History Skills at Work


“The ability to absorb, arrange, interpret, and write about complex historical data in a coherent, compelling way is the most important and useful part of the history major.”

— John Vanek,
genetic genealogist and family historian

“[T]he ability to do research and distill all that knowledge into a message that is factually correct, relevant, understandable, and resonates with the audience is key.”

— Nathan King,
Regional Digital Communications Specialist and Web Manager for the National Park Service

Cultural Competency

“[T]he most important… value add of studying history, is the ability to understand and empathize with people who have different experiences and cultures than myself. Studying history allows you to step into the shoes of someone different than you, a lifetime or thousands of miles away.”

— Samantha Rosenbloom,
Assistant Director at a nonprofit org

“[S]tudying history [i]s a way to understand our common humanity and learn how to become better citizens of the world.”

— Teague Mawer,
Director of Budget and Planning

Critical Thinking

“Being a history major has set me up well to develop and apply my analytical ‘system’ thinking. That is, when you study history you get a sense of how everything is interconnected, and you can analyze the who, the what, the why, and possible outcomes. It also set me up well to be creative in developing solutions.”

— Jennifer Martin,
Legal Clerk

“The ability to recall information is extremely useful. Most history majors have a method of retaining information (detailed notes, listening to lectures a second time, reading material multiple times) that can translate directly to the workplace.”

— Bryant Plano,
Solutions Consultant at a tech start-up

Verbal Communication

“As History majors, we are storytellers. Why is this so important? When I go in front of a jury, I’m telling them a story. Most importantly, I’m telling them a story about something that nobody cares about. I need to make the story really interesting. My job is to make people care about something they never would have cared about. This is where I learned to make people care about something they would never care about: right here in the Humanities building.”

— Rick Kalson,
Partner at a Law Group

“Relaying ideas to other people is one of the intrinsic skills of the history major. Learning how to communicate clearly is transferable to any field.”

— Josh Bycel,
Executive Producer and writer

Problem Solving

“[M]ore than anything, my study of history at UW taught me that, as a society, we are not guaranteed a happy ending. We need to work together to build the outcomes we seek to achieve and they are not preordained. That work requires effort, tolerance, and vigilance.”

— Mike Beland,
Managing Director for a consulting firm

Perspective on the Present

“To step into another country with sensitivity and credibility, one must understand its history.”

— Farha Tahir,
Program Officer at a nonprofit org