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Recreating History: Amy Graves, 2000

Posted on Sep 4, 2012
University alum, Amy Graves, is using her History degree from UWS to pursue a career she loves.

Amy Graves graduated from UW-Superior in 2000 with a major in History and a minor in Communications.  At the university, Graves was active in the Admissions Office as a student ambassador. She was also the president of the History Club and a senator in the Student Government. These on-campus opportunities are what she credits for boosting her confidence level and honing her communication skills. Her abilities were put to good use after graduation, as she now works as a History Interpreter at the Minnesota Historical Society in Pine City, Minnesota.

A Love for History

With her degree in history and her passion for the subject, Graves found a job that suits her well. At the Historical Society, she teaches tour groups about the background of the fur trading post while playing the part of an 1804 Ojibwa woman. Graves greatly enjoys the opportunities that her job provides for her. She remarks, "Within this field of work, I am able to combine my love for entertainment with my love to talk and interact with people." These qualities allow her to converse easily with tour groups and provide them with a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that encourages them to ask questions and get the most out of their experience.

Job Qualifications

One of the main credentials for this job is work experience. With her education in both History and Communications, as well as a background in customer service, personal communications, and acting, Graves was well qualified for her job. She believes that any degree would be suitable for this area of work. In her opinion, employers look more closely at how previous job experience can relate to the position being applied for than in what field a degree was actually obtained.

A Typical Work Day

On the job, Graves spends the majority of her time working outdoors with the tour groups. Though she enjoys her job, the weather does not always want to cooperate with her. "There are no indoor tours," she comments, "so even when it is cold, raining, etc. I am outside working." Despite the conditions, Graves makes the most of it and can be seen giving her tours, rain or shine.

Her Education is not History

Even though she completed her degree in History, Graves is not done learning yet. "I spend a lot of time outside giving tours, but I also spend time researching about my character and the history, so that I can better impersonate for the tour groups that come to learn about the Fur Post." This extra studying is done in addition to her regular touring job.

Along with this extra research at work, Graves has also made the decision to further her education by returning to college. She wants to be able to move up in her line of work at the Minnesota Historical Society, so she went back to school at the College of St. Scholastica in order to pursue a degree in Management with an emphasis in Organizational Development. Though she enjoys her job at the Fur Post, she hopes to continue to advance her position to become a site coordinator or manager, giving her more leadership opportunities such as planning and organizing tours.

Best Advice for Current Students

When asked if Grave had any advice for students who are considering pursuing this type of career, she responded by saying, "You can't give up on what you love to do. You may not make a lot of money in this line of work, but it's worth it if you love history. For me, it's an emotionally rewarding field to be in." The advice that she received during her freshman orientation at UW-Superior also stuck with her through the years. Tammy Fanning was present at Grave's orientation and had told her, "College is what you make of it, find ways to make what you want out of life happen." This message seems to have struck a chord with Graves, as she now has an enjoyable career doing something she sincerely enjoys.

Amy Graves was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. Her full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/day-in-the-life.cfm.

Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on February 16, 2012. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.

News Contact: Shannon Gilligan | 715-394-8026 | sgillig1{atuws}
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