2017 graduate Marley Abbott on why she chose history, the value of a UTC history degree, and the courses and professors that prepared her for graduate school and beyond.
When I first started at UTC, I was not 100% sure what I wanted to pursue. I had entered college with a different major and while I enjoyed my time, I decided to become a history major after taking several courses with Dr. Kuby. Given that I had spent most of my childhood moving around to new places as part of a military family, I had always been surrounded by history, both at home and abroad. Joining the history department felt like the best fit for my interests and career goals, and I could not have made a better decision in my undergraduate career!
The different professors I had during my time at UTC were instrumental in helping me shape myself into the best student I could be. I was able to take a variety of courses that suited my historical interests, from the American Gilded Age with Dr. Kuby to Early-Modern Britain with Dr. White. Dr. Thompson assisted me in finding an internship to complete several credit hours as well as provide me with a bit of professional experience, which ended up making all the difference as I entered into my graduate program. Similarly, taking a study-abroad course with Dr. Swanson allowed me to complete the class project in a new environment while introducing me to filmmaking and an area of history I had never studied before. The research paper that I wrote in Dr. Robison’s senior seminar course ended up being a component of my graduate school application for Middle Tennessee State University, where I am now pursuing my Master of Arts in Public History.
In addition to making progress in the program, I was awarded an assistantship and I am working as a research assistant at the Gore Center in exchange for a tuition waiver. The internship I completed while at UTC prepared me for my required internship in my MA program, which I’m completing at Nashville’s Metro Historical Commission, and helped develop my research skills. I’m also working at the TN State Museum in Nashville as a part-time Educator and Program Assistant.
Although it has been over two years since I graduated from UTC, the experiences I had there and the professors who helped me along the way continue to be a vital source of support while I grow as a professional. I encourage anyone to reach out, see what the department has to offer, and join a great group of professors and students!
Highlights from Marley’s work:
The first exhibit I completed in spring 2019, “A Great and Noble Undertaking: Remembering Tennesseans in WWII,” for which I created the title, preliminary text, and curated most of the objects/photos.
Read more: “MTSU unveils new exhibit on Tennessee’s ties to D-Day,” Daily News Journal
An event that the Gore Center hosted in September 2019. I had read a draft of Dr. Badger’s book [Albert Gore, Sr.: A Political Life, by Anthony J. Badger] last year and did a lot of preliminary research for the overall exhibit which was curated by my supervisor, Sarah Calise. I was responsible for curating this small case on the Vietnam War.
Read more: “Former Vice President Al Gore speaks at MTSU about his father’s political life,” Daily News Journal