Alumni Update: Robin Simonton Appears on Radio Show

Robin Simonton, Executive Director of the Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC, and graduate of EIU’s Historical Administration program, recently appeared on VoiceAmerica.com radio’s The Museum Life with Carol Bossert. During the show, which you can listen to here, Robin explains the history of cemeteries, their role in community building and the variety of innovative programming that they offer.

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Robin Simonton has been the Executive Director of Historic Oakwood Cemetery since November of 2011. She holds a BA in US History from the University of Hawaii and an MA in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University. Robin’s graduate school internship was with Jekyll Island State Historic Site off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia.  After she graduated from Eastern Illinois, she returned to Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines in Raleigh.  She served in various capacities there, but ended as the Program and Volunteer Services Executive at Girl Scouts — North Carolina Coastal Pines in 2011.  While there, she planned historic trips for the girls to participate in to Savannah, as well as developed local historic programming for the Girl Scouts.  She also created the event Monumental Fun at Historic Oakwood Cemetery for Girl Scouts to enjoy.

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Robin Simonton on the grounds of Oakwood Cemetery with students from William Peace University (photo: Robin Simonton).

She left the Girl Scouts 5 years ago for her dream job and continues to develop educational programming for schools, seniors, church groups and universities at the Cemetery.

Robin wrote a chapter in the book Cemetery Tours and Programming: A Guide, by Rachel Wolgemuth in 2016.  She is co-authoring an Arcadia Publishing book on the Cemetery which will come out in 2017.

Robin and her husband Jeff live in Raleigh with their son, 6 year old Cullen. Contact Robin via email at robin@historicoakwood.com.

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!

Eastern’s History Department On the Road

IMAG0716For Josh Fulton (EIU MA in History, 2007) it must have seemed like a blast from the past: sitting in a classroom watching Newton Key and Ed Wehrle ply their trade. But this time, it was Fulton’s own classrooms at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, where he has been a tenure-track faculty member for the past five years. For Drs. Wehrle and Key, who each “guest lectured” in one of Fulton’s classes, the visit on 4 December was a chance to connect with community college students who might consider transferring to Eastern. It also offered an opportunity to touch base with alumni like Josh and Matthew Berry (also MA in History, 2007)—an analyst and modeler at the Argonne National IMAG0710Laboratory, who slipped away from the lab for a few hours to join the mini-reunion. Melissa Greco (MA in History, 2010), who also teaches at Moraine, stopped by to say hello after teaching her African History class. We all look forward to constructing stronger ties between our two Illinois campuses.

The Great War Comes to Mattoon, courtesy EIU Graduate Student

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Mark Stanford, current Eastern Illinois University Masters in History student, presented a talk in Mattoon’s contribution to the Great War based on news reports from 1917 and 1918, on 9 November (photo from Times-Courier, 10 Nov.). The talk was in conjunction with the opening of The Coles County Historical Society exhibit “The Great War Comes to Coles County,”  at the Mattoon Railroad Depot. Aaron Walk, a graduate of Eastern’s Masters in History program, is the Historical Society’s Operations Manager.

2014 History Careers Day

The History Department hosted its annual History Careers Day on Friday, February 21. The event featured students, faculty, staff and alumni talking about internships, graduate school, grants and fellowships, professional history work and all kinds of other career advice.

Many members of the EIU community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) came for all or part of the event.

Many members of the EIU community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) came for all or part of the event.

Dr. Sace Elder, Chair of the History Careers Day Committee introduces our first panel of the day

Dr. Sace Elder, Chair of the History Careers Day Committee introduces our first panel of the day

(from back to front) Dr. Charles Foy, Dr. Ed Wehrle and Dr. Sace Elder discuss internship and fellowship opportunities--very important in today's job market!

Dr. Charles Foy (center), Dr. Ed Wehrle (back) and Dr. Sace Elder (front) discuss internship and fellowship opportunities–very important in today’s job market!

Undergraduate student Amy Wywialowski (left) and graduate student Stephanie Templin (right) describe their public history internships

Undergraduate student Amy Wywialowski (left) and graduate student Stephanie Templin (right) describe their public history internships

(from left to right) Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Dr. Lee Patterson, and Dr. Mark Hubbard talk about their research

(from left to right) Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Dr. Lee Patterson, and Dr. Mark Hubbard talk about their research.

Our keynote speaker, EIU History alum and Director of Field Services for the Illinois Association of School Boards, Dr. Patrick Rice, on the importance of school boards

Our keynote speaker, EIU History alum and Director of Field Services for the Illinois Association of School Boards, Dr. Patrick Rice, on the importance of school boards.

Dr. Newton Key (left) listens to EIU Career Counselor Bobbi Kingery (right) taking about the strong job skills that a history degree provides: research, writing, and analytical thinking, just for starters!

Dr. Newton Key (left) listens to EIU Career Counselor Bobbi Kingery (center) talk about the strong job skills that a history degree provides: research, writing, and analytical skills, just for starters.

Dr. Patrick Rice (left) with Chris Carron  (right), Director of Collections at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and alum of Eastern Illinois University's Historical Administration Program

Dr. Patrick Rice (left) with Chris Carron (right), Director of Collections at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and alum of Eastern Illinois University’s Historical Administration Program

Crystal Abbey, M.A. alum who is now at the Vermont Law School was able to join us via Skype. Here she poses with two of her grad professors: Dr. Elder (left) and Dr. Key (right). Crystal's advice? "Get an M.A. in History from EIU!"

Crystal Abbey, M.A. alum who is now at the Vermont Law School, was able to join us via Skype. Here she poses with two of her grad professors: Dr. Elder (left) and Dr. Key (right). Crystal’s advice? “Get an M.A. in History from EIU!”

History MA Alum Wins State Teaching Award

Villa Grove social studies teacher and EIU MA History alum Kyle Osborne has been recognized as this year’s Smart/Maher VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award winner for the state of Illinois at the high school level. Each year the Veterans of Foreign Wars bestow these awards upon the nation’s top elementary, junior high and high school teachers who promote civic responsibility and help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs.