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Alumni Profiles

 

Jessica LeafJessica Leaf (class of 2014) recalls her UD experience:

Most people do not believe me when I say I was a history major. I mean, what does history have to do with saving people? The historian is that overly-erudite individual locked away in the library, a veritable Gollum mumbling "my precious" over fragments of ancient parchment and fossilized Viking feces (yes, there is such a thing).

And me? Well, I dress in very, very bright colours, adore Florence and the Machine, and have dedicated the remainder of my life to the eradication of human trafficking. Since graduating from the University of Dallas in December 2013, I have been a part of The A21 Campaign, an international organization that works tirelessly to abolish the injustice of modern slavery in the 21st century. Through its four-prong approach, that is partnership, protection, prevention and prosecution, The A21 Campaign offers individuals of all ages, occupations and genders the opportunity to be modern abolitionists, using their unique skills and talents.

Yet, you may ask, what does that have to do with my degree? Everything. My time at UD helped me discover my talents, giving me a unique set of intellectual skills that has allowed me to become my own kind of abolitionist. As Confucius (purportedly) once said, "study the past if you would define the future." Through my study of history, I have been able to define a future where all men and women are free. Indeed, learning history at UD has given me a vision to fight for, much like Constantine's legendary Chi-Rho.


Grace BallorGrace Ballor graduated from the University of Dallas in 2012 and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in European Economic History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her doctoral dissertation, directed by Dr. Ivan Berend, analyzes the historical relationship between the private and public sectors in twentieth century Europe and studies the role of multinational firms in European integration and the development of the European Union.

"The University of Dallas History Department, its rigorous curriculum and generous faculty mentors led me from my early academic career as a Classicist through the timeline of Western Civilization to a Politics degree focused on Enlightenment thought and eventually to a History thesis on the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy and its effect on French wine growers. It was that thesis, advised by UD’s Charles Sullivan, which propelled me into doctoral research on the European Union. Such a progressive trajectory actually proves the value of the historical methodology and an education grounded in its attention to primary source documents, respect for contingency, tools of analysis, and critical thinking—an education that readies one for success in any field. And History at UD in particular, woven into the fabric of the Core, builds an intellectual foundation so robust that its students cannot help but succeed."


Jose HealyJosé Healy graduated from the University of Dallas in 2012, a few months after writing his history thesis which assessed the impact of the emerging U.S. Federal Reserve System and its policies in the years after the monumental stock market crash of 1929.

The research and writing skills honed through UD's liberal arts education, and the history program specifically, helped him transition to his current position at The Wall Street Journal, where he has helped produce the Latin American online and print editions since September 2012 by translating, adapting and editing articles. Though Livy, Homer and More don't make the headlines every day at the Journal, the intellectual habits formed from studying these authors and many others during his four years at UD continue to inform his daily decisions and actions, both inside and outside the office.


Madeleine Klem

Madeleine Klem (class of 2012) recalls her UD experience:

I am currently a doctoral student in history at the University of Notre Dame.

My time as a history major at the University of Dallas was a wonderful preparation for graduate school. The department, and particularly the experience of writing my senior thesis, provided an excellent introduction to the discipline. In fact, my current research developed out of and builds on my senior thesis. But perhaps more importantly, studying history at UD in the context of the Core trained me to assume that there should be conversations across and among disciplines. And that habit, I am convinced, makes for more interesting and compelling historical questions.

UD's combination of strong majors, like history, and the Core's breadth and depth is powerful and I wouldn't trade it for anything.


Peter Raia (class of 2012) recalls his UD experience:

History Alumnus, Peter RaiaMy senior thesis, entitled "The Baconian Legacy in Great Britain: Three Moments in the History of Science and Technology," explored and expounded upon the substantial association between the program of Baconian science and the process of industrialization in Great Britain, which contributed to the significant rise in wealth in the West. Writing this thesis truly was the capstone of my education at UD, as it allowed me to combine the diverse elements of a liberal arts education into a single unified project. My time in the history department at UD was, without doubt, some of the most formative in my life. I am incredibly blessed to have been able to work with the outstanding faculty  of UD's history department. I learned so much more than just the facts and stories that were the context for their classes; I learned skills that have been crucial in helping me develop and progress as an individual and as a professional. From Professor Cupp I learned the importance and utility of always having a detailed outline of where I want to go. From Professor Gibson I learned how to make detailed but concise presentations, as well as how to effectively use PowerPoint presentations without boring my students or audience. I am eternally grateful to all of my professors at UD, but especially to Dr. Sullivan, who taught me how vital it is, not only to think critically, but to think creatively. His brilliance and passion for history have been truly inspirational for me.

All of these skills have combined to help put me where I am today. I am currently both the Social Media Director and the Stage Manager for The All-American Boys Chorus, a world-renowned, non-profit organization of music education and leadership training for boys. My training in the History Department at UD has enabled me to better analyze our situation, and to think creatively on how to improve it. Since I started as the Social Media Director, we have expanded to several new outlets and increased our online following by over 40%. I am currently responsible for developing and managing all aspects of the Chorus's Social Media face, including advertising, video production, and base involvement. Additionally,  as the Stage Manager for the Chorus, I have had the opportunity to tour both nationally and internationally, including trips throughout Asia and Australia.

In addition to working for the AABC, I have also been spending my time since graduation volunteering as an Adult Literacy Tutor at the local library. One of the reasons I was so interested in doing this is that I really miss the experience of tutoring for UD's History Department. It really is one of the most rewarding experiences that I got out of UD, and I'm just glad that I have been able to find a way to continue in a similar way since graduation. My history degree from UD has been such a blessing in my life, and I cannot possibly express my gratitude and appreciation for all of the History Department faculty, for their brilliance, their passion, and their dedication to their students.


