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It is late summer, which for students and faculty means gearing up for another year at school (whatever that might mean in the current COVID crisis). It also means that another cycle on the academic job market is about to begin. While this year will undoubtedly be particularly perilous and unlike any other in recent memory, I would like to offer a few reflections on my experience as an early-career faculty member on the job market this past year. My experience is admittedly anecdotal, and my end-result potentially atypical, but hopefully I can provide some insights into an often-neglected component of academic life.

After graduating in 2015, I spent a year on the job market before landing a job at Northwest University in rainy Kirkland, WA, right outside of Seattle. Northwest is a small, Christian liberal arts college, and I counted myself incredibly fortunate to land my first job at such an ideal location. But was this a first job, or was it a forever job?

I am the collections and projects coordinator at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. We just staged the exhibit Rightfully Hers, which featured the National Archives pop-up exhibit panels on American woman suffrage alongside contemporary artifacts on loan from Mr. Ronald L. Book and Senator Lauren L. Book. The overall exhibit is an extension of last year’s exhibit, One Half of the People: Advancing Equality for Women, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Rightfully Hers marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment by the states. The Museum felt two exhibits would allow us to cover the full breadth of the movement. Michelle Sunset, another FSU graduate, did most of the curation and design work for Rightfully Hers.

In Fall 2018, I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Women’s Studies. Doing a double major allowed me to focus on women’s history specifically and approach history from an intersectional perspective. This has greatly influenced the way I conduct research and work in the museum field.

Tallahassee has been my home for my entire life. Growing up, my parents took me to museums and historical sites whenever possible. These proved to be formative experiences as I decided I wanted to work in museums before I was even fifteen years old. I have volunteered or worked at the majority of museums in town, and started an internship at The Grove Museum in Spring 2018, only one year after it opened.

One of the most pivotal members in any department is the academic advisor and FSU’s History Department is no different. Anne Kozar advises undergraduate and graduate students in history; however, she did not always plan on ending up in advising. She actually studied art during undergrad and worked with commercial art and interior decorators. As a dance minor, Mrs. Kozar found herself taking many jobs related to the fine arts such as teaching exercise at a senior center, watercolors at the YWCA, and dance lessons for elementary children. During her journey, she kept returning to university. Though both her parents were professors, Mrs. Kozar did not want to be an academic and discovered her interest in advising while working on her master’s degree in higher education administration.

When asked about her favorite part of being an academic advisor, Mrs. Kozar couldn’t say the word “students” fast enough. “The most rewarding part is watching human development; to watch a freshman come into FSU and be a little nervous…and watching that person grow into a very confident young adult. It’s an amazing thing to watch.”

In this new age where we are all facing quarantine and social distancing, Zoom meetings have become one of the most accessible ways of communicating with others. Earlier in the summer, Dr. Sam Holley-Kline sat down in a Zoom interview with Alice Fabela. Dr. Holley-Kline received both his MA and PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University. He is currently a Dean’s Post-doctoral Scholar in the Department of History at Florida State University.

I graduated with an MA in Public History this spring, and less than a month later found a job with direct ties to the internship I did with the Cultural Resources Office at the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) the summer before. I am now a Cultural Resources Associate with Green 3, LLC, which is a cultural resources firm involved in environmental planning and design.  Our primary focus is on placemaking, community building, and the protection and preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. We carry out our mission with a team of ecologists, environmental scientists, archaeologists, and historians investigating and researching landscapes and sites in advance of transportation projects being planned in the state of Indiana. While the mandate to protect and preserve natural resources and cultural heritage might seem straightforward, our placemaking and community building mission deserves further explanation.

Congratulations to Emma Davis (FSU Class of 2022) who just got offered an internship with the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) for the academic year 2020/21. Emma applied for 3 different projects and received an offer for her top choice working with the National Cemetery Association. The project she will be working on is called “Digital Storyteller: National Cemetery People and Places.” It is meant to tell the stories, especially through digital projects, of veterans from all US wars buried in military cemeteries.

Dr. Meghan Martinez completed her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University. Originally an English major, she had planned to become an English teacher. In one of her English classes, she read the works of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. At the same time, she was also taking AMH2097 taught by Dr. Pamela Robbins. “Taking that class really opened my eyes to the reality of American history and the reality of racism in American history,” Dr. Martinez explained. “That semester completely changed my outlook and viewpoint on what I wanted to study and wanted to do.” Dr. Martinez continued her graduate studies at FSU, completing her masters and doctorate degree in African American history, with her work focusing on the history of racial violence and inequality in the US and its legacies. 

Originally from Oklahoma, I have moved around the American South for my education and career. I earned my BA in history at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in 2005 and my MA from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) in 2007 before starting the doctoral program at FSU. I wrote my dissertation, "The Revolution from Within:  White Abolitionists and the Revolution in Saint-Domingue," under the direction of Dr. Rafe Blaufarb. Since graduation, I have taught at Gordon State College (GSC) and Francis Marion University (FMU).

Upon graduation from the Historic Administration and Public History program at FSU (2018), I began working at the State Archives of Florida. I worked for a little over a year as an archivist in collections management before moving to the Museum of Florida History (MFH) team. My first job in the museum field was with the Knott House Museum, an off-site historic house managed by the Division of Historic Resources which shares an education team with MFH. I had worked there earlier, during the first part of my graduate studies, before leaving to focus on thesis completion and assistantship duties. I continued to volunteer regularly at both museum sites.

In my new role as a full-time museum educator, I also became co-coordinator of the Florida History Day (FHD) contest, an affiliate of National History Day. I had been a judge for FHD in years past, as well as a competitor in middle school. I loved having the opportunity to plan and execute such a large event for what usually amounts to over a thousand students, parents, and teachers converging on Tallahassee in May for a one-day contest and awards ceremony.