Digging Into Bermuda’s Slave Past

When Anima Ghimire’s history advisor recruited students for an archaeological dig in Bermuda, Ghimire instantly responded, “I’m on board!”

During the summer of 2013, Ghirmire, a double major in neuroscience and history, joined a four-student team and Professor Michael Jarvis for a five-week course excavating Smith’s Island, one of the earliest known settlements in Bermuda.

Jarvis has been working summers on the 60-acre island since 2010. The dig concentrated on what has come to be known as the “Oven Site,” named for the several stone ovens at the location.

The Oven Site is believed to be the remains of Boaz Sharpe’s house. Sharpe settled on the island in the late 1600s, and remained until his death in 1707. Sharpe’s household included nine Native American slaves, most likely from South Carolina—two older couples and their children.

The introduction of slavery to Bermuda—and especially the role of Native American slaves—is important to understanding the history of slavery in the Atlantic World.

“I didn’t really appreciate how important archaeology was until I did it,” Ghimire says.

Sifting through evidence

Excavation of the site has revealed a chimney, hearth, and several ovens. The team also uncovered hand-shaped chert flakes that had not been found in Bermuda before.

“Dr. Jarvis had an inventory that suggested these people lived there,” Ghimire explains. “But then we found evidence that this was, in fact, where Boaz Sharpe lived. We found chert stone flints that only Native Americans used.

Identifying the Oven Site’s original occupants was a major milestone for the hard-working team.


“Most of the time we dug—and it was a very meticulous process. It took us five weeks to dig five feet down,” Ghimire says. “And you can’t really use a shovel. You have to use a trowel because it’s very delicate work.

“Dr. Jarvis is really, really chill and awesome, but when it comes to archeology, he’s very organized and systematic,” she says.

“We found was a lot of fish bones. A lot, a lot, of fish bones! We also learned they kept cats,” Ghimire says.

“And there was a lot of pottery, and that was important. For example, there is a specific kind of pottery that was only made during a 30-year period. So it kind of tells us what the time period was when people settled in the house. There were a lot of clay pipes—the size of the bowl tells you when the pipe was made,” Ghimire says, explaining that the bowl sizes changed along with the fluctuations in tobacco prices throughout the 17th century, making it easy to date the artifacts.

“You can learn about people in class, but you can’t really experience what they were doing firsthand until you get to do archaeology,” she says.

Every little bone

“What was good about this year was that we got a lot of local Bermudians to volunteer. It was awesome. We had all age groups, and they were really enthusiastic. They came back everyday, so that was awesome!
“Bermudians are so chill. We talked a lot about their lifestyle, how they grew up, and their customs,” she says.

“They were really excited to find every little bone. I was too . . . at first. Then it’s like, ‘here’s another fish vertebra!’ But Dr. Jarvis never got jaded. He is so enthusiastic.”

“We were always afraid of finding human bones,” Ghimire confesses. “There was a circular area within Sharpe’s trash site that was big enough to fit a man—like a grave. And Jarvis was really reluctant to dig it, because if there was a body then we’d have to stop the dig, call in a forensic team, and everything would come to a halt. But, luckily, it was just a natural depression in the soil layer.

“It didn’t feel like five weeks, it went by so fast. It’s a six-credit course—though it didn’t seem like I was doing a lot of work because it was so much fun.”

Sharper skills

Even though Ghirmire is on a pre-med track, she says studying history has helped to her hone skills that are important to her success in medicine.

“History is a passion. It teaches me how to think, and how to see the world,” she says.

“History in college isn’t anything like it is in high school. It’s not about remembering dates. It’s about finding evidence to support why something happened. I just love that aspect of it. And now I like archaeology, too.”

Archive project links history and computer science

Senior Luke Kortepeter came to college on the pre-med track, but a class project in the library’s archives turned him into a computer science and history double major.

He’s been working on the Seward Family Papers digital history project for two years. Students involved in the project take Professor Thomas Slaughter’s history class on the family of William H. Seward, and also transcribe and digitize letters from a collection in the Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation department of  Rush Rhees Library.

“This spring we focused on the family correspondence,” says Kortepeter. “It’s a whole new primary resource that hasn’t been utilized yet.

He says the 15 students in the class spent the spring on letters from 1862. Once digitized and online, the papers will be more accessible, he says.