MonicaMonica Abbracciamento graduated from the University of Dallas in May 2011, having combined her history degree with an International Studies concentration.  She wrote her senior thesis "Woodrow Wilson and Mexico: Writing Large in a Small Place," on American involvement in the 1910 Revolution.

She is now an advertising Account Executive. Upon graduation, she spent a year in New York City, working on the American Express brand at Ogilvy and Mather. In the fall of 2012, Monica joined The Richards Group, where she is currently responsible for managing the Wawa brand, overseeing client relationships and all aspects of creative development and execution.

 

 


History Alumna, Kaitlyn WillyWhen asked what was the most fun experience of their college career, most UD students tend to talk about Rome. For Kaitlyn Willy of the class of 2011, the answer was instead writing her History thesis about J.R.R. Tolkien’s life as a study in classical pedagogy with Dr. John Sommerfeldt as her advisor. The experience of researching and writing her thesis in the summer 2010 is one that she will treasure for many years to come. The lessons she learned along the way about research, writing, and being flexible have brought her through many more wonderful adventures, including an MA in Theology.

With a concentration in Ancient Greek and her BA in History, Kaitlyn was well prepared for the Echo Program at the University of Notre Dame, the faith formation and leadership program through which she received her MA . The History program at UD granted Kaitlyn a better understanding of the Church in the history of the world as well as a thorough knowledge of Church History, both of which have been extremely beneficial in her graduate studies and in her job at Butler University as the Director of Catholic Campus Ministry. Kaitlyn now lives in Indianapolis and still loves to read Greek and drink tea, two hobbies she picked up at UD. She continues to spend time with Homer, Faulkner, and many other dear friends she met at UD as part of the great books Core program. Feel free to contact her with any questions about the UD History program and its importance in her life at kwilly2007@gmail.com.



Rachel VogelRachel Vogel graduated from the University of Dallas in 2006. She wrote her  senior thesis on Lorenzo de'Medici and his patronage of art and philosophy in Renaissance Florence. After working as a product coordinator for FourthWall Media for two years she decided to attend graduate school. In 2009 Rachel earned her M.A. in International Political Economy at the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies in Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels she interned for Environmental Security International, assisting the CEO with policy meetings about water security for Afghanistan and Pakistan at think tanks, NATO and embassies. She also worked on the German Marshall Fund of the United States' 2009 Brussels Forum.

Returning to the States, Rachel interned for the German Marshall Fund in D.C. and then after moving back to Texas, she began work at the World Affairs Council of Houston. Rachel is now the Director of Programs at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. The Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to promote international awareness and understand and to enhance the region's global stature.

She is a member of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations and is an active sand volleyball player. She tries to travel as much as possible and has been to over twenty-one countries.

"I believe my History degree from the University of Dallas led me to graduate school, specifically in international affairs. Through studying history at UD I learned about how cultures and nations interacted in the past and I wanted to learn more about how this affects the way countries and states relate to each other now. Both degrees are beneficial to my current position in working with different embassies and foreign policy speakers."


Jerrime FobbsFun-loving, professional, and dedicated to education are a few ways Jerrime Fobbs, Advanced English Educational Instructor, would describe himself. Jerrime assumed a teaching position in June, 2011 with Chungdham Institute.

A 2005 University of Dallas alumnus, he has used his training as a history major to instill in students the urgency in pursuing 'the truth'.

His own surprise came in the form of a near life-ending event not too long after graduation. In 2006, he suffered an extreme medical complication . The compound crisis resulted in long-term hospitalization, paralysis, intense physical rehabilitation, and near fatal complications.

After a year long bout of medical treatment and rehabilitation, Jerrime attended law school only to discover a passion for teaching. He ended his legal studies and pursued alternative certification to fulfill a desire to share the knowledge that he had discovered at UD. By June 2011, Jerrime realized a dream in teaching, but 7,000 miles away in South Korea.

"Being around young children ages 10-16 has given me a greater perspective on the need for better education, regardless of the subject, for all children. My time under Professor Sullivan taught me not only patience, but a practical method to approaching challenges in a manner that would result in success," Jerrime recently said.  "I am forever grateful for my opportunity to have studied with the History professors and a host of other dedicated professionals at UD.  I feel inexpressibly blessed to have had to chance to live outside of my country and view the world all while teaching."

Though still learning the craft of teaching well, Jerrime has had some wonderfully surprising circumstances befall him in the process. Despite the physical limitations due to nerve damage, he has climbed mountains; marched with monks in honor of peace and Buddha's birthday; crisscrossed Tokyo, Seoul and Busan. 

"If anything, I have come to appreciate my time at UD even more now because it was through my time there that my present blessings find their root."


Fr. John ConnaughtonFr. John Connaughton (UD class of '98) was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT in May 2013. A history major, Fr. John wrote his thesis under Dr. Jodziewicz on black leadership in the abolitionist movement. Prior to beginning his seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome in 2008 he studied law at the University of Connecticut where he earned a J.D. and became a member of the Connecticut Bar in 2007. He is currently completing a license program at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome and will return to the Diocese of Bridgeport this summer to begin parish ministry.

"I'm truly grateful for my time at U.D. and for the education I received under the guidance of the history department. The professors were extremely dedicated to their students, and I remember they really made us work hard to get good grades in their classes—especially Dr. Swietek. A history degree from the University of Dallas is something to be proud of."


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