Alumni and Careers

The major and minor in history provide students not simply with a "useable past," but also with the skills to cope with an ever-changing world. The value of a degree in history is evident in the wide range of occupations our graduates have pursued.
Alumni Profile of Tom Leung, Class of 1996

Tom Leung ’96

Major(s): History

Minor: Economics

Location: San Francisco, California

Most Memorable History Class: Honors project on the history of modern Chinese economic reform.

What have you been up to since graduating Bowdoin?

I went into management consulting after graduation, then I went to business school for my MBA, and since then I've been in the tech industry as a product manager at a variety of companies over the years. I also do a lot of volunteer work for political campaigns and host a podcast about technology product management and another about American politics. I've lived in Boston, Seattle, Zurich, and now San Francisco Bay Area where I live with my wife and two sons (12 and 14).

Why history?

I found my interests were very cross-disciplinary and understanding the history of something required and valued those varied interests (e.g., economics, sociology, government, anthropology, etc.). I also liked the idea that history as a discipline is one of the oldest liberal arts departments so there was this nice sense of longevity to it. I think it's in some ways one of the original interdisciplinary departments but TBH I think the major is less important than the classes you take and professors and classmates with whom you learn. Ultimately, we end up working for organizations that value people who can learn, communicate, and solve problems. Learning history at a place like Bowdoin was a truly unique privilege and formative phase in my life given the small size, access to professors, and collaborative culture of the College.  

Brian Powers

Brian Powers

Class of: 2010

Location: Boston, MA

Major(s): History

Brian Powers is a graduate of the class of 2010 from St. Louis, MO. At Bowdoin, he majored in history. He graduated from the joint MD/MBA program at Harvard in 2017, and is currently an internal medicine resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

More About Brian

Brian left Bowdoin knowing that he wanted to be a physician, but also that he wanted to better understand the health care system, and how it was changing. After graduation, Brian moved to Washington, DC and began working at the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), supporting their Leadership Consortium on Value and Science-Driven Health Care. While at the NAM, he developed a strong interest in the organization and financing of health care delivery. To further develop these interests, Brian enrolled in the joint MD-MBA program at Harvard.

Tom Read

Tom Read ’15

Major(s): History

Minor(s): Education

Throughout my practicum, I collaborated every day with my team of teachers and developed new curricula with the intent of giving each student as personalized a learning experience as possible.

Where was your Student Teaching placement?

Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Deer Isle, Maine

Following my graduation from Bowdoin in May of 2015, I moved to Deer Isle, Maine and worked at Deer Isle-Stonington High School as a paraprofessional until shifting into my student teaching practicum there in Spring 2016. I was able to teach two different courses in U.S. History. One of them covered traditional content, while the other was a team taught, interdisciplinary effort that was part of the high school’s offerings in their Marine Studies Pathway. Entitled “U.S. History Through the Fisheries,” the course sought to integrate skills and content knowledge of history, English, and marine trades. Throughout my practicum, I collaborated every day with my team of teachers and developed new curricula with the intent of giving each student as personalized a learning experience as possible. While I leave my student teaching experience with knowledge of how to develop better lesson plans or modified assessments, perhaps my most important take away is to remember the process of reciprocal transformation that occurs with teaching and learning. In order for learning to take place, I must first remember to ask not what I have to offer my students, but what we have to offer each other.

Why Education?

I first began to think about a career in teaching after my sophomore year of high school. I had always been a “good” student in the sense that I achieved high grades and was very studious. That year, however, my history teacher became the first to really challenge me to embrace failure and to get out of my learning comfort zone. His approach to teaching and assessing history was far different than anything else I had encountered to that point in my life – he made me actively bring the learning to him, rather than having me be a passive agent in the classroom where he imparted knowledge of the content onto me. After taking his class, I was hooked on history with a new sense of excitement and ownership of how and what I could learn. From that point on, I began to think that becoming a history teacher would not only allow me to continue exploring a subject that I found fascinating and exciting, but more importantly it could give me the opportunity to inspire students to develop confidence as learners in the same way that my teacher did for me.

At Bowdoin, I have taken advantage of opportunities provided to develop an understanding of and skills in educational policy, philosophy, and practice in a wide range of contexts from urban to rural. I took part in two Alternative Spring Break trips focused on learning about urban education, one as a participant in New York City, and another as a trip leader in Washington, D.C. For my pre-practicum experience, I was placed in a tenth grade Civics and Government class at Falmouth High School in a suburb of Portland, Maine.