Sunday, February 28, 2010

Career Resources

The Job Hunt & Resumes

Tips & Resources:

The Humanities & the Job Market
  • This recent article from the Harvard Business Review nicely articulates the concrete skills and perspective that humanities graduates bring to the workplace.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The HUST Bookshelf

A few years ago one of our majors was walking down the main hall of LeMans with an armload of books. As she passed two other students she overheard one of them ask, "I wonder what her major is?" Her friend replied, "Must be Hust."

All of you remember the equation "Hust = Books." Follow these links to see some of the books we're using in our classroom and what's on our bedside tables.

HUST Christmas Celebration

Dr. Ambrose and Dr. Hicks dined with Humanistic Studies majors at Tippecanoe Place toward the end of the fall semester '09.

Spotlight on Sarah Gunn

Sarah Gunn is a member of the Humanistic Studies 2010 graduating class. In the summer of 2009, Sarah worked as an editorial intern at Simon & Schuster in London, United Kingdom. Sarah works as a student assistant in the Humanistic Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies office in addition to writing for the news department at the Observer. After graduation, Sarah is moving to New York for an editorial internship at Penguin and would like to eventually attend graduate school for Health Communications. For a link to her blog, click here.

Spotlight on Mary Ellen Toth

Mary Ellen Toth is a current senior, majoring in Humanistic Studies and Spanish, with a minor in Philosophy. Mary Ellen spent a year studying in Seville, Spain. Back on campus, Mary Ellen sings in the Women's Choir and works as an assistant in the Spanish department. Throughout the year, Mary Ellen has coordinated events for the Humanistic Studies department, like the Christmas dinner and several HUST week programs. In the fall of 2010, Mary Ellen will begin a Master's program for Library Science. Mary Ellen's blog is here.

On Our Bedside Table

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (Dr. Ambrose)

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Dr. Ambrose)

Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Dr. Ambrose)

Junot Diaz, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar

(Dr. Ambrose)

Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (Dr. Ambrose)

Geraldine Brooks, People of the Book (A history of a rare Hebrew manuscript from its origin in medieval Spain to its present-day museo-political strife around the globe.) (Sarah Gunn '10)

David Eagleman, Sum: Forty tales from the Afterlives (Eagleman's startlingly imaginative "proverbs" about what the afterlife could be, which is really more an existential projection of how we imagine and value our own lives. Charming, provocative, beautifully written.) (John Shinners)

Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism (Author of Brunelleschi's Dome, here King explores what led to the innovations of Manet. A wonderful recreation of the mid-19th-century Paris art world.) (John Shinners)

Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (Sarah Gunn '10)

Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wife and The Cross (The last two volumes of Undset's epic story of Kristin, which take her from her marriage to her death bed. A great historical novel and one of the best evocations of medieval life, in this case, the 14th century.) (John Shinners)

Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle (Sarah Gunn '10)

The New Yorker (Philip Hicks)

Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence (Dr. Ambrose)

Colloquium and Cultural History

Medieval Literature

Abelard and Heloise, Letters and the Story of My Misfortunes
Augustine, Confessions
Benedict of Nursia, Rule
Beroul, Romance of Tristan
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Dante, The Inferno
Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne
Everyman and Other Medieval Miracle Plays
Geoffroi de Charny, The Book of Chivalry
Gregory the Great, Life of St. Benedict
Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories
Jean de Joinville, The Life of St. Louis
The Life of Christina Markyate
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Song of Roland
Virgil, Aeneid

Renaissance and Reformation Literature

Boccaccio, The Decameron
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier
Benevenuto Cellini, Autobiography
Laura Cereta, Collected Letters of a Renaissance Feminist
Erasmus, Praise of Folly
Ignatius Loyola, Autobiography
Martin Luther, Selected Writings
Machiavelli, The Prince
Sir John Mandeville, Travels
Thomas More, Utopia
Petrarch, My Secret, Selected Letters and Poems
Shakespeare, Sonnets

