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How Living In Philadelphia Inspires Three History-Lovers to Pursue Their Master of Arts In History

Photo credit: iStock/f11photo

Photo credit: iStock/f11photo

When it comes to thinking about the future, we tend to forget the past. But for these passionate history buffs, thinking about the past inspired their futures.

“I believe in the power of inclusivity and that providing people with a past is a notable mission,” says Blake McGready, a graduate student pursuing his Master of Arts in History at Villanova University.

McGready came to Villanova from upstate New York and saw the university’s prime location outside Philadelphia—America’s birthplace—as a major draw for following his empowering mission to study and teach American history, specifically the American Revolution.

“Villanova’s location near not just Philadelphia, but Valley Forge, Washington’s Crossing and other historic sites offered me numerous opportunities to study significant aspects of the war,” he says.

For Madison Bastress, a graduate student at Villanova also pursuing her master’s degree in history, it wasn’t just the proximity to archives and historical sites that attracted her to Villanova; it was the ability to tailor her program to her specific concentration in history, 18th– and 19th– century American history.

“Villanova’s graduate program in history encourages students to design a concentration that encompasses their interests through comprehensive course listings and interdisciplinary studies,” says Bastress. “The program also offers opportunities to conduct and present original research.”

Besides the area’s major historical sites and research opportunities that fuel McGready and Bastress’s desires to dive deep into the past, Philadelphia’s tiny, sometimes forgotten details of American history that are tucked away in the area’s neighborhoods are also a major source of inspiration.

For Villanova graduate students, finding these tiny treasures is just another day in class.

“As part of our orientation we were asked to go on a scavenger hunt around the city to familiarize ourselves with the different research institutions Philadelphia has to offer,” says Jessica Talarico, a South Jersey native and graduate student pursuing her Master of Arts in History at Villanova University.

Growing up so close to the city, Talarico was first inspired by field trips to the Franklin Institute, Constitution Center and Art Museum. For her, being in a program that not only provides incredible academics but also opportunities outside of the classroom was key. She is currently a graduate assistant at the university.

“It allows me to gain that experience I was looking for, while still earning my degree as a full-time student,” she says.

As an aspiring professor interested in teaching history, or perhaps law eventually, her enthusiasm for history and taking a “major step forward” in reaching her career goals is becoming that much closer with each day at Villanova.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career and want to learn more about the Master of Arts in History at Villanova University, register to attend the Graduate and Adult Education Open House on October 18.