Did you graduate from UGA with a history degree? Tell us what you're doing now.

Travis Coberly (2014)

Coberly photoWhat is your job?

I am the operational manager at an industrial facility that just expanded to the U.S. from Germany. Since it is a start-up expansion, my role is diverse daily. So far, I have been asked to hire and fire employees, work with/travel to suppliers and customers (in Europe and the U.S.) to build relationships and offer support, prepare the schedule for production, work in the shop to better understand the product, and generally handle the in-housekeeping needed in the up-start of a new office (dealing with insurance, health care, etc.).

How did you find that job, and what do you think helped you get it?

I found my job through a family member. They were looking for a fresh-out-of-college or young person who they could mold in the proper way for supply management. Due to my burgeoning abilities, I was able to apply myself into a different position in Operational Management. Being well-spoken and able to think critically definitely played a role in getting and maintaining this job. Also, since the company is headquartered in Germany, being able to speak German and have an understanding of different cultures helped as well.

How does your work play to strengths you developed as a history major?

Being well written/spoken, understanding how to do research, and being able to think critically has been enormously important in my job. One specific example I can think of is getting our company to become a Foreign Trade Zone. It requires a lot of adherence to customs regulations, so I had to read all of the regulations and frame our production process and inventory system to the desires of customs. Outside the regulations there were more sources that needed to be utilized and organized. Being able to know what is important to read and share versus what is not was critical. We needed it done eight months, usual FTZ activation is 18 months, and due to these developed skills from my history degree background, we got it done in six.

I would say that having a no degree in the field you're applying for has no bearing (in my mind) on hiring when it comes to business (outside of perhaps accounting or another field where there is specialization or certificate needed). If I could have someone that would apply themselves and work hard and be willing to learn, I would take that over all the relevant field experience in the world. I would come close to selling my soul for it, actually.

 

Karen Usselman Lindell (2007)

Usselman_Lindell.jpgI graduated from UGA with a major in history in 2007. After working for a couple years for immigrant advocacy groups in DC and Nashville, I went to law school with the goal of becoming a more effective advocate for the underprivileged. I graduated two years ago, and I have spent two fantastic years clerking for judges on the federal court of appeals and the federal district court in Philadelphia. In the fall, I will start my dream job -- a fellowship with the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, where I will tackle a project designed to help youth with disabilities who are in foster care or the juvenile justice system successfully transition to adulthood. Youth with disabilities are significantly overrepresented in those state systems, and they face a high risk of poor long-term outcomes, such as homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration. My project aims to improve the treatment and transition-planning that these kids receive while still in state care, with the hope that they will then be better equipped to thrive as adults.

My degree in history has been invaluable to getting me to where I am today. A history degree really focuses your education on research, writing, and critical thinking, three skills that are vital in most advocacy positions. In all of my jobs so far, I have relied on my ability to examine a problem critically, access the information needed to solve it, and then write a coherent response -- all skills I honed as a history major. My history degree also improved my oral communication skills; few majors offer so many small, discussion-based classes where you can learn to think on your feet and express yourself well in front of your peers. And perhaps most importantly, my time in the UGA history department taught me the importance of understanding historical context when addressing current, real-world problems. The legal landscape that governs how youth experience foster care did not appear out of nothing; it is the product of historical circumstances, as are the social conditions these kids experience that prompt the need for state intervention. By striving to understand those historical circumstances, I am better able to develop effective solutions that will make a real difference for at-risk youth.     

 

Diana L. Anderson (2006)

What is your current job?

Elementary school teacher. I have worked in both 1st and 4th grades, teaching students in all major content areas (Reading/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies). I accepted this position upon completion of my Master of Arts in Teaching and obtaining my teaching certificate.

How does your work play to strengths you developed as a history major?

I utilize everything that I learned throughout my major course work in history to help me make history come alive for my students in Social Studies.

 

Kevin Patrick (2005)

Courtroom.jpgWhat is your current job, and what other jobs have you had since graduating?

The study of history led me to the practice of law, which yielded positions at the Georgia Supreme Court and a large law firm. Recently it gave me the courage to start my own personal injury practice, Kevin Patrick Law.

How does your work play to strengths you developed as a history major?

Fifteen years ago, my friends questioned my decision to pursue a history degree, especially one that focused on the study of the Roman Republic. They thought history was an out-of-date major! Nonetheless, I was guided by the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero: "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?" Both in ancient times and today, history fosters logic and critical thinking, inspires creativity and ingenuity, and most importantly, recognizes the humanitas in each and every person.

 

Keith Canseco (2001)

Canseco photoWhat is your current job?

Senior Manager of Marketing Strategy and Insights. I currently direct the consumer insights and analytics department for a national restaurant chain. I research, analyze, and organize customer data in order to drive marketing, product, and business decisions for my company.