After four semesters working on the project, Kortepeter knows a lot about the Sewards. “I must have read 500-1,000 letters so far, and it’s awesome,” he says.

“We have thousands of letters covering a sixty year period. We are going through every single one,” he says. “And that’s really cool for me, actually, knowing that you’re the very first person reading the letter since it was first read.”

Bad handwriting

kortepeter_280 The project is expected to go “live” in the spring of 2015. Kortepeter and his classmates are racing to get as many letters transcribed, annotated, and digitized as they can before the project’s debut.

That said, the process requires keen eyes and a good understanding of the Seward family’s historical context.

In addition to serving as Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln for two terms, William Henry Seward was the Governor of New York and a US senator. He also negotiated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for two cents per acre—a purchase many considered foolish at the time.

Just reading the letters can be a challenge. “Since the handwritings on the letters are pretty awful for the most part, we are transcribing them—once you get used to it, it’s not as bad,” Kortepeter says.

“And, we are also annotating them. The user will be able to read the transcription right next to the digital image, and if they see a name they are interested in, they can click and it will say who that person was.

Teen diary

“Having been with the project for a while I’ve read basically everyone’s handwriting. It’s definitely interesting to see how different they are.

“Fanny Seward’s is very curly—beautiful handwriting—and she loved writing about her daily life,” Kortepeter says. “She’s a teenager at this time, and so you can see how she’s growing up and how the world is changing so much around her.

“She’d have fine descriptions of gentlemen, and will talk about things as basic as their jawline and how it curves perfectly. And so it’s very interesting to read—I mean, it’s her diary. She wasn’t expecting anyone to be reading it,” says Kortepeter.

Finding personalities

“Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have William Henry’s wife, Frances, whose handwriting is awful.

“It’s up for debate how ‘into’ the whole political thing she was in terms of supporting him,” says Kortepeter. “Some historians say that she wasn’t very supportive and it was a pain for her to have go to these conventions
with him. But,” he says, “we are finding that might not be true.

“She would go to Washington, DC, and say how awful it was and how she had migraines the whole time. And how at social events she would go, but then sit in a room by herself.

It’s “really cool” to pick up on people’s personalities in the letters, according to Kortepeter. “A lot of these resources weren’t available, so when [researchers] only had a snippet of letters and she’s angry in every single one of them, then you’d say ‘yeah, of course, she’s angry and hates her husband’s career,’” he explains.

“But when you see these other letters and she’s so passionate about slavery—she hated slavery—or just her opinions about political scandals at the time, it just really shows she was interested, and she definitely had opinions about what was going on.

“The DC social life wasn’t for her. She found it incredibly stressful. Especially since her husband was so incredibly social—it was hard to live up to that,” Kortepeter says.

‘I have no desire to be a doctor’

Kortepeter, who started out doing pre-med, says the Seward letter project “has definitely changed my college path completely.

“I had been doing premed stuff all through high school—I worked in labs, both my parents are doctors, and I figured, ‘yeah, sure, I could be a doctor, too.’ And that winter break of my freshman year, I followed a surgeon around for a little bit, and I was just… ‘I hate this—I have no desire to be a doctor.’

“Then I floundered around a little bit, trying econ. I took a history class with Professor Jarvis, and my freshman writing teacher worked with Slaughter and said, ‘Why don’t you talk to him, he’s my favorite professor—and just take a class with him’? And I was like, ‘okay, sure.’”

Kortepeter says his parents had different reactions to his change in plans.

“My father was excited for me to explore my own thing. My mother was confused because I was always so sciencey—all throughout high school,” he says. “All my AP classes were in science.

“It was very new to me to go into a history class. I came here because I know it’s a strong science school,” Kortepeter says, “and then ended up studying something totally different.”

He says his two majors complement each other. “Usually with computer science I’ll do my projects, but I don’t really get to apply it. Like, I can only make Tetris so many times,” he says with a laugh.

“With this, I really get to be on both sides of the project: I get to do the history things and work with the letters, but then as a computer science student, I am also working on the website and the database—helping with everything, really,” he explains.

“It was the perfect project for me.”

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Matthew Starr

starrName: Matthew Starr

UR Major: History

UR Minor: Judaic Studies

Current City, State of Residence: Boston, MA

Job Title: Project Coordinator

Employer: Boston Showcase Company

How did you choose your major(s)?

