Pratima Kandel’s AMST 201 Featured in Free Lance-Star

Computer Science major Pratima Kandel’s AMST 201 project on modern-day slavery has received some well-deserved coverage from the Free Lance-Star.  Check out the Domain of One’s Own website that she built here.

Summer Internship at Mount Vernon



Click here for information about this internship.

Congratulations to Brexton O’Donnell

Brexton O’Donnell, a history major in Dr. Kimberly Kutz’s Civil War in Popular Culture course, is going to have his book review of Bruce Levine’s The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South published in The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era, Volume 4, Issue 1 (2014).

Cheers to Brexton on his forthcoming publication!

Careers: Caitlin Murphy, Digital Native (’12)

Caitlin Murphy ’12 knew she was prepared for a job that combined her history and digital studies degrees and thought a position at PBS would be the perfect fit.

Caitlin Murphy '12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

Caitlin Murphy ’12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

Not long after she submitted her application, Murphy got a call from the internationally renowned public broadcasting network. They had reviewed her resume and delved into her online portfolio, which she developed while a student at the University of Mary Washington, and it wasn’t long before she had the job.

“When I applied for the position, they said my online portfolio was one of the main reasons they had contacted me,” Murphy said. “It really helped me get a foot in the door. I don’t think I would have gotten called if I hadn’t had the portfolio I did.”

Murphy is a program associate at the PBS headquarters just outside Washington, D.C. She screens upcoming programs, like “Masterpiece Theatre” or “Foyle’s War,” to make sure they meet PBS’ standards.

The position requires an eye for detail and the ability to research, skills Murphy said she honed while a student at UMW.

“Caitlin took full advantage of the liberal arts experience at UMW,” said Jeff McClurken, chair and professor of history and American studies. “Not only was she a history major who wrote a thesis that earned her departmental honors, but she also crafted a second major in digital studies, anticipating our development of the formal digital studies minor by nearly two years.”

Murphy's online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Murphy’s online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Her digital studies major combined her passion for history with her love of technology in a multi-disciplinary way, combining classes in English, art, history, computer science with ds106, UMW’s open online digital storytelling course.

Murphy’s portfolio, which she shared during her job interview with PBS, included work from her classes and internships, as well as her work on the James Farmer Lectures project.

“She co-produced a site making the words, sounds and images of Civil Rights leader James Farmer available to anyone,” McClurken said. “She then took an assignment in my class to create a digital portfolio and ran with it, producing an amazing site featuring her projects in several classes in multiple departments.  It’s no surprise to me that PBS hired her based on her work.”

Now, all incoming students have the opportunity to create an online presence like Murphy, through the Domain of One’s Own initiative, launched in August 2013. The pioneering project provides free, personal domain names and web hosting to help students take responsibility for their online identities, as well as explore the implications of what it might mean for them to take control of their work and manage their own portfolios.

“Mary Washington does a really great job of providing opportunities for students,” said Murphy. “A lot of departments are working really hard to integrate digital media into day to day classes and projects. The integration of creating a website, blog or video project to create content that is still valid and historical really provided something a traditional class didn’t.”

This article by Brynn Boyer was originally published at the EagleEye Newsletter on October 31st, 2013, and is republished here by permission.

Leah Tams (’14): A Scene from a Summer Internship

As reported earlier, History major Leah Tams (’14) spent this summer working as an intern with the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington, D.C. She worked with the Institutional History Division, assisting in the development of public exhibits, programs, and archival collections. Leah also composed reports for the Smithsonian’s public blog, including an intriguing account of her own work on an online exhibit of historical postcards and—a classic archival mystery—the challenges of dating them. For more, see Leah Tams, “The Mystery of the Undated Postcards,” at The Bigger Picture – Exploring Archives and Smithsonian History (23 July 2013).

Image: Postcard of Continental Uniforms, 1942, by Curt Teich & Co., Linen, Record Unit 65, Box 16, Folder: Postcards, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Neg. no. SIA2013-07812. From Leah Tams’ post, cited above.

Internship News: Lindsay Cutler (’12)

As part of our ongoing series this summer on student internships, Lindsay Cutler (class of 2012) is happy to share her own story of internships during her time as an American Studies major at UMW. She also discusses her steps in coursework and career-building since graduation in her letter below. Many thanks, Lindsay!

“As a student at Mary Washington, I was able to develop my personal passion for American Indian history and policy through the History and American Studies Department interdisciplinary course offerings. In the summer of 2011, I had the unique opportunity to attend Sinte Gleska, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal College on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. I completed courses in the Lakota Studies Department and completed a senior research project on contemporary cultural politics, for which I interacted directly with University faculty and Rosebud Tribal Leadership.

When I returned to Mary Washington in the fall of 2011, I was awarded an Office of Undergraduate Research grant for my senior American Studies thesis to travel to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Connecticut. My research and thesis examined the relationship between the politics tribal gaming at the Foxwoods Casino and Mashantucket Pequot cultural identity.

In my final semester at Mary Washington, I was able to directly pursue my academic background and passions through an internship with the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. As a communications intern with the newly formed policy program, I drafted and edited Center publications and letters, connected with American Indian initiatives and programs across the country, and assisted with general program development.”

I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer on the Laguna Pueblo in Laguna, New Mexico with the Elev8 New Mexico grassroots community schools initiative. I hope to further pursue my interest in Native American policy by attending law school in the fall of 2014 with a focus on American Indian law and public health.”


Students and Faculty Present Papers at OHMAR Joint Meeting

Professor Jess Rigelhaupt and three history students, Josephine Appiah, Kelsey Matthews, and Kendall Simonpietri, presented papers at the joint meeting of the Society for the History in the Federal Government (SHFG) and Oral History Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) on April 4, 2013. The panel, “Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Oral History, Digital History, and Memories of the World War II Home Front,” was based on work from Professor Rigelhaupt’s fall 2012 oral history course. The panel discussed the public history website,, that was built as part of the course and students presented research based on their interviews. Professor Rigelhaupt presented a paper on teaching oral history. Dr. Lu Ann Jones, a historian with the National Park Service served as the commentator.

Professor Rigelhaupt introduces the panel.

SHFG/OHMAR-Panel Introduction, “Rosie the Riveter Revisited” from UMW History on Vimeo.

Josephine Appiah, “Reevaluating Our Cultural Understanding of World War II”

SHFG/OHMAR – Appiah, “Reevaluating Our Cultural Understanding of World War II” from UMW History on Vimeo.

Kelsey Matthews, “A Personal Perspective: Oral Histories of the World War II Homefront”

SHFG/OHMAR – Matthews, “A Personal Perspective: Oral Histories of the World War II Homefront” from UMW History on Vimeo.

Kendall Simonpietri, “Not Everyone’s Rosie: Different Reactions to the Interview Process”

SHFG/OHMAR – Simonpietri, “Not Everyone’s Rosie: Different Reactions to the Interview Process” from UMW History on Vimeo.

Jess Rigelhaupt, “Born Digital: Teaching Oral History to Create Public History”

SHFG/OHMAR – Rigelhaupt, “Born Digital: Teaching Oral History to Create Public History” from UMW History on Vimeo.

Commentator and Audience Q & A

SHFG/OHMAR – Q & A from UMW History on Vimeo.