A Q&A with History Alum, Matthew Armstrong
What is your current job?
Project Manager of the Digital Preservation Lab and Research Collections at the Government House Library, University of Florida
How did you find this position?
Through connections I had made during graduate school at UF
What was your major/s and minor/s at Flagler?
Did you go to graduate school? If so, what did you study?
Yes - Master Degree in Historic Preservation from University of Florida.
Which classes do you think most helped you decide your career and/or help you attain your career goals?
Historic Preservation with Dr. Leslee Keys
Florida History and American Revolution (Senior Seminar) with Dr. Tom Graham
All classes with Steve Voguit
What was the single most important thing you did as an undergrad to prepare you for your current position/career?
Internships. I did one through the school (for credit) with the City Archaeological program. The other internship, not through the college, was with the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN).
Where would you like to go from here?
That's a good question. I think eventually I would like to shift back into a professional role with an emphasis on education or public outreach.
I have recently thought being involved with exhibit design and interpretational planning for historic sites would be fun.
Advice to current students:
- Keep in touch with professors and reach out to them every once in a while - they've been in your shoes and have helpful advice.
- Volunteer for things like conferences and workshops - you will make great professional contacts and it more often than not includes a free ticket.
- Branch out a little in your classes in college/grad school (i.e. if you are a history major, don't only take history classes). You will meet people with fresh ideas and you will learn about opportunities and ways of addressing problems you hadn't previously considered.
- Find companies or organizations that you like and relate to and follow them on social media. Also, there are a lot of websites for specifically for history/preservation/archaeology/museum jobs and internships. You may not be ready for the jobs, but there are some AWESOME internship opportunities that are only available to current students (undergrad or graduate). A lot of them are paid or include housing.
- Don't rush into or through graduate school. It's expensive and it takes a lot of time, so make sure it's something that will really benefit your future before you jump in. Also, don't get a full time job while you are writing your thesis or dissertation.