Publication Date

January 29, 2016

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, Perspectives Daily

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Amy WilliamsAmy Williams is a Learning Management System administrator and student advocate at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is also a third-year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in Milton, Wisconsin, and has been a member since 2013.

Twitter handle: @a_williams06 (personal), @MyLifeIsHistory (website)

Alma maters: BA (history), Carroll University, 2012; MA (public history) and MLIS (archives), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, currently in third year

Fields of interest: Black Death, Tudor monarchy, late medieval English history, Renaissance/Reformation, digital history and archives, Yukon gold rush

When did you first develop an interest in history?
I was always interested in history, but it particularly peaked when I was a freshman in high school. I was part of an extracurricular activity called Academic Decathlon which centered on a different historical theme every year. I discovered that I found all aspects fascinating and always looked forward to learning more about the time period we were studying.

What projects are you currently working on?
Right now I am making the final touches to an article that is being published in the Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science called “Participation, Collaboration and Community-Building in Digital Repositories.” I am interested in possibly presenting at the Brightspace Fusion conference in 2016 (the largest conference for users of Desire2Learn (D2L)) regarding incorporating liberal art principles in online technology orientations.

Have your interests changed since graduation? If so, how?
My interests have changed in that I have become much more interested in how technology plays a role in the humanities, especially in how technology is making primary sources and other scholarly works available to anyone who has access (whether open or gated). I am not as interested in becoming a niche academic as I once thought—rather, I would like to help others access digital sources and use them both efficiently and effectively. This is part of what drove me to pursue advanced degrees in both library science and history. Additionally, being a learning management administrator has given me some unique insights as to how faculty at my own university are incorporating technology into their teaching.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?If one is interested in something amusing and not necessarily academic, I highly recommend a parody King Henry VIII Twitter account (@KngHnryVIII). It is updated daily and always elicits a laugh or two.

What do you value most about the history profession?
Probably the thing I value most about the history profession is the sense of community among historians. I am only three years out of my undergraduate career, but most historians I have met through my occupation and conferences and other networking events are quite simply wonderful. They always seem interested in the direction I am pursuing with my history degree and are often willing to impart knowledge to me (and others) who are just starting their careers. And quite honestly, it is often nice to be able to trade opinions on an obscure branch of history with someone who is equally nuts about history as I am.

Why have you continued to be a member of the AHA?
I have remained a member of AHA because it has not only helped me keep abreast of what is going on in the field, but it also has provided me resources on how I can better myself as a budding professional.

Do you have a favorite AHA annual meeting anecdote you would like to share?
I have yet to attend an AHA meeting, but I am hoping to do so in the near future!

Other than history, what are you passionate about?
I am passionate about reading and writing, blogging (when I get the chance), online gaming, and debating the latest fan theories regarding Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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