I was completely unsure of what I wanted to study when I first got to UR. After an experiment-gone-bad with Calculus and Econ as a freshman, I quickly realized that I got the most out of the classes I was most interested in and passionate about. And to be as cliché as possible, the rest is history.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I was on the football team as a freshman and the track and field team as a freshman and sophomore, but after a back injury derailed my athletic career, I became involved with the Campus Times, mostly writing sports. Senior year, I had the privilege of having my own weekly column: “A View from a Starr” and I couldn’t have been happier about the way I transitioned from playing sports to writing about them. I was also a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon while at the University and learned an innumerable amount of lessons in leadership, loyalty and camaraderie.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

After being in school my entire life, it was great to move onto the working world. Now that I’ve had some time to work in a variety of jobs and gain some valuable experience, I am getting excited to return to graduate (business) school and further develop skills that I know will directly benefit my career. Sometimes people go to graduate school because it is just a logical step out of college, but I think it makes a lot more sense to go try something new, see where it takes you and then go back to school because you want to, not because you think you should.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

People are typically skeptical of how a history degree prepares one for a job in the “real world”, but what I realized is that students who find jobs directly related to their major are the exception, not the norm. Studying history not only made me more knowledgeable about the world we live in, but taught me the critical thinking and life skills that prepared me to “just figure it out” at some of my first jobs.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

After a two year stint in the television production industry in LA, I returned home to work for my family business in Boston. Our company – Boston Showcase – designs, builds and supplies a wide-range of customers in the commercial foodservice industry. It is great working with my family and continuing the legacy started by my great grandfather 100 years ago. Over the next five years, I look forward to continuing the modernization of the company and regularly finding and pursuing new avenues of business opportunity.

Spotlight on Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni: Greg Skipton

gskiptonName: Greg Skipton      

Other UR Majors/Minors: English

Additional Education: currently pursuing MBA from Ohio Dominican University

Current City, State of Residence: Columbus, OH

Job Title: Branch Administrator

Employer: AXA Advisors, LLC

Family: Kate (Cieply) Skipton – Class of 2009

Community Activities: Capriccio! Vocal Ensemble, American Wine Society – Columbus Chapter, US Master’s Swimming – Columbus Sharks

How did you choose your major(s)?

I came to college undecided. I knew I loved history and English, and my high school history teachers had told me to pursue more historical studies opportunities in college that went beyond the traditional high school text. Thus, I jumped into in-depth studies of Germany & Austria from 1800-1945, the Russian Front in WWII, and even the Samurai. I wanted to major in something I loved, and the U of R history department made that extremely easy and fun to accomplish.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I was involved in the Music Interest Floor for three years and served as their social chair. I also was extremely active with Off Broadway on Campus, where I got to combine my love of history and theater in a rendition of “But Mr. Adams” from 1776. I also was a member of the UR Crew and the Symphony and Chamber orchestras. My extra-curriculars brought me a wide variety of people to connect and interact with, and built friendships that have managed to stay strong in spite of distance, difference in career paths, etc. I had several OBOCians as my groomsmen, and over 30 college friends at my wedding.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

I chose to go right into the workforce after graduation because I did not know what I wanted to continue studying.  I believe that one should not just go to school for the sake of school. Real world experience helps develop you as a person and leader, and hopefully will guide you to find what it is you truly wish to study. However, you must realize it is harder to go back to school the longer you are out, so be prepared to make a work-life balance when the time comes.

What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?

My first full-time job after graduation was working as the Patron Services Manager for the Syracuse Opera Company. I believe that my writing skills and conversational talents, developed through the U of R History and English Departments, truly helped land the job. It eventually grew to a Patron Services & Education Manager position, and I was able to combine my love of music and theater with my writing talents. I also got to dabble in history as we researched periods in order to accurately represent a scene.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

Unless you know what you want to do, be willing to explore your career options. Always look for opportunities to intersperse your historical knowledge into your current field. It is easy in a field such as the arts, but even if you work in a bank or a factory, learn the history of your company. It may serve you well in the future, and may link you to some other fascinating historical events and times that you are interested in learning more about.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

My current career is one of opportunity. I got it through great recommendations from people I already knew inside the company. It has given me an opportunity to work in the for-profit world and gain some insight into a totally different way and focus of doing business. In five years, I hope to take this knowledge and be back in the not-for-profits, hopefully helping them become a community force to be reckoned with. I also hope to continue to develop and explore my love for history by continuing to expose myself to the things that the areas I live in have to offer.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Andrew Harris

harrisName: Andrew Harris

UR Major:  History

UR Minor: French

Additional Education: Notre Dame Law School (Class of 2015)

Current City, State of Residence: South Bend, Indiana

How did you choose your major?

