Event Type

AHA Online, AHA Workshop, Webinar/Virtual Event, Workshop

AHA Topics

AHA Initiatives & Projects, Career Paths, Graduate Education, Professional Life, Teaching & Learning

Event Description

In 2020-21, the AHA hosted a Virtual Career Development series, with professional development webinars and workshops emphasizing career exploration and skill development for graduate students and early-career historians.


What is Grad School Really Like?

September 10, 2020

Curious about the realities of graduate school? Prospective and new grad students are often overwhelmed with questions about what graduate school is actually like and how to best prepare for it. How do you manage your finances on a graduate stipend? Can you call your advisor by their first name? What is it like to be a TA? How much reading will you have to do and how can you avoid burnout? This webinar, the first in the AHA’s Virtual Career Development series, featured current history PhD and MA students who shared their experiences, discussed professional and academic challenges they’ve faced, and answered questions about their transition into graduate school.

Careers for Historians in the Tech Industry

September 29, 2020

This webinar brought together history PhDs working in a wide variety of roles at tech companies to talk about the work they do, their transition from graduate school into their careers, and job opportunities for historians in the tech sector. Panelists discussed how they draw on historical skills and perspectives in their work, and how their doctoral education did—or did not—prepare them for their jobs.

Making the Most of Your Postdoc

October 8, 2020

A postdoc is the first position many history PhDs take after finishing their dissertations. Postdocs are often research-oriented positions, but are increasingly likely to include significant teaching or administrative commitments. No matter what their title or responsibilities, postdocs often inhabit liminal spaces within the university and the discipline. With limited mentoring and institutional support, these early career historians can find themselves unsure about how best to use their time in the face of impending career decisions and uncertain about pathways to secure employment in or beyond the professoriate. This webinar discussed how universities can better support postdocs and how recent history PhDs can make the most out of a postdoc.


Insight into Meaningful Work: A Professional Development Workshop with Chris Golde

November 17, 2020

Exploring possible careers involves an iterative process of self-assessment and exploring the world. In this 90-minute interactive workshop you will use the Meaningful Work Kit tool-developed by the career center at Stanford University-to learn more about yourself. The MWK is an on-line hands-on assessment tool that helps you identify the values, skills, and elements of work culture most important to you. You will engage in conversation with other participants from around the country about how you define meaningful work. You will develop a clearer sense of what makes you thrive, what meaningful work looks like, and what values are guiding you right now. 

How To Think and Talk about Your Transferable Skills: A Professional Development Workshop with Derek Attig

February 19, 2021

Identifying and articulating your skills is a crucial step on the way to landing a job. But what do we actually mean when we talk about “skills”? This 90-minute interactive workshop introduced a comprehensive, contextual, and creative approach to thinking and talking about skills that draws on your training as a historian and experiences in graduate school. Attendees left with a personalized strategy for understanding what they’re good at—not just a generic list of skills. They also had a chance to practice making those strengths legible to employers in application documents and interviews.

Historical Research Beyond the Professoriate

March 18, 2021

With Sara Georgini, chair (Massachusetts Historical Society & AHA Research Division), Stephanie Young (RAND), Amanda Herbert (Folger Shakespeare Library), Emil Kerenji (U.S. Holocaust Memorial & Museum), Christina Copland (Ancestry.com), Aiyaz Husain (Department of State)

The opportunity to pursue historical research and draw on their expertise is an important career goal of many history PhDs, but the pathways for doing so are not always clear. This webinar explores opportunities for research-focused careers in workplaces as diverse as the federal government, museums, libraries, think-tanks, and the private sector. Panelists will discuss how historical perspectives inform their work and how their positions give them opportunities to contribute to important scholarly conversations.

Teaching History Across the Educational Landscape

April 14, 2021

With Laura McEnaney (chair; Whittier College and AHA Teaching Division), Kelli Nakamura (Kapi’olani Community College), Derek O’Leary (Bard High School Early College DC), Orlando Serrano (Smithsonian Institution), Luke Waltzer (The Graduate Center, CUNY), and Griselda Wille (Nevada State College)

Many people pursue advanced degrees in history because they want to teach, and the majority of history PhDs become teachers. College classrooms are only one option for historians who love to teach, interact with students, and share knowledge about the past. In this webinar, we’ll meet with history PhDs who work as educators in a wide range of professional settings, including collegiate faculty, high school teachers, museum educators, and university staff whose jobs entail supporting teaching and learning. Join us for a discussion of what it means to teach in these settings and how historians promote historical thinking across the educational landscape.