Undergraduate Alumni Spotlights

A crowd of graduates outside Bond Hall with confetti in the air.

We want to hear from you! If you have news to share, email us at history@wwu.edu or call us at 360-650-2324.

Srangely sitting in mast of boat in the Artic.

I witnessed icebergs calve from glaciers, humpback whales diving beneath our keel...

...Had all my prior research enriched this moment? Perhaps. But thanks to organizational research practices I developed while studying at Western, I am confident I put my best foot forward into the opportunity. And more importantly, I knew this experience would enrich any future reading I did, especially regarding polar exploration, maritime music, or frostbite.

Strangely Doesburg
History BA (2021)
Headshot of Olivia Hathaway

I loved being able to find those primary sources. And it just gives me a really cool feeling, as if you’ve just found a treasure.

So just embrace the process. Research and find as many sources as you can because you get so much more access to that when you’re at school. They give you so many databases that you don’t get outside of school. Embrace that and dive down deep because this is a chance to be able to really find all that stuff that you may not be able to find later.

Olivia Hathaway
History BA (2017)
Headshot of Gabriel Harrison

Don't worry too much about what comes next. While in college, students are often pressured to know what their career path is going to be but if history is what you’re passionate about, do it!

And don’t really worry about [your career path] so much. History is something that teaches you how to understand people, cultures, society, politics, and everything else.

History gives you this great foundation for life.

Gabriel Harrison
History BA (2004)
Headshot of Ryan Hauck

One of the things I appreciated about faculty in the History Department and Woodring was their approachability and accessibility. I learned the importance of building relationships with your students. Teaching starts with relationships. My classroom goals involve more than teaching problem solving and critical thinking. I try impress upon my students that it is important to be actively engaged citizens, locally, nationally, and globally. In so doing, I hope they also learn other values, such as empathy, so critical to the world in which we live.

Ryan Hauck
History BA (1992)
Light and dark blue circle with text, "History Matters." WWU logo at the bottom.

My first book was published at age 70 - It's never too late to discover a talent for writing and presenting programs on history.

Where at first I described myself as an amateur local historian, now I'm a professional one. Along the way, I managed to make a scientific-anthropological discovery that took me to the back rooms of the Smithsonian and has had a lasting effect on Northwest Indigenous women's history.

Candace Wellman
History BA (1986)
Light and dark blue circle with text, "History Matters." WWU logo at the bottom.

A degree in history teaches you how to think critically and be a pro-communicator. You must be able to read large amounts of material in a limited amount of time and write about your ideas with clarity and evidence. The academic rigor of WWU's History program provides graduates with skills that will help them be successful in any career. The two master's programs I have done since graduating have been less rigorous than my BA in History. I think this is a real compliment to the program, and means that its students will thrive in any graduate school or career they pursue.

I am grateful for everything I learned at WWU. Today I am working in healthcare as a patient care coordinator. I have been in the medical field for 5 years and am now working on my MBA to pursue clinical leadership. This may not sound like it has anything to do with history but my degree serves me every day at work and as a graduate student. 

Cecily Janzen
History BA (2013)