Samanthis Smalls and Corrie Hand
Students' road to graduation includes promoting history education
Phi Alpha Theta Society has a history of encouraging excellence in history. Just ask Samanthis Smalls '09, president, and Corrie Hand '09, vice president, of the National History Society at Armstrong State University.
Phi Alpha Theta offers a variety of programs that support the university's history program and students. It hosts a history paper writing workshop, promotes attendance at state conferences, and participates in the annual Celebrate ASU Day by raffling off history-appropriate prizes like a carriage tour of the Historic District and dinner at the historic Pirates' House.
Samanthis and Corrie describe themselves as "twins," promoting the programs of the society and sharing a common goal of going after their master's and doctoral degrees and then teaching history at the college level. Their paths to that common goal, however, are distinctly different.
Sam is focused on African American studies. Recently, she delivered a conference paper on nineteenth century African American feminists who marched prominently among the famous suffragettes. In another paper, she advanced the story of African American women from 1865 to 1900 and the relationships that developed between the freeborn women from the North and the slave-born women from the South. Sam also worked as an intern on a project for the City of Savannah transcribing videotaped interviews for a history of East Side neighborhoods.
Corrie pursues American Colonial and Revolutionary War history. She's explored sites from St. Augustine to Charleston and written a paper on how the upper classes of the period incited the lower classes to riot for a common cause. A student worker in the history department, Corrie has enjoyed an internship with the Georgia Historical Society where she catalogs some of the 2,000 state historical markers currently under review.
With their dedication and drive, the "twins" may one day take their places on the ASU history faculty working beside their current professors.
What in the world do you do with a history degree?
Chris Storey '06, '09 looks at life after receiving his master's degree in history as a smorgasbord of opportunities. The Dallas, TX native began college for 2-1/2 years in bustling Atlanta, but found life in a sprawling capital city a challenge. Looking for a smaller town in which to complete school, he chose Savannah and Armstrong State University.
While attending Armstrong, he took history, philosophy, and German and exercised two opportunities to study abroad. Inasmuch as his interests were in Eastern European studies, he made a month-long Armstrong-sponsored trip to Tallinn, Estonia where he took classes on the transition from Soviet government, the European Union, and Estonian history. On the same trip he had the opportunity to travel to Finland and Russia.
Traveling on his own, Chris returned to Estonia in the spring of 2008 for a full semester at Tartu University. There, he became involved with the international student body for which classes were taught in English. "I had flat mates from Belgium and Germany," he recalled. In addition, he mixed with other students from Turkey, Poland, China, and many other countries. He was pleased to find that his courses in the Russian language and twentieth century Baltic history were all transferable into his master's program at Armstrong.
Chris has been able to tailor his master's to emphasize East European and Russian history.
With graduation fast approaching, Chris says, "With a history degree, I have a lot of options to look at." These include going for a Ph.D. in European history at an American or European university, teaching in an American high school, or perhaps entering the Peace Corps or Foreign Service where he could sharpen his German and Russian language skills.
A Revolutionary university experience
With a dad who is Latino and a Finnish mom, it is only natural that Tiffany Bueno '07, '09, is focused on . . . American Colonial history.
The Newport, RI native finished Richmond Hill High School outside of Savannah and headed for ASU based on the solid reputation of its history department. As an undergrad student, she focused on American history.
Tiffany is an admirer of Thomas Jefferson's ideals and John Adam's realism. She demonstrates her easy sense of humor when she says, "Alexander Hamilton did a lot, but given the chance, I would have shot him before Aaron Burr did."
Now in ASU's master's program, she has been able to concentrate on her main interest, colonial history, by taking an independent study on eighteen-century political culture. Tiffany works as a graduate assistant, grading papers, and taking student's questions. This semester, she plans to lecture on the War of 1898 and the beginning of American imperialism.
Tiffany also works as an archivist at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, where she helps erect exhibits and examines and catalogs donated letters, documents, photos, and things such World War II uniforms. Last summer, she did a presentation on the French Resistance in WWII.
She has been on a study abroad trip to Argentina that proved to be quite daunting. In addition to such activities as whale watching at Puerto Piramades in western Argentina, she reports, "We slogged through the cold and snow over undeveloped land to see waterfalls and thousand
Tiffany's future plans are indefinite now, but she would eventually like to pursue her Ph.D. and teach at the college level.