Alumni Success Stories
At Georgia Southern, our mission is to make sure you’re ready to dig in from day one in an exciting career. With our hands-on history degree, you’ll be ready to roll up your sleeves and engage in exciting research, fieldwork and more. Here are just a few stories from our students and alumni about their firsthand experiences in our programs…
–Jessica Forsee: Air Force Historian at Air Force Special Operations Command
“The GSU History Department provided me with a collaborative research environment that fostered critical thinking and challenged me to go further in all aspects of my studies. I learned how to use history as a framework to inform today’s problems and as a tool to analyze multiple perspectives: economic, social, environmental, geo-political, and military. Having that research support from professors, faculty, and my fellow students was fundamental to giving me a solid transition into the workforce and preparing me for my current job as an Air Force historian at Air Force Special Operations Command. I’m part of a 5-person team where we document, in real time, how Airmen conduct specialized air power across the spectrum of operations and produce historically relevant reports and briefings to inform decision makers. In addition we maintain a digital archive of the command’s corporate memory and conduct oral history interviews with senior leaders and current operators.”
–Cassandra Day: Archivist, McCraken Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West
“The connections, experiences, and valuable tools I learned as a history major helped me achieve my goal of becoming a Certified Archivist and working at a world-class museum. The mentorship of my thesis advisor and other history professors helped me develop the interpersonal and collaborative skills that allow me to work with researchers, patrons, and colleagues in a productive and creative way. I learned valuable tools during my four years with the department, including identifying and utilizing primary and secondary resources, writing, editing, research skills, and critical thinking. I continue to use them in my everyday work responsibilities. Through the department’s Phi Alpha Theta Honors society, I gained a sense of belonging in the historical community and received real world leadership experience. GSU’s History Department really set me up for success, and I would not be where I am
today without the guidance and knowledge I gained as a history major!
Michael Jordan: Public Historian and Documentary Film Maker
“I followed a nontraditional route to a Master of Arts in Public History, squeezing in classes in between the odd hours I worked as a television news anchor and reporter at Savannah’s NBC affiliate, WSAV. It took me eight years to finish my graduate degree, but I quickly put it to use in a big way.
“Here’s how all of the classes came together to change my life: after my graduate career ended, I went on to produce more than 30 original films about Savannah history, which aired statewide on Georgia Public Broadcasting and sold thousands of copies in tourist shops through the city. These included features on Savannah’s historic homes and cemeteries as well as orientation films for the museums we studied in my classes.
“My greatest single accomplishment was probably the hourlong documentary I produced on the recovery of the wreck of the CSS Georgia, the ship that was the focus of my masters thesis. I took my scholarship to a new level by conducting more original research on the postwar salvage of the vessel, and contributed a chapter to the official archaeological report for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Today I continue to work in public history as the Director of Public Relations and Development at a National Historic Landmark museum in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I am still producing historical documentaries, including a new video about the raising of 15 Revolutionary War-era British cannons from the Savannah River. I am in the planning stages of a new book about Savannah in Revolution. Every day, I think back with appreciation and gratitude for all the knowledge and skills that I gained in the public history program close to two decades ago.”
—Alyssa Saldivar, Graduate Student in Maritime Archaeology at East Carolina University
“The education and experiences that I gained from my time as a student at Georgia Southern University gave me the tools to continue my schooling and pursue my master’s degree. As a student in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University, I use the knowledge I gained through the history department at Georgia Southern University every day. From learning how to find primary and secondary sources to learning laws and regulations regarding public history to actively conducting fieldwork, Georgia Southern University offered me every skill that I would need as a historian. I gained research and leadership skills in a supportive and knowledgeable environment, which has allowed me to accomplish any task and seize any opportunity that I have been confronted with.”
Vaughnette Goode-Walker, Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour
“I am owner/operator of Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour and share with my guests, ‘I am a Historian who gives Tours!’ Now that I have a Master in History from Georgia Southern University – Armstrong Campus. While working on the degree I traveled to Jamaica to research and create a Footprints of Kingston Tour as my project in Dr. Amy Potter’s Introduction to the Geography of Tourism. The course work in that class has added to my effectiveness as a current member of the Board of Directors of both the Savannah Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah. I am also more adept at research, from credible sources, from Georgia Southern University’s Digital History class.”
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Last updated: 9/6/2023