Living History Premiere Performance on February 25 at Charleston Public Library

This year’s Women’s History and Awareness Month Living History premier performance will take place at the Charleston Public Library on Wednesday, February 25, starting at 4:30 pm.


Many of this year’s interpreters are history students, both BA and MA: Taylor Yangas, Cayla Wagner, Monica Burney, Megan Kessler, Clara Mattheessen, Dana Jarrard, and Andi Morgan. Amy Wywialowski is serving as an assistant and has helped participants with costuming.

The students will be bringing the program to a number of local elementary classrooms over the next few weeks.

A Reflection On The NCPH Careers in History Symposium 2014

From history major Brandon West:

In Real Estate the saying goes location, location, location when finding that perfect home. In History we have our own saying when trying to find that perfect job we’ve always dreamed about: networking, networking, networking. Ok maybe that’s not what all historians say but in a competitive job market this is a key component to achieving our dream job. As budding historians we look forward to the day when we graduate with our Bachelor’s Degree and can finally start working in a museum, politics, education and so on; however, just our degree alone will not, for the most part, guarantee us the career we want.

These are important lessons learned at the Careers in History Symposium that Dr. Elder and I attended at IUPUI in Indianapolis last December. The Symposium was sponsored by the National Council on Public History.

careers history symp

The day started off with a panel of professionals in the field of public history who shared a little bit about themselves and the jobs they held. Once each individual had spoken, quick breakout sessions took place in which symposium attendees could sit down and speak to each panelist about his or her education and the nature of their jobs. These panelists included a Park Service historian, archivists, curators and several others. These conversations gave each of us insight into what it would take to crack into the field of history and the steps that would be necessary to achieve success. All of the panelists stressed the importance of networking with individuals inside the field already, and getting your name out there. These suggestions included calling someone in the field already and asking if you could interview them about their job; this way your name is out there in case a job were to open up and you are able to discover the nature of that profession. They called this the “informational interview.” Another big component to success that each individual spoke about was the need for internships. One important note to make is that internships come in a variety of forms; they can either be paid (not as common) and unpaid (more common). This not only gives you a chance to build up your resume but also a list of contacts within the field.

Once these mini breakout sessions were completed we are able to have lunch at the college itself, which was quite enjoyable. Dr. Elder and I met a few students from various schools and spoke with them about their aspirations and enjoyed just casual conversation as well. After lunch there were two sessions that we could pick from to end our day. One session was geared towards students looking to go to graduate school and the other a session for those students who have a degree already and are looking to find a job within the field. The session for those who already have a degree was centered on those with a Master’s Degree or better who are having a tough time finding their career.

The message each of these sessions had in common was the overwhelming need for networking and internships. Without these two components, historians will find it difficult to attain their careers. In such a highly competitive job market, it truly is about “who you know,” and “experience is required.” Largely, these two can be achieved by internships and networking with other professionals in the field you are hoping to enter.


2015 will offer another Symposium. I would encourage any of those interested in learning about opportunities within public history to be sure to consider attending this informative and exciting seminar. If you have any questions I’m sure Dr. Elder would be happy to relay any information she may know. And anyone can also visit the National Council on Public History website directly at

2015 History Careers Day

The History Department held its third annual History Careers HCD 2015Day on Friday, February 20.

Our keynote presenter this year was Angela Scalpello. Angela, who has worked for many years as a senior human resources executive at major firms in New York City and San Francisco, shared with majors and non-majors her considerable interviewing and hiring experience as someone who understands the skills historians bring to the job market.

For our 11am panel, EIU alumni and current students discussed how they are using their history degrees.

During our third panel EIU alumni and faculty shared their experiences teaching in a variety of settings—public school, private school, and community college.

At our final panel of the day, some faculty and current graduate students discussed the joys (and challenges) of MA and PhD programs.

Thank you to all of our panelists who helped us make this year’s History Careers Day such a success!

History Major Asks, “What’s In your Backpack?”

From the desk of Dr. Sace Elder:

Has anyone ever made stereotyped assumptions about you? Have you ever been the subject of a racist or homophobic comment? Have you ever witnessed one and did not know what to do?

History major John Jaso recently posed these questions at the EIUnity Diversity Conference in the Effingham Room of the MLK, Jr., Union. During the session, titled, “What’s In Your Backpack?” Mr. Jaso created a “safe zone” for the more than thirty participants, who shared their personal experiences with racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia and discussed strategies for talking back to hurtful stereotypes.

History major John Jaso at the 2015 EIUnity Diversity Conference on February 6, 2015

History major John Jaso at the 2015 EIUnity Diversity Conference on February 6, 2015

This was the second time Mr. Jaso had run such a session, which he developed after someone close to him had been the object of hate speech and systematic discrimination. Mr. Jaso’s goal in the sessions is to get people talking about hurtful stereotypes and what we can do about them. During this particular session, the conversation started rather haltingly, as participants were rather reluctant at first to share personal experiences. But with Mr. Jaso’s patient and kind encouragement, individuals began telling stories, and soon a wide-ranging conversation developed. By the end of the hour, the room truly felt like a safe space, and before the session was over, Mr. Jaso encouraged everyone to carry the experience forward into their everyday lives, and to remember to be respectful of the contents of others’ backpacks.

