MA in History

Kenna Felix

Why did you decide to pursue an M.A. in History?

I wanted to pursue an M.A. in History because I knew I wanted to work in Museums. I knew that an M.A. would help me further my career goals. However, I was unsure of exactly what aspect of museums I wanted to pursue. I knew that an M.A. program would help me narrow down my options and find the best field for my skillset.


What was your most rewarding class? Why?

My most rewarding class was Museum Studies with Dr. Spencer Crew. It helped me understand the various aspects of Museum Studies and helped me narrow down the field that I wanted to enter. During the class, we went on a field trip to President Lincoln’s Cottage. While we were there, I found out they were hiring Museum Guides. I applied, interviewed, and got the job. I worked there for 2.5 years and that position helped me figure out that I love Museum Education. It was a turning point in my career that would not have been possible without this class.


How has the M.A. program helped you with your career or your personal interests?

The M.A. program has been integral to my career as a Museum Professional. I particularly think back on my Study and Writing of History class. At the time, I thought the class was a little boring and had too much reading. But as I progressed at GMU and throughout my career, I have realized just how important and integral that class was. I helped give me a foundation for historical study. I find myself repeatedly going back to what I learned in that class and relying on the foundation that course provided me.


Any career advice you would give to students in the program?

I would recommend that students take classes outside their area of interest. I went into the program thinking I was interested in working in archives or curation. I took “The Administration of Archives and Manuscripts” and found that just was not for me. It was a good class and I spent time interning in the Smithsonian Folkways archives which was a great experience. But I am not suited for archives. It was great to take that class and find out what exactly I am suited for.

Additionally, I would recommend taking courses in Digital History and New Media. Most Museum jobs today have some sort of digital component. I have helped create, launch, and maintain websites for my past 3 jobs. I have also created numerous digital exhibits and am even working on creating videos and podcasts for my current job. Even though my concentration was in Applied History, I took New Media courses and they have been extremely helpful throughout my career.


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

I think most people would be surprised to know that throughout my academic career I attended private, public, and home school! Not many people can say they did all three and all three have great pros and cons. Most people are shocked when I tell them I was home schooled.