employment and success.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional expierence?    
A: My experience in the Master’s program at Rutgers taught me that history encompasses the past, present and future. As an adjunct history instructor, I teach students who come from all walks of life academically. I enjoy working with people and compelling them to love history as much as I do. Helping others to succeed when they did not think they could is one of the most fulfilling sensations in life. By assisting and pushing students to move positively forward from where they were in the classroom to where they want to be is rewarding and motivating. It is always a great feeling to know that you have made a difference for someone. I appreciate the individuals who took the time to help me learn my subject area in addition to helping me establish stronger studying and writing techniques. With this guidance I was supported effectively and prepared to thrive in academia and my career.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Positive, Acessible, and Rewarding!"



Branden Rippey 1998 & 2011 (M.A.T.; M.A., American/World Comparative)
History Teacher, Science Park High School & Union-Political Activist

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The great course offerings and professors.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The flexibility to blend classes from different subject areas (in MAT) and the ability to take classes on two campuses.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: Taking graduate courses during my MAT deepened my appreciation for and love of history. I finished the degree wanting to go back for more, which I eventually did!  And those classes gave me the knowledge and understanding necessary to be the teacher I am today.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Read broadly in the field.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"The program will broaden you as a person, deepen your understanding of history, and impart a great appreciation for honest scholarship."



John Cross 2015 (M.A., American)

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The professors were very knowledgable and helpful, the options to do an internship in public history and master's essay instead of only the thesis.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Excellent professors and administration.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: The high variety of courses available allowed me to broaden my horizons and learn different aspects of American and European history, and each course increased my researching and writing skills.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?  
A: American history research seminars 1945-1990 and 1960s-1970s.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?    
A: The professors and the helpfulness of Christina.



Frank Bilski 2012 (M.A., American)
Regional Human Resource Manager, Intertek

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Great learning experience.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Interactive class structure.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?  
A: The Medical History courses honed my writing skills.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Have a plan for your professional life after graduation.



Victor Stolberg 2006 & 2007 (M.A.T.; M.A., HisTEMH/World Comparative)
Assistant Professor/Counselor, Essex County College

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Diversity of offerings.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Quality of faculty.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: Flexibility.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Explore myriad options.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Enriching, civil, flexible"



Laura Troiano 2008 (M.A., American & Anthropology)
Program Coordinator, Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; Adjunct Professor; and ABD Doctoral Student in American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The PhD level classes we were able to take and the accessibility and helpfulness of the professors.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: It prepared you for not only PhD programs, but also offered preparation for other professions.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work? 
A: Made me feel I was capable of continuing onto doctoral work and inspired me to do public history work.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?  
A: All of Goodman’s classes.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: Gives you a strong foundation in both histography and academic skills (book reviews, essays, etc).

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Impactful, Influential, and Invaluable"



Maureen O'Rourke 2006 (M.A., World/Comparative)
Academic Coordinator, Department of History, NJIT

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Absolutely super faculty.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The diversity of offerings.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?                    
A: My training in history assisted most in the coherence of my understanding of the subject.  However, I would like to mention a course: 510:619 Internship in Public History.  This course brought me into the New Jersey Historical Society where I stayed for six years, and had a tremendous influence upon me.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: The personalization brought about by the commitment of faculty and staff.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Take a variety of courses—explore aspects of history that fall outside your usual path.  In this way you will discover new paths and make best use of the wonderfully varied faculty available to you.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Depth, diversity and personal mentoring"



Elizabeth Meola Aaron 2000 (M.A.T., American)
Principal, Columbia High School

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: Brilliant professors who cared about my learning.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: Again, brilliant professors who cared about my learning. Also, commitment to the city of Newark, wanting grad students to engage in campus and the city (if not to see them as one and the same) and wanting my grad work to connect to, enrich, and better my ‘real’ work.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work? 
A: Commitment of my professors helped sharpen my own understanding of the importance to invest in scholarship for the sake of scholarship as well as to serve others, do good, and make connections between history and the present.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?                    
A: Developed a very close eye for reading text (obviously) and honed writing skills that get used almost every day. Found a way to find the story in almost everything and everywhere, and connect stories to each other as well as larger framework.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master's thesis/essay?  
A: It would be unfair to choose.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: Everything, but especially its professors’ willingness to push for intellectual and personal growth. And Christina Strasburger, of course, who largely makes possible all the above.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Get to it. Read everything. Avoid unnecessary words, and make arguments that have meaning. 

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Clement Alexander Price"



Chris Hillyer 2014 (M.A., World History)
Assistant Media Editor - History, W.W. Norton & Co.

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I liked that it is a smaller program; I think that lends itself towards creating more of a community. I knew most, if not all, of the classmates I graduated with and we were able to help one another in many ways. I also thought that the professors running the program and administrative staff (Christina, you are absolutely amazing!) were very helpful throughout the process. I was also happy to help begin the peer mentor program, which I hope is still running strong!

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work? 
A: Although the program itself was great, and I developed as a historian, I ultimately decided that further education was not in the cards for me after finishing my Master’s. I therefore decided to seek employment through internships through the last semester at Rutgers while many students were applying to doctoral programs. I was offered a job in the history department at Norton about a week after I walked at graduation and I started full time work in June of 2014.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?                    
A: In my line of work, I am able to grasp larger themes within history, and across subject matters. By this point I am familiar with many topics in history and while I have my speciality which I worked within during grad school, I find that a higher knowledge of history helps me to edit and create a wide variety of materials that support the history textbooks my company prints.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: I would recommend the fact that although this program is not tiny by some measures (class size can float up to 20 students), it is a very tight knit community of students and professors. I felt as though our professors and administrative staff were extremely helpful in accommodating my interests as a burgeoning historian.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: For students in the graduate program now, I would suggest that they fully consider their options and try to think outside of the box when considering a career path. I would also ask them to find confidence in their knowledge and how that is adaptable outside of the world of education, and to learn to market their skills effectively in order to become more desirable in today’s job market.                                               

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"McGovern's is awesome!"



