History Alumni Day: Career Talk
The UNH history department held its fifth annual Alumni Appreciation Day on Thursday, April 20th. Alumni from all over New England came back to campus to visit classes, spend time with their old professors and attend the Undergraduate Research Conference. This year, for the first time, Alumni Day featured a panel of distinguished alumni, who shared their experiences about their time at UNH, and talked about how their study of history has shaped their professional careers. They also offered advice to students about how to succeed after UNH and also make their mark in the world.
In addressing a question from one of the students in attendance about how to make a difference today, Tito Jackson, Boston city council member and class of '99, roused the crowd by urging her and everyone “not to wait until you are old to lead. There are plenty of opportunities for you every day to take a leadership role… seize them.” Cindy Borovick, class of '85 and business intelligence director of the multinational technology firm F5, tackled the problem of how newly minted history graduates can get started on their career path. “Chunk down the problem like you would in any research paper. Get your resume done, get a linked-in account, start calling people and getting informational interviews.” Elizabeth Rollins Mauran, class of '79 who now takes on volunteer leadership roles in numerous non-profit organizations, jumped in to add that “students need to be aggressive about making connections with alumni. Call us on the phone, or email us and ask for informational meetings or a chance to talk about opportunities at our businesses.” Mark Lane, class of '90 and founder and operator of Coed Sportswear, echoed the comments of other panel members: “Make sure that you keep a rolodex of contacts. These are the people who are going to help you get your first job, and your second job, all through your career.” He added that he loved to hear from UNH grads, and always had time to offer advice and discuss ways to get into the job market.
When asked about how their history degrees played a role in their careers, all of the panelists agreed that the skills they learned at UNH were crucial to their success. Mark Lane emphasized: “I thought that the M.B.A. I earned here would be the most important thing for me as I started a business. But it turned out that the analytical skills, the communication skills, and ability to talk about my ideas and listen to the ideas of other people, those are the things that made me a successful businessman.” Liz Mauran added that “sixty percent of the leaders of America’s largest corporations are liberal arts graduates, and many of these are historians. The skills you learn analyzing texts and composing arguments are essential in all types of professions.” Mark Lane jumped in saying: “We can teach you the specific skill-set necessary to do a particular task, but we need you to be able to have the big picture, and to put ideas together on your own.” Tito Jackson had a somewhat different take, saying: “Studying history at UNH helped me to find myself, and to learn who I was, and that was what allowed me to find my own way and start my career. What I learned in history ultimately led me to politics, and still helps me as a politician. How did things get to be the way they are, and how can we fix them; that is what history is all about.” Responding to a question about how a knowledge of history can help in high technology, which is so forward looking, Cindy Borovick answered: “Knowing how technology developed in the past, and the trends of how it was used and then replaced is crucial for my job, because I need to be able to model these trends in making decisions about what my company is going to do in the future. Making revolutionary change in high tech requires a solid grounding in the past.” All four panelists agreed that students and graduates should pursue what they love. They had all fallen in love with history in college, and the passion that they felt then has continued to inspire them to pursue their passions ever since.
Department of History | Phone (603) 862-1764 | Fax (603) 862-1502
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