Concentrations

BA in History

Rachel Luckenbaugh, 2016

Rachel Luckenbaugh

Why did you choose History as a major?

Honestly, I chose History because it has always been (and continues to be) my favorite subject. I thought it would be the best discipline to grow me both as a future professional in the career I chose and as a human with understanding and compassion. 

What was your career path after graduation?

I had worked with the history department at GMU as a student assistant and enjoyed my time there so much, I stayed on in that role for almost a year after graduating. Initially, I was looking for a more academic career and sought that out in various settings when I left GMU in 2017. However, I've always been interested in social justice and non-profit work and looked for ways to be involved in that in different capacities. Last year, I made the decision to pursue that full time and was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to work in philanthropy at a nonprofit in Richmond. 

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

A major in history does an excellent job of growing a person as a whole, complex human being, not just as a student in a classroom. The broad range of skills and values that the study of history develops is a gift and a strength. The depth of research, the high caliber of writing and the diversity of interpretations that a history major demands from an individual sets one up for success in any path you may take in life. 

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

I asked this question of one of my first history professors at GMU (hi Dr. Barnes!) and this was his response. "If you learn nothing else in college, learn how to write well." After a few years spent in the working world, I can honestly say that this is true. Developing a engaging, professional writing style is one of the best assets you can have at your disposal. I would also add that finding a mentor among one or more of your professors is one of the best things you can do for your professional and personal development. Take advantage of office hours and be open to taking counsel and guidance from your professors. Most are ready and willing to help you.