Emery Benson, a 2022-23 scholarship recipient, on why he chose to major in history.
I have been interested in studying history for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I enjoyed looking at maps and wondering about the differences between maps of older times. I also enjoyed visiting historic sites and hearing stories about the people and events that made their marks. As I grew older and my interest deepened, I realized just how relevant an understanding of history is to the present and how valuable it can be. I learned that an understanding of history is indispensable to an understanding of the present. History provides crucial context for today’s world, whether one’s main interests lie in activism, international relations, or even cooking. History answers the “why” questions that arise in every discipline.
The UTC History Department gives its students the skills and information necessary not just to simply pass classes, but to independently grow their interests long after a semester ends. Dr. Johnson’s Civil War in American Memory class, for instance, has remained on my mind since last semester, and I’ve already read additional books he recommended to get a better grasp of the subject. Dr. Swanson’s class on the Holocaust uncovered an interest in Vichy France and Dr. Tracy Samuel’s Debating the Middle East class gave me information, context, and a foundation for further study that I appreciate to this day, though I took the class two years ago. The benefit of pursuing a History degree at UTC comes from the stellar professors with a wide variety of specializations and knowledge. Beyond that, though, is their passion for sharing this knowledge with students. I have never had a UTC History professor who I was not totally certain genuinely cared about the teaching process. I am confident that the UTC History Department goes above and beyond in preparing its students for their careers.
The receipt of this scholarship means a great deal to me, and I cannot thank my professors enough. My passion for history has only grown at UTC, and I appreciate the context, empathy, and opportunities for growth and achievement that I have been provided.