Alumni of COPLAC-sponsored and -funded distance digital liberal arts seminars have gone on to do incredible things in a wide variety of professions, taking their course experiences with them.

Photo portait of Dara Fillmore, an alum of COPLAC distance mentoring courses. She is pictured working at a table with archival documents.


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.

Headshot of former student Cara Forbes


I took A Burning Idea in Spring 2018, and I just graduated this past May (2019) with my Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in United States Ethnic Studies. I made my return home to the Cherokee Qualla Boundary where I recently completed a business training with my tribe's Division of Commerce. I'm working on establishing my business, Deer Reader Author Services, as an LLC. I've been juggling several clients who are all in different phases of their book writing, publishing, and marketing journeys. I'm also about to leave for a cross country trip with an organization called RezHope. We're going to be raising awareness of recovery from substance abuse and behaviorial health issues in Indian Country for over a month. We'll be traveling through different reservations and speaking at several organizations across the United States.

Photo portait of Chris Hightower, an alum of COPLAC distance mentoring courses. He is pictured standing in a row of archival shelving units.


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.

Headshot of former student Megan Kraus


After taking the COPLACDigital course Voices of Migration, I have been more aware of interview technique and website design, which has helped me to promote various campus organization and broaden my professional qualifications. This summer (2019), I will be participating in an intensive Turkish immersion experience through the Critical Language Scholarship. I have also received a Fulbright to be an English Teaching Assistant in Asturias, Spain, next year.

Photo portait of Meaghan Papeika, a COPLACDigital alum.


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.

Headshot of former student Joy Stephansen


Since graduating the University of Minnesota - Morris in May 2018, I moved back to the Twin Cities to work in career services administration event planning. I work on the University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair, which is open to all UMN students and recent alumni from all five UMN campuses. Because this event reaches such a large population, my work is all about organizing and prioritizing information while collaborating with a team of seven working committees. Together, we serve the 300+ employers and 2,500+ candidates that attend the event annually. The COPLACDigital Cultural Crossroads class was my first exposure to "remote accountability" and website creation, which are critical skills in my current work. I'm also responsible for interpreting data from participant evaluations that drives marketing. Seeing this project through from beginning to end built up my confidence in the workplace, and I still show off my project website as a sample of work. It even landed me another part-time position as an online administrator for the Minnesota Career Development Association. I will be assisting in their marketing efforts and simplify our internal communication as I connect with more career development individuals.

Photo portait of Julia Wood, an alum of COPLAC distance mentoring courses.


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.