As a young girl growing up in central Pennsylvania, I have always been surrounded by history. Despite the size of the town, Hershey is rich with local history and has found a way to weave itself into my life. Milton Hershey’s legacy rings throughout my community even to this day. When I was a young child, my parents and I would go to Hershey’s Chocolate World to take the informational tour ride on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I remember the historical summary of Hershey’s milk chocolate as well as the grandiose visual and audio displays that entranced me as I unknowingly gained knowledge and understanding outside of the traditional classroom. Those small moments are when I fell in love with the sharing of history.
During my undergraduate studies, I majored in Historical Studies and earned my elementary school teaching certificate. Moravian College provided me with a very well rounded and hands-on learning experience. My senior seminar class stands out to me because it was the first time I researched a topic that had not been studied. I chose to research women who lived in the Lehigh Valley during the Great Depression. My topic was broad enough that it allowed me to delve into the lives of women from all ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds and to see how they were or were not impacted by the severe economic downturn. I visited the local libraries and spent countless hours in the archives. I will never forget the feelings I had when opening dated boxes that contained handwritten notes, pictures and programs from the past. Reading the words of the Bethlehem Women’s Club’s meeting minutes created images in my head of what life was like during those years. My imagination ran with the information and I found myself engrossed in the possibilities of the past. Not only did I sift through primary documents, but I also used microfilm, visited the old Bethlehem Steel Factory and read other published academic sources. I felt great accomplishment when I presented my findings to my professor and classmates.
After graduating, I spent two years in Pennsylvania teaching elementary school. I have taught both first and fourth grade. My teaching experience in addition to my educational experiences at Moravian College, have provided me with a solid background in effective teaching and management techniques. In a classroom of 20-25 students, it is important to be well organized, flexible and to have good communication skills. I believe that the skills sets that I have learned through teaching will be beneficial for other job positions that I may acquire.
Although I enjoyed teaching, I began to miss aspects of my historical studies background; therefore I made the decision to pursue my masters in the history field. After researching various programs, I decided upon Archives and Public History. My ultimate dream has always been to live and work in New York City. I applied and was accepted into NYU’s program.
Now I live in New York and I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize that I am actually doing what I have wanted and set out to do! I am a first year student in the Archives and Public History Program. While completing my studies, I will be interning at the Special Collections Library Archive at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum. In addition to my internship, I will be working as an Archives Student Assistant at NYU’s Special Collections Library. I am looking forward to both of these hands-on experiences.
When I imagine my future, I see myself holding a position in New York providing other people the opportunity to be entranced by the visual and audio displays that provide an enjoyable, historical, educational experience, like the experience I had as a young girl enjoying a Saturday afternoon at Hershey’s Chocolate World.