Early Modern Literature

Francis Bacon, Essays
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of the Life
Françoise de Graffigny, Letters of a Peruvian Woman
John Locke, Second Essay on Government
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Michel Montaigne, Essays
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Relacion
Duc de Saint-Simon, Memoirs of Louis XIV
William Shakespeare, Othello
Voltaire, Candide
Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women

Romantic and Modern Literature

James, Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Albert Camus, The Plague
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
Martha Gellhorn, The Face of War
Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spotlight on Nicole Bieganski

Nicole Bieganski is a student of the Humanistic Studies class of 2011, in concert with her History major. An alumna of the European Summer Study program, Nicole appreciates the multifaceted nature of study in the HUST concentration. She enjoys studying the history and literature of the Western tradition, as well as the forum for discussion, creativity, and exploration that the classroom provides. Nicole is also a member of the dance company and choir at Saint Mary's. View Nicole's web page here.

Spotlight on Rachel Frank

Rachel Frank is a member of the class of 2011. Along with her Humanistic Studies major, Rachel is also pursuing a Political Science major and has completed a minor in French. In addition to acquainting herself with works of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and politics, Rachel enjoys writing and reading as much as possible. A member of the Saint Mary's College Women's Choir and the student-run a cappella group, Bellacappella, Rachel enjoys singing and writing music. She hopes that her love of the French language one day brings her to Paris. With the help of the skills learned from her HUST education, Rachel plans on enrolling in law school in the fall of 2011, and hopes to one day work in international law. Her e-Portfolio is accessible here.

Spotlight on Martha Walter

A true interdisciplinarian and a member of the 2011 graduating class, Martha Walter has complemented her HUST major with minors in both Math and Studio Art. She is particularly interested in photography, silkscreen printing, and pottery. Martha hopes to expand her intellectual interests even further in the future by taking courses in journalism and magazine writing, with an eye toward a future career in the field. She also hopes to be able to incorporate her love of art into her life after Saint Mary's. This summer will prove especially exciting for Martha as she heads abroad for the first time as a part of the European Summer Study program. Martha's webpage is here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why Major?

