BA in History

Arianna Harbert, 2022

Arianna Harbert

How did you decide on the history major?

I selected history as my major for several reasons. In high school, U.S. history and Western Civilization were my favorite subjects.  My high school history teacher encouraged us to analyze and decipher historical events and develop our own understanding and appreciation for history.  Now, I love to learn and analyze how historical events have impacted today’s society.  Having a knowledge of history on an individual, local, national and global level is important for our society’s effective development.

Are you minoring or double majoring in anything else? If so, how do the two work together – or separately?

I will be pursuing a minor in French. As a student in the International Baccalaureate program I had the opportunity to learn French in middle school and continue until the end of high school. In terms of merging history and French together, I am interested in learning more about the impact of French culture on the African Diaspora. I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans a few summers ago and fell in love with the rich culture of the Bayou. I plan to study abroad in France and Europe and my French speaking skills will allow me to immerse myself in the French history and culture.

What have you learned in a history class that really surprised you/changed your perspective?

This past semester I took “The African-American Experience in the United States: From Enslavement to Emancipation” with Dr. Suzanne Smith.  As an African-American woman, I had a general appreciation and knowledge of the history of my ancestors from my parents. However, HIST 335 caused me to look at the history of African Americans in a different context.  Having a deeper understanding of the struggle and sacrifices of my ancestors has made me reflect on my life and the impact I would like to have on society. 

Tell us about your dream occupation…

I see the profession of a museum curator as the one occupation that merges my love of history and educating people in an engaging and interactive way.  As a museum curator, I will be able to help ensure that history is preserved while creating thought-provoking spaces in which children and adults can learn.  I have not decided what area of history I would like to specialize in. I plan to narrow down my interest area by the end of the academic year.

Have you had any internships? Or interesting jobs or volunteer experience? Tell us about it/them.

I am from Richmond, Virginia, and recently the Women’s Business Center of Metro Richmond opened up. The goal of the Women’s Business Center RVA is all about helping women entrepreneurs create strong and thriving businesses.  I have the opportunity to work with fabulous women who are charting their own path and inspiring each other to reach their goals. I am a seasonal intern and I can’t wait to return over my break!

Any accomplishments you’re proud of? Opportunities you’ve taken advantage of? Brag a little!

I was selected to participate in the the Maggie L. Walker Youth Summer Leadership Institute during my ninth grade year.  The Youth Summer Leadership Institute is a highly competitive program for high school students to develop leadership skills and participate in community service projects.  The program is sponsored by the National Park Service and is conducted at the Maggie L Walker Historical Site. I was one of 14 students selected from the greater Richmond community to participate in this program.  My participation in this program was a huge honor for me because Maggie L. Walker was a great pioneer in history and her legacy constantly reminds me that I can do anything.

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I have a learning disability that at one point in time really held me back from my potential. I was super worried about attending college and not being good enough, even though I was an IB student.  Now I am in college thriving and chasing my dreams without this disability stopping me anymore. I have learned to work with my disability and not allow my disability to work against me. I say to anybody who also has a disability, know that it is possible to reach your goals, and it will be okay!