BA in History

Jerome Taylor, Jr., 2015

Jerome Taylor, Jr.

Why did you choose History as a major?

I changed my major five times. The first one was Biochemistry, the second was Biology (less chemistry). I was still unhappy and chose Political Science and was going to do what my parents wanted and become a lawyer. Then I decided to choose my own path and while taking general education classes I learned what I liked, the social sciences and liberal arts. I then chose Communication, but quickly changed to History as I found it fascinating. It was a blend of everything: social aspects, economics, people, facts, truth, stories, etc. I relearned what I was taught in high school and then I was given a much broader and deeper perspective on that history. It was like having a tiny sample spoon of ice cream and then having a giant sundae. 

What was your career path after graduation?

After graduation, my career path involved retail, government, education, and nonprofits.  While at Mason I had an idea of what I wanted to do, which was to go into the nonprofit world, because I like helping and doing something with a purpose. I went into a nonprofit internship and started tutoring. I loved doing both. My current job as a historical interpreter/Civil War reenactor/living artifact for the African American Civil War Museum is a mixture of these things and more.

How do you think your History major at Mason prepared you for your career?

History is a major that requires you to think critically, analyze data, communicate well (especially in writing), have an open mind, and be quick on your feet. These characteristics and skills are those of a leader. Many employers seek these qualities. My degree gave me the tools to succeed.  

Any advice you’d like to give current Mason students?

Your major doesn't limit you to a specific career. I've been offered positions in management, marketing, and business. It’s your mindset and work ethic that open many doors. 

Each day technology is growing, but do not forget some of the old-fashioned ways of doing things, such as having a network, going to a job site prepared (if only to ask if they are hiring), and shaving with a safety razor at 6:00 in the morning.