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History

History

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Chris Dunn, History Major, Class of 2013

Chris Dunn '13, had the experience of a lifetime as one of his historical studies courses culminated with a class-wide trip to the Harvard Hellenic Center in Greece.

"My experience was one of incredible exploration. To start out in the classroom reading books about ancient Greece and attempting to understand in a more theoretical sense that history and then to be able to go see firsthand the life of which you are studying, is truly an invaluable transition."

Dunn took his history degree and turned it into a job with the College as an Admissions Counselor. Currently he works at Bryn Athn College as an Annual Giving Officer in their Institutional Advancement Department.

"Everything that happened in history was preparing me in some capacity, be it through understanding, experiences abroad, building relationships , collaboration with others. The foundation built by my degree builds upon the same qualities employers find valuable and you can't find that in a lot of majors."

Bowle-CollinColin Boyle '15 - "I chose CHC because I liked the environment that it was in. It was in the city without the city feel and all the people were very kind and welcoming. The size and placement of CHC are what make it unique to me. The size allows for great relationships to form and gives the student the chance to connect to their professors. You certainly don't feel like a number in the classroom. Receiving a holistic education has many benefits. Instead of leaving CHC with knowledge in only one specific area, I will be leaving with an education in a broad variety of subjects. I will be able to use my knowledge in many fields to teach my students about history beyond the textbooks. Receiving a holistic education makes me a well rounded individual and that's the kind of person I want to be."

 

Golding-perspectiveJenn Golding '15 - "I chose Chestnut Hill College for many reasons. For one, it is outside of my comfort zone, which I was stuck in for many years. Being from New Jersey, I wanted to step outside my boundaries and explore somewhere new. I loved the school in many aspects; the small class sizes, the personal relationships with professors, the close relationships with my classmates, the amount of ways to get involved on campus, etc. The school was everything I was looking for. After being here for 2 years, this school feels like a second home. I am quite involved in campus -- president of the history club, vice president of Phi Alpha Theta (historical honor society), and a orientation leader, an events coordinator for CHAT (Chestnut Hill Activities Team). I help run alumni events through my job (Alumni Relations office), as well as volunteering with other events on campus.

 

Program Information

The study of history itself is paramount for understanding how the world works and how our own lives are affected each and every day. As a history major and graduate of Chestnut Hill, your classroom study will be paired with incomparable real-world experiences both in and around the College. Through courses that go beyond just a traditional study of the past, CHC students leave as problem solvers, prepared to change the world through their knowledge and critical thinking skills. To their benefit is a liberal arts education that in history bears vital importance as it gives students a well-rounded background for understanding the past and impacting the future.

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Program Requirements and Courses

For information about major and minor requirements, view the History and Political Science section of the Catalog.

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Location

Chestnut Hill College has the unique advantage of a prime location sandwiched in between two locations with rich historical traditions. Beyond the walls of the College is Chestnut Hill, the town, and a 20 minute train ride away is Philadelphia.

A quaint and beautiful locale, Chestnut Hill has retained much of its 19th century fixtures including the cobblestone streets and the noted trolley tracks from when the city was known as the “streetcar suburb” of Center City. Because the College is nestled so closely, there is a course held once a year that explores the history of Chestnut Hill quite literally, with walking tours complementing the in-classroom study.

Just a 15-20 minute bus or train ride away, is of course, the metropolis of Philadelphia. Teeming with history around every bend, studying within reach of the city where the Declaration and Constitution were both signed, provides students with a chance for exploring America’s beginnings through the place where it all began. It adds a practical dimension to classroom study, allowing students to experience firsthand, a taste of what it was like in colonial times.

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Relationship with Faculty

When it comes to the size of the history program at CHC, there is nothing but advantages. The faculty, who all have various historical backgrounds, develop one-on-one relationships with students. They are constantly available to help students and to guide them when necessary. Perhaps most important though is that the faculty actively listens. Within the history department especially, students have contributed to current course offerings all just through voicing their opinions and the faculty taking them seriously.

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News from the History Program
History Class in Greece

Read history program articles including  "A Class-wide Trip to the Harvard Hellenic Center in Greece" and "CHC Students Witness History as Malala Yousafzai Receives Liberty Medal."

The Legacy Conferences

CHC hosts a series of interdisciplinary conferences focused on historical events. The Legacy Conference series was launched in 2003 with an intensive, two-day look at the Kennedy years. The Kennedy Legacy was followed by the Legacy of the Second World War in 2005; The Legacy of 1968 in 2008; the Legacy of the Civil War in 2011 and The Legacy of World War I in 2014. These conferences have exposed Chestnut Hill College students and faculty to a broad range of national and international scholars who were pursuing active research projects while also enhancing the academic reputation of the College as a vibrant and exciting center of learning.   The next conference will be the Legacy of the Russian Revolution to be held in November 2017.  Details will be forthcoming.

Co-Curricular Programs

The History Club is one of the oldest student-run organizations on campus.  It is open to all students, regardless of major.  Over the years, the History Club has sponsored many trips, lectures, film series and discussions, and walking tours of historic Philadelphia.  It has also organized a number of fundraisers. 