History Careers Day 2015 is Coming Soon

The History Department’s 3rd annual History Careers Day will take place on Friday, February 20 at Booth Library, room 4400. Please click here to register for the event and scroll down to read about each session.

HCD 2015

2015 History Careers Day
Schedule of Events

10:00-10:50 am: Keynote Presentation: What Employers Want: Selling Yourself and Landing a Job
Come hear advice from the other side of the interview table. Our keynote presenter, Angela Scalpello, has worked for years as a senior human resources executive at major firms in New York City and San Francisco. She will be sharing her considerable interviewing and hiring experience as someone who understands the skills historians bring to the job market.

11:00-11:50 am: Alumni Panel: History and Career
Wondering what to careers are out there for historians? Come hear alumni and current students talk about how they are using their history degrees.
Presenters: James Willaert (Wade House Historic Site, Greenbush, WI) Jeffrey Lange, JD (Illinois State University), Emily Mcinerney (senior history major, EIU), Zachary Samples (College Student Affairs Graduate Program, EIU), Bobbi Kingery (Career Counselor, EIU)

12:00-12:50 pm: Lunch and Alumni Panel: Teaching (And Loving It)
Wondering about teaching as a career? In this session, alumni and faculty share their experiences teaching in a variety of settings—public school, private school, community college.
Presenters: Jarrod Taylor (Next Generation School), Austin Alexander (Lawrenceville High School), David Seiler (Lake Land College), Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz (Eastern Illinois University)

1:00-1:50 pm: Grad School Confidential: True Tales From Faculty and Students
Curious about grad school? Wondering if you should go, but can’t make up your mind? Come hear faculty and current graduate students discuss the joys (and challenges) of MA and PhD programs.
Presenters: Dr. Terry Barnhart, Dr. José Deustua, Dr. Lynne Curry, Diane Hall, Kimberly Jones

11th Annual Barry D. Riccio Lecture on March 4

From the desk of Dr. Ed Wehrle:

Rick Perlstein, best-selling author, will deliver the 11th annual Barry D. Riccio Lecture, on March 4, 2015 in the Doudna Lecture Hall, Eastern Illinois University, 7pm. Titled “The Invisible Bridge: From Reagan to Palin and Beyond,” Mr. Perlstein will explore the rise of conservativism as a political force during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Called the “hypercaffeinated Herodotus of the American century,” by The Nation magazine, Perlstein has won numerous awards including the Los Angeles Times Book Award for History. He is the author of Before the Story: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001), Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of American Consensus  (2009), and most recently Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Ronald Reagan (2014).

RiccioPoster2015 (1)

This year’s Riccio talk is co-sponsored by the History Department and the EIU Honors College. The lecture series is named for Barry D. Riccio, a longtime member of the EIU History Department who died in 2001, at the age of 46. In tribute, his friends, family and colleagues established the Barry D. Riccio History Fund in his honor. In conjunction with the EIU Department of History, the fund sponsors a lecture series with an emphasis on the history of ideas. Beginning with the inaugural lecture in 2003, the generosity of fund donors has allowed the department to bring “many of the leading lights of American intellectual history” to Eastern’s campus.

Upcoming African American Heritage Month Panel: Images of Race in American History (Feb. 11)

From the desk of Dr. Charles Foy:

As recent events have demonstrated race significantly impacts all our lives.  How does the study of history illuminate our understanding of race as a construct? On Wednesday, February 11, three of Eastern’s history professors, Drs. Charles Foy, Lynne Curry and Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, will discuss how images of race – a colonial tobacco advertisement, a portrait of an 18th century black poet, a photograph of a 19th century reflect and a 20th century photograph of civil rights demonstrators – have shaped and reflect Americans’ construction of race.​

Images of Race in American History Panel

EIU History Club at Lincoln Log Cabin

From the Co-Presidents of the History Club at EIU:

On December 6th, several members from the History Club at Eastern Illinois University volunteered at the “Civil War Christmas” event at the Lincoln Log Cabin Historic State Site. Visitors were able to see what preparing for Christmas was like for the Thomas Lincoln family and their neighbors the Sargents.

L-R: Cayla Wagner, Tom Travis, Emily McInerney

L-R: Co-President Cayla Wagner, Secretary Tom Travis, and Co-President Emily McInerney volunteering at the Lincoln Log Cabin.

Children visitors were able to do period-appropriate, holiday-themed crafts like making paper ornaments. Visitors were also welcomed by a 19th century Santa Claus, dressed in red, white, and blue to show Union support.
History Club Secretary Tom Travis donned his personal Union solider uniform and educated guests on what a solider’s Christmas may have been like on the front. He also served as Santa’s aid while greeting children.
Co-Presidents Emily McInerney and Cayla Wagner also traded modern clothing for period clothing while sitting in the Lincoln’s cabin. They, too, explained to guests what it might have been like to celebrate the holiday. ​
The History Club at EIU plans on maintaining a relationship with Lincoln Log Cabin and volunteering at future events to help educate the public about life in the 1800s.
L-R: Co-President Cayla Wagner, HA Student Amy Wywialowski, and Co-President Emily McInerney

L-R: Co-President Cayla Wagner, HA Student Amy Wywialowski, and Co-President Emily McInerney at the Lincoln Log Cabin.