I chose my major based on my passions and my career goals. As early as freshman year, I knew I wanted to go to law school. To that end, I sought to develop my writing skills. I selected my major in order to apply my interests with a practical end in mind.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

My primary involvement at UR was in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. While Greek life isn’t for everyone, my experiences with it helped me develop my professional persona and develop crucial networking skills.

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

The most important skills to develop are time management, the ability to cultivate productive working relationships, and the ability to write with clarity and concision. No matter your intended field, these skills will be highly valued. Technical expertise is essential, but an inability to represent that expertise is a significant hindrance.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

Whether your work right after graduation or go to graduate school, it is essential to make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Some see graduate school as a convenient way to avoid the “real world” (for a few years, at least). Such a mindset is not a recipe for success. Excellence—in graduate school or in the workforce—is predicated on a sincere dedication to your work.

Where would you like to be in five years?

In five years, I intend to be at a corporate law firm in Chicago. Success in law is based on performance during key internships, which are acquired by excelling in class. The only way to do that, of course, is applying what I’ve learned over the course semester as well as the skills I fostered during my time as an undergraduate. Thanks to those skills, I’ve every confidence that I will be able to fulfill my dream of practicing mergers and acquisitions in a major firm.

Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Laura Osborne

osborneName: Laura Cowan Osborne

Occupation: Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

Education (UR and additional): BA Brain and Cognitive Sciences (double minor in history and psychology) University of Rochester, 2003; MA Early Childhood Special Education George Washington University, 2005; Certificate of Applied Behavior Analysis, George Mason University, 2009

Current city/state/country of residence: Alexandria, VA

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

My parents (and grandfather) both attended UR. When it was time to look at colleges, they encouraged me to look. I loved the fact that I could take lessons at Eastman and take advantage of all of the concerts there. I loved that the curriculum was open and there were no ‘freshman’ classes. I loved the diversity of classes and majors offered. The campus just felt like home from when I first came to visit!

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

I have always been fascinated by the brain and how it works. I enjoy learning about development and what can go wrong. Because I was so interested in psychology when I took my first couple of courses, but I enjoyed the more scientific lean of BCS. I was excited to know more about how the brain works, how that effects everything else, and what that means for a person.

What did you do immediately after graduation?  How did you decide to take this path?

I was trying to decide between pursuing a PhD in neuropsychology and becoming a special education teacher. In summers between classes, I worked as an assistant in a special education preschool program and also did work in research in both Alzheimer’s disease and neuropsychology.  I decided to take a position as an assistant in a classroom full time to make sure that I really loved working with children and I had so much fun I pursued my MA in education.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am an early childhood special education teacher. I work with children ages 2-5 that have delays in one more more of the core areas (language, motor skills, social skills, and cognition). I am a non-categorical teacher, so all of my students have different abilities and disabilities. I love that it keeps me on my toes and is continually changing. Seeing my students make progress and helping them to do so means the world to me.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Having knowledge about the brain has been very helpful as a special education teacher. A lot of my students have had injuries to the brain (stroke in utero, traumatic head injury), suffer from brain related disorders (epilepsy) or have other anomalies (agenesis of the corpus callosum, cortical blindness).  My background has allowed me to better plan for what a student might need in the classroom.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Ben Seitelman

seitelmanName: Benjamin Seitelman        

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science

Current City, State of Residence: Highland Park, IL

Job Title: Finance Administrator               

Employer: Keith Fitzgerald for Congress

Family: Parents (Lori and David), two sisters (Sara and Jessica)

How did you choose your major?

I have always been interested in history and politics and the intersection at which both subjects meet. The unique curriculum at the University of Rochester allowed me to major in both subjects and to graduate within four years.

What did you wish you had known before graduating? What would you have done differently?

