BA in History

Wes Fleming, 1995

Wes Fleming

Why did you choose History as a major? 

I chose History as my major for several reasons. I love to read, and right behind that is research and writing. I like knowing why things happened and what effect they had on people down the road. I always wanted to be a teacher, and I thought teaching History would be the most fun… or at least more fun that teaching Calculus!  While I haven’t taught any hard math classes, I can say that I truly enjoy teaching History.

What was your career path after graduation? 

My career path was convoluted. After graduation, I worked as a tech support agent in an Internet service provider’s call center. That led to training new employees, which led to writing training manuals and on to writing technical manuals. When a friend’s company needed an editor, they called me and that was my move over to the news world.  I was just editing for a long time, but later - through motorcycling - got deeply involved in writing as well.  Now I’m in charge of digital media for an organization with 35,000 members and I write and edit for several motorcycle publications.

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

My GMU History major prepared me for my career in a lot of ways.  I got a ton of practice writing, and you know practice makes (nearly) perfect.  Digging into books, journals and other publications to do my research made me competent at tracking down information, and trying to put all that data together into a coherent, well supported argument drove me to become a critical and analytical thinker.  The one thing my History major didn’t prepare me for was how to interview somebody and ask probing questions in a non-confrontational matter. I really wish I’d taken some courses in Oral History to supplement my Journalism coursework.

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

The advice I’d like to give to current Mason students is to read, research and write as much as possible.  These are skills that will assist you in every aspect of your life and career.  The more you write, the better you’ll get at it.  The more you research, the better you’ll get at finding that elusive nugget of critical information.  The more you read, the more you’ll learn about other peoples, places and cultures.  A History major (or minor) is a great way to prepare for your future!