SK: I came to UW Madison as a transfer student. I originally went to a community college in Rockford Illinois where is my hometown. And I started out there as a journalism major, worked on the student newspaper as an editor for a couple of years, got some experience doing that. And realized that my true passion was history, and always has been. I studied early American history for the most part and have continued to also work with educational policy.
LW: And what do you do? Can you explain a little bit what you’re doing now?
SK: I originally started working at the Wisconsin Historical Society with a program called National History Day. I started as a volunteer when I was a student here and I just volunteered for the State Contest as a judge. I was able to come in and meet with students and evaluate their work. I enjoyed it so much even though I didn’t know anything about the program. When the position came up a year later, and I was a senior here, I applied and was offered the position as Assistant Coordinator for the program.
National History Day is a program for our students in sixth through twelfth grade to do their own historical research projects. I get to travel around the state, introduce students to the project, help them do their research, and then help them execute the project and then go through a competitive cycle. So it’s an exciting position to be able to work with students from all around Wisconsin and it’s a national program with about a half a million students that participate each year. There are nine thousand in Wisconsin so quite a bit of students. I proceeded to work at the Historical Museum for a little while to fill in my time right after I graduated. Then when a position opened up again here at the Historical Society I decided to work with our press along with History Day. I worked on the press with educational publications. So I was able to work with a text book and other things for younger students. Just recently I’ve been able to bump up to History Day full-time and I’m currently the State Coordinator for the program. So looking forward to a new year of History Day.