Senior theses bring together History majors

Majors’ committees provide resources and a place of community for students who share the same strong passion in an academic area.

Comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors, this committee fulfills the standard responsibilities of improving communication between students and faculty members within the department.

“In my opinion, the most important function of the committee is to have an organized way for the faculty and students to discuss and coordinate their ideas and goals for the department and to make the Vassar history experience the best it can be,” wrote History Majors’ Committee Chair Meghan Cooper ‘13.

The committee hosts events like Life After Vassar, which, like other majors’ committee events, creates a panel dedicated to lending ideas to majors on what they can pursue post graduation.

The panel consists of Vassar alumnae/i who share their tales of what they accomplished since graduating with a bachelors in History, which are as widespread as the interests of the students in the department.

Unlike other committees, however, the History Majors’ Committee fulfills those requirements while also taking on the role of putting together two publications.

These publications, which the committee takes on are Gulliver and History Review.

Gulliver is a newsletter, written and published by the students, for the department, which is published every semester. It includes information about news within the History Department, as well as events geared toward the majors. Additionally, the newsletter also describes projects carried out by the faculty members.

The second publication, History Review, is more open to input from all History majors. This usually takes place in the spring, and reviews of books, research papers, and essays are submitted by students in the department.

Cooper hopes that these events, which incorporate more input from students outside of the committee will become more prominent in the future.

“While in the past, the publications have been compiled solely by the committee, this year, and particularly this semester, I am working on making the committee itself more open and accessible to all majors of the history department,” Cooper stated.

She continued, “For example, we have eliminated the election process for committee members, instead encouraging all majors who are interested to become part of the committee. Our weekly meeting time (when it is established) will also be emailed to all majors, and I hope to emphasize that all majors are welcome to drop by and contribute to the committee’s work.”

According to Cooper, this will allow students who have interests they wish to express with the committee to have input without making a full-time commitment.

Collaboration is very important for the committee, as it allows for the majors to engage with one another and discuss various topics of interest.

“The committee is helpful in uniting the department because we each bring to the table our own opinions about the history department, based on our own experiences. In our weekly meetings, we are able to exchange ideas and advice to help each other get the most out of our experience as a history major,” she explained.

The History and Russian Studies double major added that this is especially true for seniors in the department who help one another when it comes to one of the more rigorous requirements they face—the thesis.

“As the history thesis is a requirement for all majors, it is something the seniors all have in common and a significant capstone of our Vassar experience,” she stated.

Cooper’s thesis, for example, focuses on the ‘Siege of Leningrad,’ an event in history that allows her to combine two of her favorite topics.

“In the end, we are all united by our shared love of history,” Cooper concluded.

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