I would have pursued more summer opportunities relating to my majors, particularly in history. Pursuing such opportunities would have given me more early career experience as well as a more solid idea of what career I want to pursue with my life.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

Since the graduate degree I intend to pursue (a Master’s in Public Policy) usually does not admit students right out of their undergraduate studies, I chose to begin working right after graduation. However, the choice between going straight to graduate school and working after graduation should depend on your individual circumstances as a history major. Of my fellow history majors in the class of 2011, some went straight to graduate school, while others joined the workforce. I would consider your options (i.e. what type of graduate degree you intend to pursue, what jobs are available) before making that decision.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

Academia is not for everyone. Find something you love regardless of its relation to history and do it; the critical thinking and writing skills you will pick up from your history major will help you to succeed regardless of the career path you take. The best thing you can do for your career prospects as a history major is to attend all of your classes and become engaged in them.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I worked this election cycle for various political campaigns; for the last three months, I served as a member of a fundraising team for a Congressional campaign in Florida. My experience with political campaigns dates back to high school; working on campaigns has always been something I enjoyed, so I decided to attempt to make a living at it. However, the transitory lifestyle of campaigning has led me to consider taking my campaign skills into similar but related fields such as public service or non-profits that provide similar work experiences with more job security.

Where would you like to be in five years?

In five years, I would like to be in graduate school pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy while having advanced myself in my career.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Jonathan Garon

garonName: Jonathan Garon

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science

Current City, State of Residence: Washington, DC

How did you choose your major(s)?

I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember.  Growing up in Virginia, where 70% of the American Civil War was fought, my parents would take my siblings and me to pastoral fields that were scenes of carnage 150 years ago.  Growing up, I began to eye history through a lens of how it has shaped who we are today, but I’ve still never lost that wide-eyed wonder I experienced as a child standing on the same ground of my American ancestors.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

My most significant activity was my undergraduate research, which ended up serving as my senior year writing history requirement.  Based on a series of letters written by my grandfather during WWII, I designed a research project centering on de-Nazification in post-war Germany and the onset of the Cold War.  If you can find a project that truly fascinates you, it is beneficial in so many ways.  Not only do you get great things to put on your resume, but you really are able to extract the most value and worth from your history major and set yourself apart from your peers in your desire to work hard and learn.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

Unless you are 110% sure about the career path you wish to pursue, I am a huge proponent of taking at least one year post-college to work, save money, and think about your future.  When I graduated, I had neither the funds nor the knowledge of exactly what I wanted to pursue to justify entering into a graduate program.  I think a lot of people panic and continue with more schooling to avoid some kind of bleak work future or unemployment.  But whether you are working an unpaid internship in your field or working retail at The Gap, I think that down time is important – to give your school mind a rest, really think about your strengths, what you want to pursue, and how you want to pursue it.  I have just moved back to the East Coast after three years waiting tables in San Francisco.  I also worked two part-time unpaid internships in my time there.  Now, I feel rested and renewed and ready to pursue what I actually studied.  Side note – four of my close friends from UR went directly into law school after graduation.  I remember speaking with three of them during their first year and all of them expressed the same sentiment – they wished they had just taken one year to relax and think about their future.  For some people, going straight into more school may be the right step.  But I would take some time for serious thought and reflection before making a decision.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

I would say do your best to focus on accomplishing a lot during your time at UR.  That means taking on greater academic challenges to set yourself apart on your resume post-graduation.  Every student at UR is smart and has a lot to show for themselves.  Make it a point to do something different that makes you stand out.  Take an active role in a campus organization, take on an undergraduate research project, etc.  Something, anything that will make you stand out as unique to future employers.  It does not have to be something larger than life – just something worth mentioning and being proud of. 

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I work as the Associate Program Director at the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, a Washington, D.C.-based business advocacy organization that works to foster stronger trade and commercial between the corporations operating across a variety of sectors in the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.  One of my driving moves in relocating back to the D.C. area was the desire to find work in international affairs, specifically in the Middle East, which has always been my focus.  I find my current role interesting as it touches on a unique cross-section of business, government, and international affairs.

In five years, I would like to be working in business development for a multi-national corporation, hopefully with a focus on alternative and renewable energy development.

