AHA Member Spotlight: Marcelo Aranda
Marcelo Aranda is an American studies and digital humanities coordinator at North Carolina School of Science and Math–Morganton. He lives in Morganton, North Carolina, and has been a member since 2012.
Alma maters: AA, City College San Francisco, 2005; BA, University of California, Berkeley, 2007; PhD, Stanford University, 2013
Fields of interest: science, Latin America, US, digital, early modern Europe
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
Coming to the US as an immigrant from Nicaragua during the Cold War, I tried to make sense of my own story by studying 20th-century international relations. This eventually led to an undergraduate major in history, which in turn led to my graduate studies in history of science at Stanford, where I researched early modern Jesuit scientific networks through digital methods. I taught as a postdoc at Stanford and an adjunct in the Bay Area, but I wanted something more stable, so for six years I taught at Quarry Lane School, an independent school in the East Bay. I have come to enjoy teaching high school students and working with them to prepare for university coursework. Just recently I moved to Morganton, North Carolina, to be closer to family and to be a founding faculty member for the new NCSSM campus.
What do you like the most about where you live and work?
Although I have only lived here a few months, I think Morganton and Western North Carolina are amazing. The nature around here is beautiful and everyone in our community has been very welcoming. My institution is very supportive and they are actively supporting me in developing a digital history and humanities curriculum for their students. I also like having a five-minute commute as opposed to a 45-minute one.
What projects are you currently working on?
Most of my time is focused on getting both our department and teaching programs going, but I would like to eventually have students work on digital projects that can serve as resources for future American Studies classes and for other educators. I am also looking forward to developing our Latin American studies program at NCSSM.
Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how?
I only started teaching US history seven years ago, so I have been learning that field at a deeper level. I have also been developing digital history curriculum that will work with high school students as opposed to using DH for research.
What do you value most about the history discipline?
I have always liked that history is the most humane of the social sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. Sitting astride those two fields allows us to use the methods of the social sciences, while also considering the complexity of human actions and motivations.
Why is membership in the AHA important to you?
The AHA serves as an advocate for our discipline, a place to exchange research, and a resource for educators.
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, Perspectives Daily features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
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