Some of the History Club activities include:

Trips:

  • Ellis Island
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
  • Jewish Museum, NY
  • 911 Museum and Memorial
  • Franklin Institute
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
  • Women’s Rights National Historic Park at Seneca Falls, NY
  • International Spy Museum, Washington, DC
  • National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC

Theatre productions at the Academy of Music:

  • Spamalot
  • War Horse
  • Pippin (February 2016)

Lectures:

  • Holocaust survivors
  • Susan Retik, wife of 9/11 victim and co-founder of Beyond the 11th
  • Legacy Conference series speakers (see link)

Fundraiser:

  • "Darfur Now" to bring awareness to the genocide in the Sudan. The History program at CHC is a chapter member of STAND, a national student-run movement to end mass atrocities, based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to create “a sustainable student network that actively fights genocide and mass atrocities wherever they may occur.”

The History program also has charter membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society in history. The mission of the society is “to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.”  Students are encouraged to participate in annual PAT conferences and are eligible to apply for small scholarships to pursue graduate work in history.

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Secondary Education Certification

The Secondary Education Certification Program in Social Studies (Grades 7 -12) is available to History Majors seeking Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Certification. 

The Program integrates educational theory and practice with field experiences that include practicum and student teaching, as well as opportunities to develop teaching competence through innovative and effective approaches to the educational process with focus on students at the Secondary Level. Students interested in the double major should speak with Rev. Robert G. Mulligan OSFS, First Floor, Fournier Hall. Telephone: 215.248.7058. Email: MulliganR1@chc.edu

For History/Secondary Education requirements, view the History and Political Science section of the Catalog.

 

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Internships

Students are encouraged to do an internship in the course of their study in the major to gain practical professional experience. Students have completeed internships in a variety of institutions including:

  • Chestnut Hill Historical Society
  • Germantown Historical Society
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Civil War Museum
  • Hope Lodge
  • KYW Radio
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies
  • Clink Prison Museum, London, England
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Careers in the Field

Most people tend to think a career as a history major pigeonholes you to a very small and selective field. However, this is far from the case, especially at Chestnut Hill College, where a history degree affords you invaluable experience and prepares for a job in any sector. Our majors have gone on to hold jobs in numerous and varied fields, including work in publishing agencies, as professors, attorneys, company vice presidents, government employees and much more.

  • Laura Breton Kusen '07 - Management Analyst, Veterans Benefit Administration, Eastern Area Office for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs
  • Holly Caldwell '01, MA, - Ph.D. candidate, University of Delaware; adjunct instructor, Chestnut Hill College
  • Kimberly Burns '01 - Director of Career Services at Art Institute of Philadelphia
  • Ellen M. Cavanaugh '77, JD - PECO Energy's Vice President of Electric Supply & Transmission, Chairman of the PJM Interconnection L.L.C.'s members committee
  • Christopher Dunn '13 - Annual Giving Officer at Bryn Athyn College, Bryn Athyn, PA
  • Tricia Gorman '95 - Managing editor, Thomson Reuters Publishing Co.
  • Beth Griech-Polelle '87, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of History, Kurt Mayer Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA
  • Sandra Huber '97 - Chief of Staff to the Assistant Commissioner, NYC Parks Dept.; Coordinator of Capital Projects, Central Park Conservancy, NY
  • Lanette Hushon '10 - Trial Clerk, United States Tax Court, Washington, DC
  • Stockton Koelle '96 - Creative Director at Forkdevils Interactive, Marco Island, Florida
  • Christian Kuczynski '08, MA - Intelligence analyst, Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC
  • Meghan McCormack '05, JD - Attorney, Law Offices of Daniel M. Jaffe, Phila, PA
  • Meg Mitchell '03, MSLS - Print Librarian, Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College
  • Ariel Pearce-Chalikias '06, MA - Ph.D. candidate, Temple University; excavator at several Bronze Age sites on the island of Crete in Greece; adjunct instructor, Temple University
  • Gretchen Reilly '91, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of American History, Temple College, Temple, TX
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Post-Graduate Opportunities

If you think a history degree pigeonholes you to a career within the field, think again. Among the skills history majors develop are critical thinking, research backgrounds, flexibility, persuasive techniques and the ability to effectively collaborate with others, all of which employers of any company look for in a prospective candidate. Additionally, CHC provides a liberal arts degree which allows history to be blended seamlessly with issues of social justice, globalization, education and sociology among others, further enhancing one’s resume to work in a variety of fields.

Furthermore, many of our students have gone on to pursue post-graduate education at prestigious institutions across the country. These include:

  • University of Delaware
  • The Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Villanova University, School of Law
  • George Mason University
  • Temple University
  • Drexel University, School of Law
  • Rutgers University
  • LaSalle University
  • Clarion University
  • National Intelligence University
  • American Military University
  • Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY-Oneonta
  • The Catholic University of America
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What Alumni Say

HOLLY CALDWELL '01, HISTORY AND FRENCH:  Majoring in history occurred by accident--I never enjoyed history in secondary school. During my sophomore year, I took a course on twentieth century Europe with Lorraine Coons. At the beginning of the semester, she asked each student to share something unique about themselves. I remember that I replied that there was "nothing interesting about me." A friend nudged me in the side and reminded me that both of my maternal grandparents were Holocaust and concentration camp survivors. It was during that semester that I developed an understanding that history is the study of people, not the memorization of dates and miscellaneous events. My love for the subject didn’t wane; as I am now completing my Ph.D. in history.