On April 3, the St. Cloud State University Department of History hosted four History alumni to speak to current students, faculty and staff about the opportunities they have been presented after earning degrees from SCSU.
Alumni David Mead, Nathan Zacharias, Kayla Stielow and Shaela (Rabbit) Pion found numerous connections in conversations at the opening reception with History Professors Jason Eden, Robert Galler and Jeffrey Mullins, as well as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Mark Springer. The graduates each returned to campus with fascinating stories, experiences and lessons to share with the next generation of History students. Their affable dispositions, particular job advice and humor proved engaging to current students and led to numerous questions and conversation at the end of the presentations.
David Mead used his Master’s in History degree from SCSU to go on to work for U.S. Bank after graduation. He is now the founder and owner of Endeavor Sales Intelligence. Mead highlighted the value of skills he developed through extensive reading and analysis in History courses. These skills provided him with unique insights and abilities to contribute to financial decision-making, and to establish his own company. The entrepreneur noted that while many in the business world simply hire students with business degrees, he successfully argued his deep-research training and distinct perspectives provided new insights to contribute to project developments.
Nathan Zacharias earned a Bachelor’s degree in History at SCSU and went on to earn a Master’s degree in History at the University of Connecticut before returning to Minnesota. He came back to SCSU from St. Paul where he works as a Technology Policy Analyst for the Association of Minnesota Counties. Having worked for Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin after graduate school, Zacharias asserted the importance of advocacy for counties across the state and how history research and writing prepared him to pitch county needs like rural broadband in the state legislature today.
Kayla Stielow also took a bit of a circuitous path to her current position. After graduating from SCSU with a Social Studies Education license and teaching in northern Alaska for several years, she returned to Minnesota to focus on presenting history to the public rather than in classroom settings. Stielow’s varied experiences and SCSU graduate degree in Public History prepared her to work for various programs within the Minnesota Historical Society and she now serves as the site manager for the Charles Lindberg House and Museum in Little Falls. Stielow was also recently awarded the 2022 St. Cloud State University Distinguished These Award.
Shaela (Rabbit) Pion returned to campus from the Twin Cities in her fatigues. She is now CPT Shaela Pion and a Command Historian for the U.S. Army. She too highlighted the significance of her historical skills and research abilities to contribute to the U.S. Army, and how military leaders turned to her for historical context as they presented military campaigns and made decisions for the future. Through the availability of distance learning, Pion is currently completing her graduate degree in History at SCSU.
These students presented stories and lessons that built off of each other, to reinforce themes learned in the study of history. Students with critical thinking, research and writing skills are well prepared for an ever-changing job market. Learning how to conduct research, analyze their findings and present their results prepares provide students with adaptability and resilience to face challenges they will face as their professional careers evolve after graduation.