Kirsten Hallman was a junior history major and political science minor from West Columbia, SC. She was president of PC Democrats, a Resident Assistant in Carol International House (CIH), and a member of Students for Environmental Education and Spectrum.
During her time at PC, Kirsten also had the opportunity to study abroad on a Maymester to China. She studied Chinese language and history while staying in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces. She also worked as an International Education intern with CIH, and in the summer of 2010 she worked as intern for University Directories, selling ads for college planners.
Why did you choose to come to PC and major in history?
I came to PC because I wanted to go to a college where professors truly took an interest in students, where students could take all kinds of classes (even ones outside their major/minor), and where students had many opportunities to lead and excel. As a small college with a focus on teaching, PC has all of these things.
I developed a strong fascination for history when I was in high school, but I wasn’t really sure I wanted to major in it. I came to Accepted Students’ Day in Spring 2007 and met Dr. Campbell, the faculty representative for the history department, and he really convinced me that history was for me. He told me about different benefits of studying history at PC, like becoming a great writer and getting to go on cool Maymesters. I ended up declaring my History major the first week of my freshman year.
How would you describe your experience in the PC history department?
Majoring in history has been my favorite thing about attending PC. I have gotten to take really interesting classes like History of the South, Traditional China, the Holocaust, English History to 1688, and 1960s American History. All the professors in the department are great people and wonderful teachers. They have challenged me to push myself to the next level, and I love that I can always come by their offices when I have a question or concern, or even if I just want to chat.
I have also had a lot of opportunities that students at large schools would not. Every student at PC does a Senior Capstone project to finish off their major, and right now I’m writing mine about Gandhi’s early Western influences. I also had the chance to work one-on-one with Dr. Anita Gustafson researching the General Textile Strike of 1934 in the South through the PC Summer Fellows program in 2009. Next semester, I will be doing Honors Research with Dr. Gustafson looking at the erasing of the Native American race.
What advice would you give to students considering coming to PC and majoring in history?
Don’t listen to what other people might have told you about History majors before now. The History Department is one of the biggest and best at PC, and they send their graduates into all kinds of jobs and graduate programs. You don’t have to be a historian (though you definitely can if you want to)! It’s easy to double major or minor in something else, so you come out really well-rounded. History at PC is not an easy major, but it’s extremely fun and you learn a lot more than just names and dates. You gain skills in writing, communication, and analysis, and you have a great time doing it!
Upon graduating from PC, Kirsten planned to attend the University of South Carolina to pursue graduate studies in library science. She said, “I would eventually like to work in a school media center so I can share my love for reading and learning with children.”