History Alumni

Georgia Whitaker '14 graduated this year with Honors in History with a project on Operation Condor. In addition to her academic interest in the history of Latin America, Georgia has engaged in several community service projects concerning this region, Georgia Whitakerincluding being a project supervisor for Amigo de las Americas in the Dominican Republic, where she oversaw twelve Dominican and North American volunteers' community-based initiave projects and worked to develop relations with several Dominican partner agencies.

The future: What are your plans and how are they related with your Latin American Studies major and studies at Bowdoin? 

In my ideal world, I would attend grad school, earn a Ph.D., and then teach Latin American history at a college level. I have always been especially intersted in the idea of teaching, but my professors at Bowdoin, especially my advisor Allen Wells, and my two other majors have been highly inspirational and have made me want to pursue a career at the undergraduate college level.


Bryant Rich '06 isabout to start his second year of his MBA program at Georgetown. Prior to Bryant Rich '06school, he spent six years as a credit analyst at UBS Investment Bank.
How did your history degree influence your career?
When I interviewed for that job an interviewer came right out and said
that I was not qualified for the job because I did not major in finance or accounting. I asked her how she spent her day and she said that she actually spent much of her time reading securities filings. Of course, once I actually started working my ability to read large quantities of reports quickly was a major asset. My writing skills helped, too. I was able to work much more quickly than others and the accounting and finance were the easiest things to pick up on the job. This past summer I was a fixed income analyst at an institutional investment firm. My supervisor praised me for my ability to research independently, among other things; a skill I learned from my history course work.

Alison Flint '05 is currently a senior associate attorney at the Rocky Mountain Office of Earthjustice, an environmental, non-profit law firm. She represents other environmental organizations and Indian tribes in litigation seeking to protect the crown jewels of our western public lands from threats including oil and gas development, hard-rock mining, climate change, and off-road vehicles. Before beginning law school at the University of Colorado, she worked for a small land trust in New Hampshire. Throughout law school, she worked for a variety of environmental advocacy organizations and federal land management agencies, and served as a research assistant to Charles Wilkinson, conducting significant historical research for his book, The People Are Dancing Again: The History of the Siletz Tribe of Western Oregon

How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?
The analytical, research, and writing skills I developed at Bowdoin provided critically important building blocks for my legal career.  In addition, my understanding of American History generally, and the historical interactions of humans and the environment specifically, has made me a more effective advocate for environmental and natural resources protection.  My cases often involve the legacy of past human relationships with the environment and the laws that developed as a result of those relationships, and understanding that historical context has proven invaluable in many instances. 


Brian Powers '10 is currently a first year medical student at Harvard Medical School where he also plans to pursue a degree in Brian Powersbusiness administration. Prior to entering medical school, Brian worked for two years at the Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC on a variety of health policy and health care improvement issues.

How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?

Despite the vastly different subject matter, I believe my history major was the most beneficial aspect of my Bowdoin education in terms of preparing me for my previous job and my future career as a physician. A Bowdoin history major is more about building skills and learning tools rather than remembering facts. These research, writing, and argumentative skills were extremely valuable at my previous position and will continue to be important in medical school. Furthermore, my history courses at Bowdoin instilled a desire to continually ask questions and seek out evidence to prove or disprove hypotheses. These skills are eminently transferrable to the practice of medicine and medical research.

Scott Ogden '10
currently serves as Press Secretary to U.S Senator Angus King (I-ME) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Senator King, Scott served as Deputy Press Secretary to King's predecessor, U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). As Press Secretary Scott develops messaging strategies, frames policy for public consumption, and acts as a liaison to national and Maine media. At Bowdoin, Scott double-majored in history and government. Scott Ogden '10

How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?

Studying history at Bowdoin laid a strong foundation for my entrance into media relations and public policy. The analytical and writing skills I developed are tremendously valuable in my daily work, particularly in drafting press releases and op-eds, conversing with reporters, and analyzing complex policy initiatives. Perhaps most importantly, though, the history major provided me with an understanding of the past and an appreciation for how it not only shaped the present, but how it can also inform the future. As Mark Twain said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

Wallace Scot McFarlane '09
currently teaches history and writing for GED and alternative high school students at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.  In his free time, Scot can be found fishing on the rivers of the Willamette Valley, contemplating future history research projects.

How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?Brian Powers

I learned the truth behind the teacher's cliche, "there is no such thing as a stupid question." If my students are asking questions and more questions about the world around them, then my lesson plan for that day succeeded. The hope is that they carry those same habits of mind with them as they go through life, whether they end up studying Joshua Chamberlain's diary or a mortgage contract. The other benefit of studying history at Bowdoin comes from its emphasis on perspective: It is context and complexity, not easy solutions, that guide my understanding of the challenges my students face on a daily basis. As for myself, I appreciate the concept of contingency. Sometimes everything can go wrong at once, and the best thing I can do for my career is to laugh and learn from my mistakes.

Caitlin Beach '10 
is currently PhD candidate in the department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where she studies 19th and early 20th century American art. At Bowdoin, she double majored in history and art history.

Caitlin Beach '10How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?

Studying history at Bowdoin provided valuable preparation for graduate school in the humanities in terms of building research and writing skills, as well as in learning how to analyze sources and ask questions with rigor and creativity. Courses I took in United States and environmental history placed a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary thinking and research, and helped significantly in developing my present interests in art history.



Emily Guerin '09 is a reporter at The Forecaster, a weekly newspaper in greater Portland, Maine. Previously, she led wilderness trips, taught environmental education and interned at Living on EarthEmily Guerin '09, a public radio show about science and the environment. She majored in History and Environmental Studies.
How has a history degree from Bowdoin prepared you for your current career?

Being a history major arguably prepared me better for my current job as a reporter than just about anything else I could have studied in college. The ability to interpret primary sources ("documents" in journalism speak), identify and flush out themes in current events, and ask questions are all skills I learned at Bowdoin, but apply to my daily work. Studying history also trained me to think critically about the way events are covered in the media and to look for biases in my and others' reporting.