Alumni News

Are you a History Graduate from UNBC?

We like to keep in touch with all our graduates. We are interested in your thoughts and experiences as a History graduate and how your degree set the course for your subsequent career or profession.

Prospective and current students will gain valuable knowledge from your stories that may take them on a learning journey they have never experienced before.

Would you be willing to share a testimonial with us or even a few sentences describing your experiences here at UNBC  and in your current endeavours? We will happily 'pay-it-forward' to our upcoming students.

Please contact us at:
or by regular mail:
     UNBC Department of History
     3333 University Way
     Prince George  BC     V2N 4Z9

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Testimonials from our Alumni

Andrew Meeson, Senior Producer (Copy Chief),  (2006)

When you work on a story for a newspaper, magazine or even for broadcast, you research (called reporting), cross-check your facts and try to synthesize it into a captivating narrative that will reflect some aspect of reality about real-world events, personalities or issues.

Sound familiar?

Because journalism directly taps into those skills that you hone during your history degree, it’s become a cliché to refer to it as “history in a hurry.” Like the best history, superlative journalism answers the five “W”s—who, what, when, where, but most of all why. Whether it’s the Spartans’ defeat at Thermopylae, the spread of Islam or the patriation of the Canadian Constitution you’re writing about, the ability to critically examine sources and arrive at some kind of reasonable explanation as to why things happened the way they did is as essential in journalism as it is in history.

“W”s—who, what, when, where, but most of all why. Whether it’s the Spartans’ defeat at Thermopylae, the spread of Islam or the patriation of the Canadian Constitution you’re writing about, the ability to critically examine sources and arrive at some kind of reasonable explanation as to why things happened the way they did is as essential in journalism as it is in history.

The most obvious difference is the time element. In journalism, your deadlines are not just once a semester or every couple of years when you land a book contract -- they are everyday, and if you work in the online journalism, they’re every minute.

Perhaps that’s why trained historians feel that even the best newspaper or magazine pieces or radio and TV documentaries always seem to be lacking something. They’re like rough sketches of events and personalities just waiting for historians who have the luxury of temporal distance and a longer deadline to write about more reflectively.

But what journalism offers that the history profession typically does not, is the chance to be eyewitness to or a commentator on important events as they actually unfold around you. For better or worse, journalism is created in a white heat and, depending on where your work, can find an interested audience of millions, which delivers a visceral thrill all its own.

Besides, if nothing else, journalism offers a fresh answer to a tiresome question any history major gets repeatedly asked: “What are you going to do with a degree in that—teach?”

Donna L. Atkinson, MA History (2005), UNBC.  Research Assistant, Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), Improved Partnership Stream,

After completing a BA in History at UNBC (2002), I began a graduate degree focused on the history of the native rights movement in the Russian Far North and its connection to natural resource and industrial development. With the support of my graduate supervisor, the UNBC History Program, and the Social Science Research and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), I travelled to Siberia in the summer of 2003 to conduct oral histories and archival research. In addition to developing these important historical skills, my experiences as a history graduate contributed to the strengthening of my research and analytical skills, funding and proposal writing skills, teaching skills, and oral and written communication skills – all of which have proved to be invaluable to my current research work on the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) Improved Partnership Stream

Since joining the CURA in 2004, I have been involved in the qualitative analysis of oral interviews on the processes and outcomes of effective forest co-management. In the identification and interpretation of these critical local perspectives, I have drawn upon my experiences of primary and secondary documentary analysis. Outreach and extension of CURA project results at the academic and community level has also allowed me to use the oral and written communication skills acquired from my degree. In November, I begin an eight month research project with Dr. Gail Fondahl (UNBC), with funds supplementary to the CURA that we acquired from the Real Estate Foundation of BC Partnering Fund, which will document the historical geography of the John Prince Research Forest. This project will likewise be grounded in the collection and interpretation of oral and archival evidence.

Joe Clapperton, BA UNBC (2003), MA University of Victoria, PhD candidate University of Saskatchewan

My undergraduate years at UNBC and the history department (1999-2003) was a thoroughly pleasurable and formative time of my life. The history department offered much that other universities did not. Class sizes were exceptionally small, thus allowing one to connect with and receive the benefits of personal help from the history professors. The professors themselves were extremely knowledgeable, were all good lecturers, and were able to meet with me one on one when required. Furthermore, when considered as a whole, they cover a wide range of geographical and topical fields. I focused on Canadian and indigenous history, and in this area the history department is complemented by scholars in the departments of geography and political science who also specialize in these fields. The history department is also ahead of some other universities because of its history 200 and 300 classes, which introduce students to the actual “doing” of history, as well as the analysis of historiography.

The history department also offers an honours program, which I completed and would highly recommend to any other students, especially if one is thinking about pursing graduate studies. The introduction to historical theory, the writing of an extended (and possibly publishable) research paper, and having to defend one’s thesis prepared me for work on a MA. Other students who did not take advantage of such a program struggled in graduate school at first, especially when it came to historical theory. Perhaps most importantly, the UNBC history program and its professors inspired me to continue on with a rewarding academic career, and I am now working on a PhD and have been able to participate in a number of major historical research projects, including the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canada History website. I am also the project co-coordinator for the University of Saskatchewan Native Research Database project, which will (hopefully) be launched this June. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the support of the professors at UNBC and the high quality of courses and education offered by the history department.