Boris Von Faust 2014 (M.A., World History)
Adjunct professor of history, Felician College &
Archival specialist, Passaic County Historical Society at Lambert Castle

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: The variety of subjects and diversity of the classes offered.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The program’s greatest strength was the attention and care that it awarded to its students. I would like to especially thank the wonderful Christina Strasburger, the department program administrator, without whose endless help, guidance, and encouragement my success in the program would have been impossible.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work? 
A: The experience taught me a lot about being a historian, a scholar, and a teacher.

Q: What aspect of your training in history shaped your professional experience?                      
A: The examples of my professors – Dr. Jon Cowans, Dr. Gary Farney, Dr. Richard Sher, and Dr. Neil Maher – has taught me what it means to be a good professor who is passionate about what he does.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master’s thesis/essay?  
A: Dr. Richard Sher’s classes on the history of technology and communications were very insightful and helpful.

Q: What would you recommend about the program?  
A: The Archaeological Field School in Sabina, Upper Tiberina, under the guidance of Dr. Gary Farney (whose classes on ancient Greek society were also beyond fascinating), was one of the brightest highlights of my entire life, and I owe it all to the Rutgers History Program.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?    
A: Reach out for all the possibilities the program has to offer: the teaching assistantships and study abroad programs will prove to be invaluably helpful.                                                                  

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Insightful, enlightening, encouraging"



Steven Elliott, 2012 (M.A., American History)
Ph.D. student at Temple University

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I was initially attracted to the program because of its affordability and convenience.  Paying my own way through grad school, I was looking for a program that was in-state, public, and close to home.  Rutgers- Newark fulfilled all three of those criteria.  Furthermore, it offered the most rigorous program of any of the state schools I looked into.  Rutgers-Newark had a good record of its graduates moving on to PhD programs, which was my ultimate goal.  Few other affordable programs in NJ had such a record.  I liked that Rutgers classes were challenging.  The faculty assigned strenuous workloads, but this left me well prepared for PhD coursework.  Several professors were also excellent mentors, and helped me through not only coursework, but also navigating the process of applying to PhD programs.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: When I first entered the Master’s program, I was somewhat unsure of pursuing graduate education further, since I had been rejected from many PhD programs.  While at Rutgers, I grew intellectually, and by my second year had a much firmer grasp of what the profession of history was all about.  I had a better understanding of historiography and research, which made me more confident that I could succeed in a PhD program.  I also received guidance on how to prepare my applications.  Because of this, I succeeded in entering a PhD program at Temple University, where I am currently.

Q: What courses best helped you prepare for your Master’s thesis/essay?
A: Courses in American legal and political history under Dr. Rao prepared me most for my Master’s thesis.  I was in a difficult position in that my focus is on military history, a field which the program does not cover.  However, these courses taught me how to study institutions, which was a useful perspective for understanding armies.  Dr. Rao ultimately served as the advisor for my thesis, which studied the intersections between armies and the state during the American War of Independence.

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: Don’t get discouraged during your first semester in the program.  My first few courses were very intimidating.  It seemed many students had a much stronger background in history than did I, and I felt uncomfortable participating in class.  Also, I found the amount of weekly reading overwhelming at first.  Many of my peers felt the same way.  Sooner or later you begin to adapt to the workload.  You figure out ways of breaking down and understanding the books and getting through them more quickly.  Eventually participation in class becomes less intimidating as well. So, by the end of the first semester, the whole experience is much more rewarding and engaging.

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Affordable, rigorous, rewarding"



Ryan D. Purcell, 2013 (M.A., American History)
Ph.D. student at Cornell University

Q: What did you like about the program?
A: I liked that some of the history courses were cross-listed with the American Studies Ph.D. program. This was an enriching experience in two regards: first, these courses incorporated interdisciplinary American Studies methodologies, which enhanced the way I engage with primary sources; Second, I learned by working along-side Ph.D. students, some of whom had spent a great deal of time thinking about their research topics and had years of experience and knowledge to offer.

Q: What was the greatest strength of the program?
A: The dedication and compassion of the faculty was the greatest strength of the program, by far. Professors at Rutgers-Newark offered me insight in and out of the classroom, in preparing for job interviews for example. The administrative staff is a valuable component of what makes this program strong. They go above and beyond to ensure the success of their students. And what is more, they open their hearts to the students which fosters a warm, inviting community. Rutgers-Newark has become my second family.

Q: How did your experience in the Master’s program influence your choices concerning further education or work?
A: Faculty and staff in the Master’s program encouraged me to pursue a doctoral degree after I finished. Faculty on my Master’s committee helped me compose successful Ph.D. applications, and pushed me to publish scholarship to enhance my academic profile. They continue to provide emotional and academic support now that I am enrolled in a Ph.D. program elsewhere. 

Q: Do you have any advice for current graduate students?
A: Take as many research seminars as possible. They teach you to read primary sources critically, and produce polished scholarship with the guidance of experienced faculty and the support of peer-reviewed workshop sessions. If you can, try to use these seminars to write chapters of your thesis. Present at as many academic conferences as possible. This is a great way to test your ideas, strengthen your scholarship. It is also a great way to meet scholars with similar research interest and to participate in the marketplace of historical discourse. 

Describe your experience in three (3) words or phrases:
"Learning through love"