Tell us about the Department of Humanistic Studies here at Saint Mary’s College.
Having a hard time deciding on a major? Enjoy reading, writing, and discussion? Feel as though you’d like to learn more about the “big picture” and be able to answer questions like, “How do Dante’s and Shakespeare’s works fit into history?” “How did Christianity shape the Middle Ages?” “Why are there Catholics and Protestants?” “Why did the Italian Renaissance produce so many great artists?” “What’s the link between the French and the American Revolutions?” If so, then HUST is for you!
We offer a unique, dynamic course of study that combines elements of all of the humanities and looks at culture in all its diversity. Throughout your education with HUST, you’ll be encouraged to see how it all connects: history and literature, music and art, philosophy and religion. 
What classes can the students expect to take in the Department of Humanistic Studies?
HUST offers a number of intro courses that feature spirited conversation and stimulating readings, all while fulfilling the college’s general education requirement. Some of our most popular courses include Lives & Times (HUST 103)—real-life stories of fascinating individuals throughout history; Myth, Legend, and History (HUST 197)—different ways of seeing the past from Cleopatra to the Titanic; High Society (HUST 212)—a thousand years of British royals and aristocrats from King Arthur to Princess Diana; and Greek and Roman Culture (HUST 292)—love, friendship, sex, beauty, and myth in the ancient world.
For the major, students take four tandems or paired courses (one in literature, one in cultural history) that take them through Western Civilization from the Middle Ages to the present (8 classes total, plus an art history class).
Courses in Humanistic Studies are taught by professors trained in history as well as literature, with fields of specialization that include medieval religious life, eighteenth-century women, travel literature in the seventeenth-century and twentieth-century poetry.
What campus or off-campus activities are students involved in that major in Humanistic Studies?
Humanistic Studies majors are active participants in a number of activities including dance, athletics, campus societies, campus ministry, and community service. The student-run Humanistic Studies Club offers its members a forum for sharing an interest in the humanities through a variety of academic and social events. The club also provides a space outside the classroom for majors of all years to get to know one another.
What knowledge and skills will students learn by majoring in Humanistic Studies?
Humanistic Studies prepares its graduates for both the working world and their journey as life-long learners. As a major or minor, you will sharpen your analytic abilities, enhance your writing skills, develop confidence in oral communication and delivery, and learn the art of persuasion. In our small, seminar-style classes, you will form an intellectual community with your peers by often working in teams and forming study groups. Our graduates frequently comment on their surprise at discovering how essential these assets are in the business world, from drafting grant proposals to editing online web content to coming up with a new approach to a client’s problem.
In this highly competitive 21st-century global market, it is crucial for college graduates to think outside of the box and draw connections between diverse fields, cultures, or viewpoints. HUST hones these skills and serves as an ideal preparation for law school and graduate school in the humanities, as today’s programs put a premium on interdisciplinary thinking.
The knowledge you gain during your two years as a HUST major is far-reaching as it takes you across the literature, history, thought, and art of Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the 19th century and up to our own day. Developing at once a deep and broad understanding of Western Culture will give you a perspective from which to appreciate other cultures, today and in the past.
In addition, our students often comment on how easily they find themselves involved in conversations they never imagined—crossing, for example, the bounds of political history, postmodern literature, renaissance art, Church history, or baroque music—with confidence and ease.
Just ask some of our majors:
  • “My HUST journey has made me a more analytical, worldly, and confident woman, able to see the ‘big picture’” (Sarah Gunn, ’10)
  • “Humanistic Studies is refining my ability to learn from multiple dimensions, whether the written word, an engraving, or a song. The ability to see connections has empowered me to understand how people frame their world and translates how I frame mine” (Hannahbeth Fischer, ’11).
What majors does a minor in Humanistic Studies complement well?
Humanistic Studies adapts well to almost any major/minor: English, History, Psychology, Modern Languages, Religious Studies, Biology, Business, Sociology and Social Work—to name a few of our most recent double-majors and minors. In addition, many of our students have studied abroad, and our program is designed to complement those experiences and schedules. In short, a double major or minor in HUST offers you the opportunity to enrich your college experience by joining the generations of women who have graduated with the breadth of knowledge and skills that HUST provides.
What internships have students participated in and what kind of research opportunities are available to students? 
Humanistic Studies majors are competitive for a number of different internships and research opportunities. Recent students have interned at Simon & Schuster Publishing (London), Ave Maria Press, Snite Museum of Art, Northern Indiana Historical Society, and the College Football Hall of Fame.  Not only does the department have special funding to support juniors in summer study abroad programs, but it also offers grants to support six-week summer internships in London, England. 
What careers can students look forward to with a major in Humanistic Studies?
Our most recent graduates have landed jobs in corporate communications, non-profit administration, teaching, and publishing. For example, Katy Karr ('06) is a communications assistant for Bank of America, New York; Anne DeCleene (2003) is a civil rights complaint investigator; Michelle Sherman (’08) teaches high school in New York City; Michelle Biersmith Hennings (2004) works for the Lyric Opera in Chicago (human resources); Kirsten Kensinger (’07) volunteers with the Peace Corps in Guatemala; Katherine Docter (2004) is a school psychologist; Kate Williams (’07) works with the Indianapolis Peace Institute; Kristine King ('08) works in the operations office of the Wisconsin State Treasurer; Rachel Berg Walters (2006) is a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army; Cara Ford (’00) is an assistant registrar at Mills College in California; Tiffany McIver (2007) is a tour guide in Rome and Regan Doherty (’97) was the Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem before coming to her current position writing for a magazine in Bahrain that focuses on economics throughout the Persian Gulf region. Attending graduate school and law school are also natural “next steps” for many our students. Majoring in HUST gives these students an edge in the application process as they explain what makes them, and their major, unique.
Other popular careers for HUST majors include museum work, library and information sciences, business, sales, and insurance. For more information on Careers with HUST, see the testimonials for HUST graduates on our website: Also see the presentation, "What are you going to do with a major in the Humanities?" give during HUST Week 2010.
If a student wanted to know more about Humanistic Studies as a major or minor (if applicable), what would be the next step?
For more information about our program, feel free to talk it over with a professor: Laura Williamson Ambrose (, John Shinners (, Philip Hicks (, or Gail Mandell ( We will explain how our flexible, dynamic major/minor courses can fit into your college plan. Some of our best resources, of course, are the students themselves. Humanistic Studies majors would be happy to share their thoughts and experiences about the program, as well as their reasons for deciding to go with HUST. Just email a faculty member and we can connect you with a current student. Finally, you can learn more about our program online ( or on our brochure, available in the Humanities Suite, first floor of Spes Unica (east end).

