I earned my undergraduate degree in Social Studies Education from Elizabethtown College in 2008 and enrolled in Villanova University's graduate history program. The program allowed me to explore historical material that fascinated me in my undergraduate studies while providing the opportunity to consider teaching at the postsecondary level. I also completed coursework in entirely new areas, such as Russian and African history. These rigorous classes helped me develop important analytical and research skills that continue to inform my teaching. I also had the great fortune to work as a teaching assistant for Dr. Judith Giesberg during my second year in the program. It was a valuable opportunity that provided practical classroom experience as well as greater insight into the skill set that students must possess in order to succeed at the university level.
My graduate training at Villanova has been a great asset to my career. I was hired to teach high school social studies soon after earning my M.A., and entered that position much more confident in my mastery of the subject matter than I would otherwise have been. I strive to push my students to engage with history in practical ways, whether through primary source analysis or interaction with senior citizens from a retirement community near our school. Since my graduation from Villanova, I have been selected for professional development opportunities through the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Most recently, one of my students and I were selected for this year's Albert H. Small Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Institute. After a rigorous study of the D-Day invasion this spring, we will travel to Normandy, France, to eulogize a local fallen soldier from Conshohocken who we have been researching for the last six months. I am confident that the professional preparation and intellectual guidance I received at Villanova will continue to serve me well in the years to come.