Well the semester isn’t QUITE over, but it’s so close I can feel it! This will mark the last spring semester of course-work EVER (which yes, I realize I have said that a couple times now…), but for real, I will be finished with PhD classes other than residency and dissertation hours in a little over a week!!! I have had tons of news and breakthroughs in the past few weeks, so this post will try to encapsulate those and catch you up on what I’ve had going on.
– I have a residency!! After several really great meetings with organizations across the state, everything finally came down to funding (as always). Luckily, the Public History program offered me the opportunity to do a Teaching Residency for the History Department at MTSU. I wasn’t too excited about it at first, since I had a preconceived notion that teaching would mean I would have a class of US History 1 in the Fall semester and US History in the Spring semester. That’s not the case at all! Instead, this fall I will have a section of World Civ I, which will be great experience actually teaching college, because in the Spring I will be teaching Explorations in Public History, which is an upper-division undergraduate introduction to Public History!! I have never taught my own courses, so this will be great experience, even if it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind… As I was told several times the next week at NCPH, I’m super lucky to have this opportunity, and I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m really excited to teach, and any advice is welcome!!
– I went to the National Council on Public History Conference in Pensacola, Florida at the beginning of April, and it was INCREDIBLE for a million reasons. I met a bunch of great professionals and other graduate students in my field and reconnected with other contacts, I went to some great sessions, I got to spend a long weekend away from Murfreesboro and even got a little bit of beach time in! There are countless stories, but I’ll stick with just a couple. First, I signed up to be paired with a mentor through NCPH, which I recommend to any students or young professionals who go to the meeting. My mentor and I met for lunch on Thursday of the conference, and he just had great advice and encouragement, and it was really just nice to have lunch with someone new who had perspective on my school stuff and my future and just life in general. Second, I went to a session on teaching intro to public history, since I had JUST learned 4 days earlier that I would be teaching the Explorations in Public History course next spring. I got some great advice and got to hear about what others are teaching, and made some contacts with others in my position. Third, and possibly most importantly…
– While walking through the pretty Pensacola park we passed each day on our way from the hotel to the historic village, I had an epiphany. Out of the blue, my dissertation and research topic popped right into my head! I don’t want to get too detailed into it since it is still developing in my head, but it is something I am really excited about, its meaningful to the world and community (which is super important to me), and hopefully it will help museums, historic sites, and people in general.
– On a related note, I have assembled my pre-dissertation committee, and I think they’re pretty awesome, and basically the best committee of all time.
– Perhaps MOST exciting (though really, everything has been MOST exciting lately), was a surprise I found on my MTSU account last week. Apparently the history department has a few scholarships they award each year, and I was the recipient of one! I am the honored and happy recipient of the Bart McCash “Outstanding Graduate Student in History” Memorial Scholarship! It was definitely a welcome surprise, and I’m so grateful to the committee for selecting me for this award and recognizing my work in the time I’ve been back at MTSU.
– I also accepted a nomination to be the Association of Graduate Students in History’s PhD Representative to the Public History Committee for the Fall 2011-Spring 2012 school year!
– Things are going GREAT at the Sam Davis Home… we are all getting ready for Days on the Farm (which also happens to fall right at the end of finals week…) and school groups almost every day the next several weeks, then summer camps right around the corner as well! It’s keeping me busy, but I love driving on to that beautiful site in the mornings and spending the days with the greatest co-workers.
So, yeah! That’s pretty much all of my exciting news of late, and hopefully once the semester wraps up I will have more time to post all the crazy ideas I’ve had running through my mind.
Thanks for reading!