Other Resources:
Notre Dame's First Year of Studies offers a "Why Major in...?" podcast series. The podcast by the Dean of Arts & Letters nicely compliments the goals of Humanistic Studies.

(Content originally posted on the Career Center's "Spotlight on an Academic Department")


The Humanistic Studies Club has as its major goals: to provide a forum for Saint Mary's students to share their interest in the humanities; to sponsor academic, social, and cultural activities that serve this end; to offer opportunities for junior and senior majors to get to know one another; to help recruit students to the Humanistic Studies major; to generate enthusiasm for the major generally. In the past, the Club has sponsored lectures, organized field trips, hosted parties, and produced HUST t-shirts and sweatshirts.

This is a student-run Club. In any given year, the level of activity or even the existence of the Club has depended on the interest and support of Saint Mary's students. Membership is open to any Saint Mary's student who shares the goals of the Club, whether she is a Humanistic Studies major or not. No one class is intended to lead the Club. For this reason, elections for offices are organized so that both seniors and juniors can provide joint leadership for the Club. The department's S.A.C. Representative may or may not be an officer.

The Club was founded in 1991 by Tracy Hartzler-Toon '92. In the early years of the Club, Professor Hicks served as advisor. Since the late 1990s the Chair of the department has assumed that role.

Anyone interested in further information regarding the Club should contact one of its officers or the Chair of the department.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meet the Faculty

Laura Williamson Ambrose, Assistant Professor 
Professor Ambrose teaches several of the Colloquium courses in the Humanistic Studies Department, but her area of specialization is in early modern English literature. She has also enjoyed teaching the Department's introductory course, "Lives and Times", in which students examine the relationship between place and identity in memoirs, short stories, novels, and plays. Her published works include "Travel in Time: Local Travel and Seventeenth-Century English Almanacs" (Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2013), "The Blended Advising Model: Transforming Advising with ePortfolios" (International Journal of ePortfolio, 2013), and a forthcoming article on travel in Shakespeare's England (Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia).  Professor Williamson Ambrose also organizes the Department's notable Christian Culture Lecture. You can find out more on her ePortfolio.

Philip Hicks, Professor
Professor Hicks teaches several of the Department's Cultural History Courses as well as the introductory classes, "High Society" and "Lives and Times." His interests in eighteenth-century history and culture have led him to publish several articles on gender and political identity and a book length study, Neoclassical History and English Culture: From Clarendon to Hume (1996). Professor Hicks is Chair of the department.

John Shinners, Professor (
While he is trained as a medieval historian, Professor Shinners teaches a range of Humanistic Studies courses including the popular "Greek and Roman Culture" as well as several Cultural History and Colloquium courses. His published works include Medieval Popular Religion: 1000-1500 (2000) and Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England (1998). Professor Shinners was named Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in 2010.

Gail Mandell, Professor (
Professor Mandell has taught and developed all of the Department's Colloquium courses as well as a popular tandem class between Humanistic Studies and Psychology. She has also enjoyed teaching the introductory course, "Asian Influence on Western Culture." Dr. Mandell has published several books including Phoenix Paradox: A Study of Renewal through Change in the Collected Poems and Last Poems of D.H. Lawrence (1984) and a biography on Sister Madeleva, Madeleva: A Biography (1997). Professor Mandell retired in 2010.

HUST Alumnae

Alumnae Profiles:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

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