How did you find this job?

I sort of “backed in” to my career in analytics and insights. After graduating, I was hired by AIG and worked for a year and a half helping sales teams develop sales plans through market research data. I quickly discovered that looking at business data was much like studying primary sources of history. There’s more numbers involved, but the process is the same. Because I could explain my research results in a more personable form (rather than just show a bunch of numbers), my department managers were quick to tell me that I would succeed in this career faster than most analysts with a math degree who struggled to provide a human element to their data results. I then was able further my analytics and insight career with stints at State Farm and Allstate. Insurance and financial companies have some of the biggest customer databases in the world. Getting to research and analyze so much customer data going back to the 1930’s was a great asset. Understanding the customer journey through data research is the same as trying to understand the people of a particular period in history. What was their daily life like? What drove their beliefs and habits? What effect did their landscape or government have on their behavior? Today I use those same questions to help my current company market to consumers.

How does your job play to strengths you developed as a history major?

I always get asked how I got to where I am with a degree in history. My answer is easy — no other field of study but history gives you the research and analytical skills to drive business decisions. Using those skills has driven my career path. Much like researching particular historical sources, I take data and ask — How is this relevant? What are the causes? What are the effects? What can we learn from this to better understand the situation?

I cannot express enough the benefit of having the skills of research, extensive reading, critical thinking, and writing in today’s business world. The ability to take data and organize it into a concise, well written form that can give business executives the ability to fully understand their organization is an amazing asset afforded to me. Studying history has also given me the ability to always look at data objectively without any bias. One of my history professors at UGA once told me to question everything. This has allowed me to make accurate conclusions and business decisions based on my research.

 

David S. Cason (2000)

What is your current job?

Trial and immigration attorney. I represent working-class Georgians and Latino immigrants in criminal, civil, and immigration actions across Georgia. I previously worked as a judicial intern, public defender, and associate attorney. I undoubtedly accomplished each of these positions as a result of the writing skills I attained as a history major at UGA.

How does your job play to strengths you developed as a history major?

I use the writings skills developed at LeConte on a daily basis.

 

Jimmy Mixson (1991)

What is your job?

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Alabama. In 1989, I was a business major who got a flyer in the mail about the UGA at Oxford Program. I decided to "take care" of my history credits at Oriel College that summer. The first night, right off the plane, I was having a pint of beer (legally!) in a pub that was...seven hundred years old. I never got over that feeling. I spent the summer researching and writing papers on early church history and traveling Europe, from the Catacombs to the Louvre. I came back and changed my major. Joe Berrigan was my new mentor, and under his direction I completed an honors thesis on the eleventh-century ascetic and reformer Peter Damian. Dr. Berrigan — Joe as I called him in later years — helped me get in to the University of Notre Dame, where I got my PhD in Medieval Studies in 2002. The next year I won the academic lottery: I was fortunate enough to be offered a tenure-track job at the University of Alabama, where my father was a graduate of the dental school, and where my uncle served on the faculty of Engineering for 35 years.

 

Steven D. Warren (1983)

554272_3188991839295_255582451_n.jpgWhat is your job?

I am currently the Deputy Director for Intelligence & Security, US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia. I oversee a staff of 25 intelligence and security professionals who administer nine security disciplines and two intelligence functions for the US Army's largest training base.

What other jobs have you had since graduating?

Since graduating from UGA in 1983, I served 11 years on active duty in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Officer, with assignments in Arizona, Germany, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Turkey. After leaving active duty in 1984, I served in a variety of intelligence and security positions with private industry, NASA, State Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, and US Army.

How does your work play to strengths you developed as a history major?

My degree in History from UGA has served me well in my career. The mentorship and advice I received from my professors back in the early 80s still echo in my ears to this day. As a long-time professional in the Intelligence Community, I can attest to the fact that one has to be adept in the continuous study of history, and apply that knowledge to the happenings of the day. The great leaders and decision makers I have worked for used history as a tool, as well as a weighted factor, before executing courses of action.

 

Robert W. Miller (1964)

100_0237.JPGWhat is your job?

Retired partner, King & Spalding law firm in Atlanta. Head of the health law department at King & Spalding prior to my retirement. Past President, American Health Lawyers Association. Member, Board of Directors, 21st Century Oncology, Inc.; Member, Board of Directors, Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation (2008-2015). Editor in Chief, Journal of Health & Life Sciences Law (2007-2015).

How does your work play to strengths you developed as a history major?

Great field in which to major! At Yale Law School, I thought the best prepared-for-law-school students were those whose undergraduate majors were history, math or English. Majors taken to duck difficult courses or to avoid hard work were not well prepared for a leading law school. What I did in history resembled what I did in law: learn and digest large amounts of information; figure out or try to figure out what was material or really important; notice discrepancies — I could go on, but you get the idea.