Department of History, December 2020
What can you do with a history major? Anything you want.
It’s easy to doubt the value of degrees in humanities like history in the face of endless jokes about people earning their degrees and then working as baristas.
Recent media coverage—in articles like “In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure”, “Business Does Not Need the Humanities —But Humans Do,” and "The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors"—suggests otherwise. A degree in history can help people achieve in any field they choose. Alumni from the IU Department of History provide a great example of how a history degree can become a thriving career in fields ranging from museum work to to law to software design.
An IUB History degree can also take you overseas. The current ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm, earned his BA in History & Economics from IUB in 1980 and then entered the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State shortly after. He was promoted into the Senior Foreign Service in 2001 before serving as the ambassador to East Timor. Klemm became the ambassador to Romania in 2015.
Students like Kathleen Tonkovich (BA, 2008; right) who followed their passion for history drew on a wide range of IUB history classes like Democratic Revolutions, Blood & Guts: Western Medicine, Photographing History, and Working in the Archives. This past February, we highlighted the wide range of careers that these experiences lead to at “You Majored in What? Careers in History”. The event brought together eight history alumni and current professors to talk to students about career potentials with a history degree. To name a few, Andrew Owen is a Deputy Attorney General for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Joan Troyano is a Digital Project Manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, and Therese Okraku now works as a Design Researcher at Microsoft.
The skills accrued while studying history here take our alumni into a wide range of careers, and those alumni take Bloomington with them as they travel the world. The sketch of the Sample Gates above, was even drawn by an alumna, Dr. Erin Corber, PhD, 2013.
As you think about your path forward, our alumni are an excellent guide. Look to their past as you prepare to face your future.