Interviews with Graduating History Master’s Students

Before they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, 2018 graduating M.A. history students shared some TU memories and their plans for the future. Stanley Rutland Professor of American History Andrew Wood conducted the interviews. 

Chandler Berrett

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

I am originally from Utah. I moved with my family to Arizona in 2000 and then to Oklahoma in 2004. In 2013 I became an undergraduate student at TU. After I graduate from TU, I will be returning to Utah to join The University of Utah’s M.F.A. program in Film and Media Arts.

Will you be taking a job? With who, how and where?  

As a member of the Utah program, I will be a graduate assistant, and I will also continue freelance production and post-production work as I am able.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

Following completion of my M.A. in History from TU, I will be attending The University of Utah’s M.F.A. program in Film and Media Arts – because, what’s better than one master’s degree?  Two masters degrees.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

As an undergraduate at TU, I double majored in history and film studies. As a history graduate student, my primary areas of research have been the Reconstruction Era and the complex life of the African American historian W. E. B. Du Bois.

Did you write a thesis? If so, what is the title?  Main advisor? 

My TU thesis is called “Race and Reconstruction on Film.” Kristen Oertel was my advisor. The project examines how the Reconstruction Era has been depicted on film and how these cinematic presentations have evolved compared with the development of Reconstruction historiography.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

Perhaps the most interesting, enjoyable, and beneficial aspect of my training as a TU history graduate student was being able to examine historical topics that interest me on a much deeper level than typically was possible as an undergraduate. Conducting this type of in-depth study while interacting with intelligent professors and students who share the same drive and passion for history and also challenge me has been an enriching experience.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

My M.A. in history will serve as an excellent historical foundation from which I will not only continue my history studies but also incorporate historical themes into my film projects to raise awareness about important history, political and social issues.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

I will mostly likely be working in the production field while continuing to make historical and political narrative films with my friends and contacts in the Tulsa and Salt Lake City film communities, as well as the broader film industry.


Paul Charters

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

Most recently, my family and I lived in St. Robert, MO near Fort Leonard Wood, however both mine and my spouse’s families live in the Tulsa area. After graduating, I will temporarily relocate to Fort Leavenworth, KS, however I am uncertain as to where we will go from there.

Will you be taking a job? With who, how and where?  

I will return to active duty in the U.S. Army. I am uncertain as to what my next assignment will be at this time.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

I haven’t decided if I will continue toward my doctorate, at this point. I’m definitely interested in doing so, however I’ve considered another educational avenue, as well. Time, family and my professional endeavors will ultimately play a large part in that decision.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

I’ve mainly focused on U.S. History, especially in terms of diplomacy and foreign policy. My personal experiences and desire to better understand the historic background of events that have directly affected me played a big part in that investigation. I originally wanted to compare and contrast major modern revolutions, however what I did study equipped me with tools to pursue that on my own.

Did you write a thesis?  If so, what is the title?  Main advisor? 

Yes. My thesis was called “The Specter of Empire: and the Constitution in the Young Republic.” Jeremy Kuzmarov served as my advisor and mentor throughout this project.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

I’d definitely say the exposure to a variety of approaches employed and perspectives held in our department, as well as recognizing how my own studies and research influenced my own perception and growth.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

Hopefully, it will enable me to be a better-informed leader, advisor, and educator in my professional life. I definitely see the enhanced research and writing skills I’ve developed as a benefit in these areas.

Anything you would like to add about your history graduate experience at TU that might be of interest?

I’d just like to recognize the important connections I’ve made with classmates, peers, colleagues and professors at TU. There are several I hope to maintain relationships with for a very long time.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

I see myself nearing the end of one career and beginning to prepare for the next phase of my life, where my TU experience will be more directly applicable. Hopefully, by then I’ll have made a decision regarding future education, as well.


