Surprised to hear this from a history major? You shouldn’t be.
I oversee a few different business management programs and there’s constant shifting between competing priorities. A lot of my week involves project planning and compliance, budget reviews, policy review and application, and supervision.
Michelle Haas graduated in 2001 from Ball State University with a degree in History. To complete her Public History program, she interned for the National Park Service (NPS) at New River Gorge National Park in WV. Since then, she continued to work for the NPS at several parks throughout the nation working in a variety of roles from resource interpretation and management to business and administration. She now works at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park in Charleston, SC. She spends her free time travelling, hiking, playing bass in a garage band, and spending time with friends and family.
What did you study while you were at Ball State?
History with a focus on Public History.
What is your career now?
I work as a Concessions & Fee Program Specialist for Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service.
What does a typical week in your position look like?
I oversee a few different business management programs and there’s constant shifting between competing priorities. A lot of my week involves project planning and compliance, budget reviews, policy review and application, and supervision. While I no longer work regularly with the public directly or create content the public has access to, I’ve continued working in the field of public history by administering programs that support visitor services and experiences within the park.
What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major?
To effectively target my research for the data, I need to serve a specific purpose and translate it in a way that makes it accessible to those who need to understand and refer back to it.
How are the skills you learned as a History student relevant to your career and life today?
I learned to think critically about the information I received and to seek out other sources when the information wasn’t complete. What was missing in the story presented and why? As a park manager, I had a responsibility to convey complete information and in doing so help maintain the integrity of, and high regard for my agency. In my everyday life it helps me work through the information, disinformation, and agendas of various media sources, political spin, and even recreational reading.
What is your advice to other History students?
Be bold in pursuing opportunities within the organizations that inspire you. Your skill set is transferrable in a variety of ways. Seek out travel and volunteer opportunities as much as you can. You’ll gain more insight and experience of the world and human condition than you can imagine!
You can connect with Michelle via her email (firstname.lastname@example.org).