Heather McBride Scheurer is a Ph.D. candidate in public history at Middle Tennessee State University with a research agenda focused on wartime collections and museum interpretation. She has presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association and led a class in the creation of a board game on Gilded Age New York City. At Ball State, she will be teaching courses in public history and surveys in United States and world history.
How would you describe your perspective on teaching?
First, I believe that every student should be able to see themselves in history. Every lesson I plan includes voices and stories from historically marginalized groups. Second, I believe that learning history should be fun. So often we focus on the horrors and tragedies of the human existence (wars, plagues, economic disasters, etc), but there are so many fun stories and massive human achievements to teach, too. Too many students enter my classroom thinking that history is dull. One of my overall goals is to change their mind.
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
My dissertation! I am in the final stages of completing my dissertation on souvenir collecting in World War II and museum interpretation. I will be graduating with a PhD in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University soon.
What are you reading right now?
Antisemitism Here and Now by Deborah Lipstadt. I am always interested in her perspective.
I also read a lot of the Llama Llama series because my toddler is obsessed. My favorite is Llama Llama Red Pajama.
What are your hobbies or interests?
I love to spend time exploring with my husband and son. We have moved around a lot for graduate school and now a job, and each new place is like an adventure. We hit up every museum, historic site, outdoor activity, and BBQ joint we possibly can on the weekends.
For quiet time, I like to sew and quilt. My grandmother and a family friend taught me to sew at 12 years old. I enjoy piecing together quilt tops and sending them home for my grandparents to quilt. So often academic work takes months and years to see any real results, like publication. Sewing is something that I can see the results as I go and that is very satisfying.
Who are your biggest role models?
My mentor at MTSU, Dr. Amy Sayward is one of my role models. She has helped me grow as a student, a teacher, and a person. Her kindness and thoughtfulness are contagious. She was always ready with tissues and a hug anytime I needed it. Everyone should get to have someone like her in their life.
What is a piece of advice you would offer students?
First, come to office hours. Talk to your professors. We have been exactly where you are right now, so please come to us for help. We genuinely care about your well-being and want to do everything we can to help you succeed.
Second, have fun! College should be demanding and challenging, but you should also be having a good time. Set aside time every week to do something just for you.
You can read about Dr. Shiau-Yun Chen, another new faculty member in history and women and gender studies.