Amanda Chastang

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

I grew up here in Tulsa, but I moved to Greencastle, Indiana for my Bachelors. As Tulsa is my home, I plan on staying in the Tulsa area after graduation but I am interested in living in a big city in the near future.

Will you be taking a job? With who, how and where?

Currently, I am the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Diversity and Engagement here at TU. It is my hope to continue in the field of Diversity and Engagement in the Tulsa area.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

Yes, I do plan on pursuing a doctorate in either African American studies or Women, Gender and Sexuality studies.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

My primary focus has been on race, women and gender studies. Topics surrounding diversity has always been an interest of mine. I received my Bachelors in Conflict Studies with a focus on race, ethnicity and culture conflict as well as gender conflict and my interests in the history field developed from my undergraduate studies.

Did you write a thesis?  If so, what is the title?  Main advisor? 

Yes, I chose to complete the thesis track. My thesis is titled “Reclaiming Identity: How the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement Challenged External Media Mis-Representations Through Self-Representation.” Dr. Brian Hosmer advised my thesis research.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

I would have to say that completing my thesis research has been the most interesting. I have learned so much about our government and important people in our history who often get overlooked. My thesis research has been a really eye-opening experience, to say the least.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

In my area of focus specially, we have seen how our current social and political climate has mirrored the mistakes of our past. In order to progress, we must learn and understand our history in order to combat our current challenges. I hope to aid in spreading that knowledge and awareness.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

I hope to be finishing up my doctoral studies.


Nkem Ike

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

I lived in Tulsa before being admitted into TU, and I plan on staying in Tulsa.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

I will be continuing my studies at The University of Tulsa in anthropology and archaeology with a focus in African diaspora archaeology.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

My main area of study is on race, gender and labor. As a woman of color who grew up in the state of Oklahoma where resources are commonly scarce, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to look at how class affects/shapes marginalized identities.

Did you write a thesis?  If so, what is the title?  Main advisor?

I wrote a thesis but it doesn’t have a title quite yet. My advisor is Brian Hosmer.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU? 

Because I do research about primarily marginalized people I have learned that it’s necessary to look at less conventional resources that validate their experiences and narratives.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

For my Ph.D., a focus of mine will be in historical archaeology. The training I received regarding how to do research will be incredibly helpful.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years?

I hope to be finishing up my Ph.D. and craving out more space for more women of color to get into African diaspora archaeology.


Shawna Keller

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

As a Tulsa native, I have appreciated my time at TU even more because it allowed me to stay at home while still pursuing my M.A.

Will you be taking a job? With who, how and where?  

After graduation I will continue my job teaching high school history.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

My main area of focus as both and undergrad and a masters student has been 20th century American history. I was greatly influenced as an undergraduate by a class I took as an elective with Professor Buckley. After leaving the first day I thought, “that was the best class I have ever had. How cool would it be to do that everyday?” That was the first time I thought about being a teacher and changed my major to history that afternoon.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

I have enjoyed the variety of classes that have been offered. Having attended for five years, I had the opportunity to take almost every grad class offered. I have enjoyed classes outside of my area of focus far more than I anticipated.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

From the beginning, my M.A. has always been about personal growth.  It was something that I wanted to immediately following my B.A. but was derailed. Being able to come back to TU and complete this program has been awesome. I will take the critical thinking skills that I have developed and the expanded knowledge with me to my classroom and hopefully students will benefit from it as well.

Anything you would like to add about your history graduate experience at TU that might be of interest?

The people and the relationships (classmates and professors) that I have formed at TU are the greatest part of the experience. I have had the opportunity to see so many of my peers graduate from this program and go on to do awesome things.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

In five years, I would like to be in a classroom somewhere inspiring students the way Professor Buckley did that day.


Tabitha Orr

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

Fayetteville, I am returning there to pursue a Ph.D. in history.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

I hope to get a Ph.d. in American history and to teach at the college level, continuing to research and write as well.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

Late 19th and early 20th century American History, I am fascinated with the work of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal Program.

