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Rachel Hartman

History

Email: k10rh01@kzoo.edu
Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Major: History
Study Abroad: Erlangen, Germany
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Moose Tracks


In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Great professors and interesting classes that challenge how you view history.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I’ve been interested in history for my entire life and always knew I wanted to study it in college, K’s history department has definitely not disappointed me.  I’ve taken at least one history class every quarter so far because there are always new ones that grab my attention while looking through courses.  Even taking courses in topics or time periods that I wasn’t previously interested in have all turned out great and I’ve learned a lot about areas of history that I wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to without these classes.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Doing research for papers and studying for exams can be super overwhelming at first, so make sure to talk to your professors about any issues you’re having. They’re all incredibly nice and love to help students do well in their classes, never feel intimidated to go to office hours or speak to them after class!

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
Going to Germany for study abroad and being able to experience a lot of the things I’ve studied throughout Europe was incredible, I especially loved going to Berlin and seeing first-hand how the Cold War division of the city is still very noticeable. I have an internship this summer in the education office at the National Archives – developing education programs using primary sources and documents from the archives and teaching students and teachers how to effectively use primary sources – which is a really interesting and new way for me to interact with history.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
I think the most important thing to do at K is to find a group or organization that you really enjoy participating in and join it! Whether one or more than one group, finding a group on campus that you feel like you belong in is, I think, very important to having a good time here.  I joined Ultimate Frisbee my freshman year and my K experience would be so different and I wouldn’t have met any of the people I consider my closest friends had I not joined.  Finding whatever it is that you’re interested in and putting time into it is really worth the extra effort!

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Dr. Barclay’s Germany and Central Europe class. I love modern European history, especially German, and German history is Dr. Barclay’s main focus, so combining how interested I was in the subject already with how much Dr. Barclay knew about it—especially his personal experiences in Germany—made for a great class.

What is your SIP?
A comparative biography of President Richard Nixon and Willy Brandt – the Chancellor of West Germany from 1969-1974 (the same years Nixon was President).  The two leaders have a lot of life experiences in common – such as both resigning from office in 1974 because of scandals, being born in the same year, and dying only 2 years apart. I’m looking forward to learning more about their political lives and how they compare, especially concerning the aftermath of their respective scandals.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I have absolutely zero specifics figured out; I’m really bad at planning for the future, but definitely grad school! And a gap year where I can hopefully get a cool history job, or I’ve been looking at year-long jobs back in Germany for post-grad because I would love to return there.

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