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Some Responses to “Why Study History?”

I advise construction companies on purchasing and implementing enterprise software systems. I research products as well as the market, and present in writing and in person facts and analysis. I often have to make judgment using limited facts while avoiding biases. This is not at all far from what I did as a history major writing term papers!” Towner Blackstock, principal at Blackstock Consulting

“I never lost the sense that writing—I was a journalist and foreign correspondent for the New York Times for nearly three decades—demands a grasp of historical context in order to make intelligent sense of current issues anywhere and everywhere.” Barbara Crossette, United Nations correspondent for The Nation

“In clinical medicine, when one talks to a patient, we call it ‘taking a history.’ One has to take the information (not all of which is correct or relevant) and construct a narrative that makes sense.” Melinda Wharton, director of Immunization Services Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Learning about the impact of human events big and small fueled my personal drive to become more civically engaged and to work for social impact.” Janet Arias-­Martinez, associate director for alumni relations at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

“History provides the engine that powers your career. Critical thinking; knowing how to discover, collect, and correctly interpret evidence to make informed decisions; and being able to clearly and articulately convey complicated ideas, are all powerful tools for just about any industry.” Curt Johnston, director of education and workforce alignment for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

“If you’re unsure of your career path, history will only benefit you. If you love history, then study it anyway because a ‘good’ job is about passion, not a paycheck.” Tim Anderson, firefighter with the Philadelphia Fire Department

(Source: Sadie Bergen and Emily Swafford, "Why Study History? Survey of History BAs Provides Some Real Answers," Perspectives on History, January 2017)


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