History and Broad-field Social Sciences
Brittany Mueller ’12, was inspired to study history when she was still in high school.
“I was fascinated by the examples of history, such as how humanity overcomes the most grievous of hardships, how individuals are able to change the course of a nation if the conditions and their charisma allow it, and how average people respond to the needs of their time and end up becoming more significant than contemporaries would have imagined,” Brittany said.
She was drawn to Carthage because the social science and history programs offer a variety of classes, meant to develop a well-rounded understanding of the topics they explore.
“The atmosphere seemed to encourage academic endeavors,” she said. “When looking for a college, I was searching for one that would encourage me to expand my understanding of the world and challenge me. I believed that Carthage would be able to provide the experience for which I was searching.”
Since arriving, Brittany has taken many unique courses. Two of her J-Termcourses come to mind: Japanese History Through Film and People and Plagues. Carthage has also given her the opportunity to attend lectures on topics that interest her, such as speeches from people who lived through the Holocaust and the Vietnam War.
Brittany knows that the courses wouldn’t mean much without good professors. She said that each professor in the History Department brings his or her own approach and specialization to teaching the material.
“They are willing to offer assistance, but at the same time challenge students to overcome obstacles on their own,” she said of the professors.
Right now, Brittany’s current career goal is to become a history teacher and continue to broaden her knowledge of history.
“It was the stories that originally drew me to history — both the stories already told and, possibly even more so, the stories which were yet to be discovered,” she said. “The human element and the element of mystery were extremely compelling. I imagined the study of history as a journey through foreign worlds and times that would eventually lead me to a better understanding of my immediate society and self. I was eager to begin this journey.”
“It was the stories that originally drew me to history, both the stories already told and, possibly even more so, the stories which were yet to be discovered.”
To be a history teacher at either the middle or high school level.
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“It is truly hard to choose one professor. Many of my professors have encouraged and inspired me. As mentioned, each one contributes a different perspective and approach to history. Two of the professors I have most admired are Professor Udry and Professor Noer. The classes I have taken with Prof. Udry have been very engaging. He has a welcoming demeanor and encourages discussion throughout his classes. He is also one to push students in a way that does not simply increase their stress level. His advice encourages students to brave to academic storms and challenge themselves. Prof. Noer also helps students make intellectual conquests. He holds high expectations for his students and holds them accountable. The expectations are admittedly intimidating, but the knowledge and skills gained from working to meet them is well worth it. He is also a wonderful professor because his lectures seem to allow the voices of the past to break through into the present day.”
“My favorite class has been Historiography. It was highly challenging but compelled me to look at history through a number of lenses. It made me realize how many different approaches to history there are and helped me discover my own approach. The class also inspired me to be proud of my historical studies and my passion for history.”
“My toughest class is probably American Founding. This class requires students to examine a plethora of primary documents including the Federalist Essays and Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention. It is mostly a discussion-based class and it is a challenge to work through the documents to attempt to get an accurate vision of America’s founding. The outside research paper requires much research into a very specific aspect of the American founding. As I had previously only claimed a superficial understanding of many of the topics of the course, it has been a rewarding struggle.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“There are too many to recount. Most of them involve wandering Kenosha or relaxing with some of my closest friends and Fencing Club.”
Favorite spot on campus
“I have always enjoyed the small forested area across from Clausen Center. It is a peaceful and secluded place to think and write and wander.”
Biggest surprise so far
“My biggest surprise so far is how quickly the college years pass.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Learn how to speed read and be prepared to spend many hours in the library. I promise the effort you put into your research will show for better or worse. Do not wait until the last minute to begin researching a paper. Also, take advantage of the museums in the area and attend any lectures from visiting speakers that you can. Lastly, do not be afraid to discuss in class. You will get so much more out of your classes if you do. It is better to speak even when hesitant than to regret your silence later.”