Alumni of COPLAC-sponsored and -funded distance digital liberal arts seminars have gone on to do incredible things, taking their course experiences with them.
After completing COPLAC's Century America project, I went on to graduate with a self-designed Bachelor's degree in public history from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. I am currently using the skills I gained through Century America working at a local museum, doing everything from giving tours of a ship and a mansion, to conducting oral history interviews, creating exhibits, sorting and digitizing historic ship images, helping with events, and working as an assistant to the archivist. I am also working under a short-term grant at a university archive. There, I have archived a collection of nearly 9,200 technical drawings of ships. The next steps in the process are creating an online searchable database and writing articles. In my free time, I enjoy playing folk instruments, taking photos, gardening, and visiting with friends from around the world.
Shortly after participating in COPLAC's Century America project, I graduated from the University of Montevallo with an undergraduate degree in history. The following fall, I continued my education in the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program at the University of Alabama, where I was fortunate enough to explore my interests in the area of archival studies. In November 2015 I relocated to Seattle, Washington, where I accepted a position working for University of Washington Medicine. In my current role within UW Medicine’s Records Management Services, I serve as a Database and Content Analyst, and I am involved in the management of a variety of public records. The experiences that I had working with historical records during the Century America project directly inform my understanding of the evidential, informational, and historical value of the records I work with each day, and the skills I gained building my Century America website continue to help me in my work as an information professional.
After participating in The Social Life of Books, I graduated from Shepherd University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public History and English Literature. Now I’m serving in AmeriCorps as a Preservation Coordinator, working with a local historic landmarks commission and the Randolph County Historical Society in West Virginia. In this position, I am responsible for managing online media, creating educational programs and tours, caring for museum and archival collections, and generally sharing information about history and historic preservation in small communities. For one of my projects, I have been creating an interactive online map that explains the architectural and historic significance of the buildings in a downtown historic district. Every day, I am lucky enough to use the technical and communication skills I gained in The Social Life of Books to create visually appealing ways to preserve history.
Soon after completing the Century America project, I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography and with a certificate in GIS. I have since been working as a contractor for the federal government in the DC area, and while I work in the IT field, I have been able to apply many of the skills I acquired from Century America. Much of my work relies heavily on writing documentation for a variety of processes, and I have been able to apply what I learned about using appropriate language for the audience at hand. Additionally, since I manage many of my projects' databases, I have referenced what I experienced regarding the function of historical archives to more effectively organize our digital files. Even though I do not work in a history discipline, I have been able to translate much of what I learned in the Century America project to my everyday work in the technology industry and am incredibly grateful for the experience.