Molly Ingram: Regional Recruiter

"The UC Davis History department has so many great professors, but I definitely had my favorite professors, and loved to take as many classes with them as I could."

Molly Ingram

Name: Molly Ingram

Current Position: Regional Recruiter of Northern California, University of Arizona

Major: History

Graduation: 2014

Being a Sacramento native, UC Davis appealed to me not only because of its relatively close distance to home, but because of its excellent academics. After graduating from UC Davis with highest honors and departmental distinction, I accepted a graduate teaching fellowship at the University of Oregon, where I received my master's degree in history in 2017. I currently work in undergraduate admissions as the Regional Recruiter of Northern California for the University of Arizona.

How did your UC Davis education prepare you for this work?

Being successful in a history class requires organization and communication skills, as well as memory retention and data management (in terms of primary documents and secondary source material), and these are all skills I use in my current position. Furthermore, the analytically persuasive thought process that an education in history provides has been helpful in my current role, since I use persuasion when interacting with prospective students interested in applying to the university.

Are there any classes or activities from Davis you found particularly helpful?

The UC Davis History department has so many great professors, but I definitely had my favorite professors, and loved to take as many classes with them as I could. Dr. Kathy Stuart's HIS 4B was one of the most memorable classes​, because she incorporated a "trial of Galileo" where each student had to assume the role of a historical figure, and use course material and historical knowledge to think like that person. I was also particularly fond of Dr. Smolenski's courses. Dr. Smolenski's emphasis on narrative lectures and de-emphasis on PowerPoint "slide heavy" lectures ensured that I remained engaged and listened to the material he was teaching. Finally, I loved Dr. McKee's "Bread, Bath, and Beyond" cultural history seminar, since she gave us the freedom to write our term papers on an historical object of our choice. Not only did this freedom of choice allow me to think more critically, but it provided diverse and interesting discussion in class, because we all had such different paper topics! 

Do you have any advice for current students?

1) American and European history classes, especially modern history classes, tend to be more popular with American college students, perhaps because this subject matter is most familiar to them. I encourage students to take history classes on time periods and geographical regions they know little or nothing about, because they might be pleasantly surprised and discover an area of history that they never would have discovered had they not taken this chance. 
2) If you have even the slightest interest in attending a history graduate program, continue (or start) to study foreign languages! Without the ability to read foreign languages, your options for graduate work will be severely limited, because you won't be able to read primary documents from your chosen field if they aren't English documents. It's possible, but not easy to learn a new foreign language while completing your graduate coursework and your teaching assistantship duties. 
3) If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in history, seriously consider the UC Davis Honors Thesis program. I am so glad that I wrote an honors thesis under the advisement of Dr. Kathy Stuart, because this experience gave me a good idea what graduate school would be like. The courses I took with my fellow honors thesis cohort prepared me well for grad school, as did the process of doing research, compiling data, and writing a thesis with an adviser. Also, the Honors Thesis program at Davis helped me discover what research topics and areas of history I wanted to explore further at the graduate level.
4) Another piece of advice that Dr. Kathy Stuart gave me when I was considering applying to graduate school is "don't go into debt!" I was incredibly fortunate to find a master's degree program that provided me with a teaching fellowship, because I was able to graduate debt-free, as well as gain teaching experience at the same time. 
5) Finally, if you have the opportunity to do so, study abroad! I participated in Kathy Stuart's Vienna Summer Abroad program the summer after I finished all of my undergraduate coursework. The experience reaffirmed my desire to get a graduate degree in history. It's one thing to read about history, but being able to see the buildings, cathedrals, and primary documents housed in museums is a completely transformative experience!