Did you write a thesis? If so, what is the title? Main advisor? 

Birth on the Borderlands: Midwifery in Oklahoma, 1890-1955, Brian Hosmer.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

On the job market


Kristina Rogers

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

I grew up in Connecticut. I got my undergrad at TU in 2016 in history, and I started the master’s program right after that.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

I’m going to Oklahoma State University for my Ph.D. in American history. My major field of study is native North America, and my minor field will most likely by Latin American history.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

My first history class I took at TU as an undergrad was a class with Professor Hosmer. I continued to take classes with him throughout my undergrad career. My focus in graduate school became American Indian history, and a big reason why I chose this field is because I really enjoyed Hosmer’s classes as an undergrad.

Did you write a thesis? If so, what is the title? Main advisor? 

My thesis is titled, “Intermarriage in the Cherokee Nation in the Nineteenth Century: Continued Female Autonomy and Power as Cherokee Laws Became Stricter.” Professor Hosmer was my main thesis advisor.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

I liked that I was able to take two elective courses, that were outside of American history. I decided to take two ancient- world classes with Professor Arnold because they sounded interesting. Even though they were outside of American history, they were beneficial to my overall history training.

I also enjoyed the thesis writing process, even though it was stressful at times. I think it really helped prepare me for writing a dissertation, and I found a topic that I am really interested in.

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

I think TU’s M.A. program is going to be really beneficial as I start my Ph.D. program in the fall. I was able to take graduate level classes, so I know what the course load will look like. It helped me with my time management skills, so I was able to complete all of my graduate work throughout the week.

Writing a thesis was also very beneficial because I was able to learn the research process, and it helped prepare me to write my dissertation.

Anything you would like to add about your history graduate experience at TU that might be of interest?

I really enjoyed being able to be a Graduate Assistant in the history department. I was able to TA Professor Wilson’s Harry Potter class in fall 2017 which was really exciting for me because I also took that class as an undergrad. That experience helped prepare me for next semester, because I will be a TA in a much bigger survey of American history class.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

Hopefully, I’ll be finishing up my Ph.D. program at OSU. I hope to have found a teaching job (hopefully a tenure track) or a post-doc.


James Welch

Where did you live before studying at TU and where will you go after graduation?

I lived in Holdenville, OK. As of now, I will be staying in Tulsa until I can find a teaching position.

Will you be taking a job? With who, how and where?

I am applying for community college teaching positions wherever I can find them. So far I have applied to schools in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, to name a few.

Continuing post-graduate studies? If so, where and in what area? To what end?

Right now I want to focus on teaching, but I would love to pursue doctoral studies in American diplomatic history one day.

What has been your main area of study at TU and what drew you to this particular field?

American foreign policy. My generation witnessed the attacks of 9/11, and the nation has been at war for most of our lives. I find U.S.-Middle Eastern relations fascinating and to be a topic that is understudied, especially in high schools around the nations, so I wanted to learn more about the subject.

Did you write a thesis? If so, what is the title? Main advisor? 

Yes, “The creation of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance: How America justified the Alliance in its quest for global dominance” under Professor Jeremy Kuzmarov.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your training at TU?

Getting a glimpse into the world of academia, which has been tough, frustrating (at times), but definitely worth the struggle and very rewarding

How will your M.A. education in history serve you in the future?

I have learned to read everything that you can about a topic that interests you. I would say the most important trait I have acquired from my M.A. is to never stop learning, and if you wish to understand something better, read about it and then read about it some more.

Anything you would like to add about your history graduate experience at TU that might be of interest?

The faculty at TU have been great during my time there. They were always willing to help, and you really get the sense that the students are the focus of the institution.

Where do you imagine yourself in five years? 

Doing something I enjoy as a career, and that is something that a M.A. from TU has allowed to happen, whether that’s teaching history at the community college level somewhere or pursing a Ph.D. and eventually teaching and researching at a university one day.