2016–2017 Events

Third-Annual History Presentation Extravaganza

The History Presentation Extravanganza challenges graduate students to give a five-minute talk that summarizes a part of their research, followed by a four-minute Q&A with the audience. The presentations must engage diverse audiences—a crucial skill crucial for everything from teaching to quick encounters at conferences, engaging those from other fields during job interviews, and convincing people of the value of your work. A panel of judges assesses each presentation for quality, substance, style, and accessibilty, with prizes awarded to the top three students. PhD candidate Chris Dunlap, captured the extravaganza's value for participants in the blog, AHA Today.

Online Teaching: Methods and Approaches for the Virtual Classroom

The Department of History's Pedagogy Workshop and Making History Work partner to hosted a workshop designed to help you learn more about the ins and outs of online teaching. The session was led by Helen Veit, associate professor of history at Michigan State University and specialist in online learning, and Kate Merkle-Hess, assistant professor of history and Asian studies and director of undergraduate studies at Penn State University. Veit and Merkle-Hess provided an introduction to the world of online learning, practical tips on what knowledge and skills needed to adapt teaching for the virtual classroom, and advice on how graduate students can best position themselves for the ever-increasing number of teaching positions that involve some element of online instruction.

Public Speaking Workshops

Whether we are talking about our research, teaching students, delivering a paper, or leading a meeting, the ability to convey ideas and information effectively is central to our work as historians. Making History Work sponsored a series of six Public Speaking Workshops where graduate students refined their communication skills in a fun, friendly, and constructive environment. The theme of the workshops varied week to week, but each focused on topics such as crafting an elevator speech, impromptu speaking, and how to use body language and verbal cues to enhance presentations. 

Job Materials Workshop for Non-Academic Careers and Internships

This workshop provided an overview for applying to internships or non-academic careers: how to read a job ad, the basics of the cover letter, crafting your own career narrative, and how to translate a curriculum vitae into a résumé.

Engaged Historians: The Art of Writing for the Public

How might we as historians might think about engaging with a broader public? Professors Kathleen Belew and Fredrik Albritton Jonsson discussed their experiences translating academic work for a wider audience and the impact and afterlife of those pieces.

Digital Humanities Workshop: Introduction to GIS

GIS allows you to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and present geographic data on maps. Taylor Hixson, the GIS resident librarian, discussed how to find and georectify old maps to use in history research and software options. Emily Forden, a history graduate student, shared how GIS has shaped her research. Attendees could sign up for a tutorial on the process of creating a map and plotting data for their own research.

Alumni Lunch: Jessica Neptune, PhD '12 (US history), associate director of National Programs for the Bard Prison Initiative and director of the BPI in Chicago

After graduation Jessica Neptune was named an ACLS Public Fellow and served as an expert on incarceration and criminal justice policy for the Obama Administration's Federal Interagency Reentry Council and within the US Department of Health & Human Services. The Bard Prison Initiative in Chicago gives men and women in state prisons access to a full liberal-arts education while incarcerated. Neptune discussed her career trajectory and provided advice for those seeking careers in the government, nonprofits, and higher education.

Headshots and Happy Hour

Alan Klehr returned to take free professional headshots.

Alumni Lunch: Fred Beuttler, PhD ’95 (US history), assistant dean of liberal arts programs of the Graham School and former Congressional historian

Fred Beuttler taught at a small college for five years, worked as an institutional historian for the University of Illinois at Chicago and the US House of Representatives, and as a director of general education at Carroll University. He is now the associate dean of liberal arts at the Graham School at the University of Chicago.

To Self-Promote or Not to Self-Promote? A Conversation for Graduate Students about Networking, Publishing, and Online Presence

Recent advice for graduate students on how to land a job in a tough tenure-track market has emphasized the necessity of "branding" and active "self-promotion" to set themselves apart from the rest of the applicant pool. But are networking, social media, and an online presence really as crucial for historians? Emily Swafford, PhD '14 and manager of academic affairs for the AHA, led a conversation on whether or not this advice makes sense, and how you might choose to follow it (or not!).

Digital Humanities Workshop: Introduction to Ocular Character Recognition 

Does your research require sifting through large amounts of records or archival material? Are you curious to learn more about digital history? Would you like to become more familiar with the specific tools historians use to push the discipline in new directions? Optical Character Recognition (OCR) converts documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files, or images captured by a digital camera, into editable and searchable data. This session provided a broad overview of OCR softwar and applications for historical research. Presenters were history and students who use technology and experts from the Resource Computing Center and the Visual Resources Center.