2012 History Honorees Apply Historical Skills in Real Life Settings

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The History Department’s top 2012 graduates aren’t wasting any time putting their historical skills to work in a variety of interesting work settings, ranging from the military to teaching to working for a non-profit Catholic organization.

The Department honored its top seniors at the Honors Convocation on May 1, 2012. Garnering recognition for Academic Excellence in History were Ron Ceballos, Kym Cunningham, and Lisa Duffy. Shannon Hogan received the Phi Alpha Theta/History Club Service Award.

A participant in USD’s Naval ROTC program and also the recipient of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ Academic Excellence in Naval Science Award, Ensign Ceballos will take up a post in the Navy in Yokuska, Japan, aboard the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship for the Seventh Fleet. He would like to obtain an M.A. in history and, after the Navy, teach or work as a fireman.

Ceballos says his History background prepared him well for these potential career paths.

“Everything I learned is so interrelated,” he says. “I am well-versed concerning global issues and how they came about. I feel that I became a better-rounded person and understand more about the world in general.”

Cunningham, who also was recognized with the English Department’s Scholastic Achievement Award, will go to work as tutor in a Boston middle school through the Match Corps program. Working with underprivileged students, she will perform individual tutoring in both math and English two hours per day.

“I just realized that I feel very lucky to have the access to education that I did,” Cunningham says. “I am interested in helping to get everyone access.”

After Match, Cunningham hopes to attend law school or graduate school in either English or History.

“I feel that I have developed very strong analytical skills in the History program,” says Cunningham, also a participant in the Honors Program. “It’s really strengthened my writing. I started taking up history books and reading them for the fun of it, which is something I would never have done in high school.

“I loved the group discussions in class, at least when everyone did the reading. You read something, and you get a completely different idea about what went on in the text. It made me aware of what I was reading and the possible interpretations of it. It exposed me to a lot of other people’s ideas.”

Now, Cunningham adds, she is “excited about knowledge.”

Duffy is yet another double honoree, having received the University Ministry Servant Leader Award. She will work for the Goretti Group, a non-profit Catholic organization based in San Diego’s Little Italy that promotes chastity among teens and adults. Duffy will work on fundraising, bookkeeping, website management, and, using her Spanish skills, perform outreach to the Hispanic community.

From the History program, Duffy attained skills in argumentation and “a more nuanced understanding of the world we live in,” she says. At the annual year-end Phi Alpha Theta/History Club event, she presented her study on the Catholic Church and the Spanish Civil War to students and faculty.

Duffy is contemplating a possible career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Hogan aims to obtain her M.A. in education and a credential to teach high-school English and history. She will work as a substitute teacher while studying for the Master’s.

“I learned a lot of great writing skills and critical thinking schools,” Hogan says of her time in the History program. “I have a much better understanding of the world. I took classes on South Africa, Australia, and Vietnam, not the typical country that you would have a wealth of information on, but I have it now.”

Hogan joined Phi Alpha Theta during her junior year. This year, along with co-president Austin Black, she helped breathe new life into the honor society. “It’s been great working with Austin, she says. “It’s been great getting to know other professors and students.”


Maureen Byrnes
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