Spotlight on Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni: Nicole St. James

stjamesName: Nicole St. James

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: English Literature major

Current City, State of Residence: Syracuse, NY

Job Title: Project Coordinator for Syracuse and SUNY ESF

Employer: New York Public Interest Research Group

Community Activities: joined a local alumni chapter of my sorority

How did you choose your major(s)?

Without explaining my entire history of switching majors numerous times, suffice it to say that thanks to UR’s open curriculum I was able to combine my interest in history with a knack for writing into a double major. It happened by chance really, when I realized I had completed more than half of those major requirements without exactly trying to do so.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I was an athlete for a short time, a member of a sorority, some philanthropic clubs like Amnesty International, and also Class Council. It was Class Council that really helped me find my interest in politics that resulted in my current job.

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

Successful interns are proactive and do not need to ask questions about what to complete next. They should understand their role in the company/organization and not need to report to someone every half hour with a concern. I learned this while studying abroad and it has really helped shaped my professionalism.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

I believe this decision is different for every person based on their current academic and/or financial situations. Some students just need a break from academia for a while, which is fine. Others would prefer to continue onwards right away – also just fine.

What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?

My first job was directing the Rochester Outreach office for NYPIRG this summer. This transitioned me straight into the campus position I have now within the same organization. I believe Class Council, having planned Senior Week and also speaking with administrators regularly, helped me secure the activist-minded skills for these positions.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

A vast majority of history majors do not anticipate becoming historians for their career. If you are one of those, as I was, I suggest focusing your career interests into your extracurricular activity time. That was how I found my interest in the environment and political change. Stay active, read often.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Pat Gallagher

gallagherName: Pat Gallagher ’07

Occupation:  Assistant District Attorney with the Monroe County DA’s office.

Education (UR and additional):  BA (History and Philosophy), University of Rochester, 2007; JD, Wake Forest University School of Law

Current city/state of residence: Rochester, NY!

Family: Wife Katie Gallagher (also a Yellowjacket!)

Community activities: I participate in the Big Brother’s Big Sister’s program as a Big Brother. I also try and stay involved with the UR, especially athletics.

When and how did you choose your major?  

Well, I came into college sure I was going to do something in the humanities or social sciences.  I took a bunch of classes my first two semesters ranging from anthropology to history to philosophy to political science.  I always loved history, and still do, so it wasn’t a surprise when I chose that as my first major.  But then as my college career went on, I found out I really enjoyed philosophy too, and it got to the point where I kept signing up for philosophy classes, so I decided to add that as a second major as well.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

My main extracurricular activity as a student was being a member of the UR Football team.  I played all four years of college, and was captain of the team my senior year.  I truly believe I would not be where I am today without that experience.  Having two majors and being a member of the football team taught me the value of work hard and also the importance of working efficiently.  Playing football also taught me the importance of working as a team, and being a leader.  All skills that helped me succeed in law school, and also now as a District Attorney.

What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?  

The professors.  I didn’t truly learn the benefit of having a close relationship with a professor until my junior and senior years, when I took a couple smaller classes and was forced to get more involved, but I was glad when I did.  Professors at the UR are very willing to form a relationship with students, and I believe all students should take advantage of those opportunities.  They not only help you succeed in that professor’s class, but they are an invaluable tool for any questions you may have about your education, career, or life in general.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am currently an Assistant District Attorney for Monroe County.  I have always been interested in criminal justice, and always wanted to do something in that field. My time at the UR and law school only solidified that desire, and also made me realize I really enjoyed the complexities of the law, making this the perfect career for me.  I get to perform a job in which I feel like I give back to the community on a daily basis, while at the same time dealing with complex legal issues that can change with every case.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?  

I think my history and philosophy majors have helped me a lot in succeeding in law school.  Both of those subject areas really gave me the necessary tools to succeed not only in taking the LSAT’s, but also throughout law school.  Law school deals with a lot of writing, memorizing, and learning to think with a logical thought process, all skills that I honed in my two majors.  Those skills have continued their usefulness in my career as an Assistant District Attorney as well.

What advice do you have for current students?

Enjoy your time at the UR because you will miss it when it is done.  Don’t worry too much about what comes after; things will take care of themselves if you work hard at what you are doing now.  Make as many relationships as you can, whether it is with peers, professors, or people in the community.  Not only will you get to meet new and interesting people, but you never know if one of those people will end up getting you a job, or even becoming your spouse (like me!).