History Alum Working at Smithsonian-Affiliated Museum

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Kristin Pace ’13

After graduation, Kristen Pace ’13 found her way home. She traveled back to her hometown of Travelers Rest, SC  (near Greenville, SC) to work for the Upcountry History Museum as the Community Engagement Coordinator. But, this wasn’t in her original plan for the future. In fact, like many other recent college graduates, she wasn’t exactly sure what her future would entail.

Once Pace graduated with her history degree, with a political science minor, she continued to work as a preschool teacher and nanny. Once Kristen moved back to South Carolina after living in Eastern Germany for three months, she knew there was something else out there for her. “I had turned down two other jobs as a preschool teacher, knowing that teaching preschool wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. In the end, I started working for the Museum, and everything has worked out far better than I had ever planned,” she says. Now, Pace still teaches, but in a different way.

How did you learn about your position? What attracted you to your position?

I initially started working at the Museum with visitor’s services, greeting guests and selling tickets at the front desk. I wanted to get my foot in the door, and eventually work my way up with whatever opportunities were presented to me. I have wanted to work in a history museum for as long as I can remember and as it turned out, my desire to volunteer quickly turned into my actual job.

Can you describe a normal day as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Upcountry History Museum?

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Pace inside the Upcountry History Museum

Every day is different. Some days are much more interactive and spent giving museum tours to children and adults. Other days I’m at my desk updating the Museum’s social media pages, writing emails, or creating a new lesson plans for one of our many exhibits. This past week I led a museum tour for 15 adults, taught a class on World War II to nearly 100 middle school students, and then helped with a large community-wide, outdoor festival.

How did your time at CofC help prepare you for your career?

My time at the College of Charleston only encouraged my passion for history, and this is largely due to the professors. They always made their subject relatable. Dr. Powers’ inherent empathy for history left the biggest impact. He not only taught history, but connected with his students. I firmly believe that connection only furthers one’s drive to learn, and I strive to use that in my job daily.

What advice would you give current students?

I encourage students to understand that nothing worthwhile is just given to you. You are far better off working your way up, and earning your place, with whatever opportunities you have been presented. Make everything an opportunity, and go for it! Failing is an inevitable part of life, but it’s ultimately your choice to decide if you will turn it into a success. If nothing else, make it a lesson where you learn not only your weaknesses, but also your strengths. And volunteer!

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Student Funded to Study Abroad over Spring Break, Shares Cultural Experience

By: Grace Gardner 


Grace in Mexico City

On February 28th, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Mexico City over spring break with the Honors College at the College of Charleston. While there, I had the chance to experience Mexico in an interdisciplinary way: through art, history, and culture. I traveled for a week with eight classmates and my professor, who provided us with a rich and diverse education on all the places and sites we went to. I received $1000 in funding, half of which came from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Dean’s Excellence Fund.

The experience of taking an interdisciplinary class affected me on a personal, professional and social level. I have learned about many countries in my college career, but being able to travel to a country after learning about it makes for a much more integrated experience. I didn’t just learn about the Aztecs and their contribution to society, but I got to climb Aztec pyramids and touch the ruins in the Museum of Anthropology. I had the opportunity to work on my Spanish language skills, conversing with our taxi drivers and Mexican students.


Chapultepec Castle

It was a privilege being able to take this class. For the first time I realized how little I, and most Americans, know about our neighbor to the south. When people hear the word, ‘Mexico,’ it is normally associated with negative images. People often think of drug cartels, party beaches, and illegal immigration when they think of Mexico, but there is so much more to Mexico than that.Traveling to Mexico City has completely shifted my view of Mexico and has given me the opportunity to share that positive image with others.It challenged me to globally rethink my views of other countries, as well as wonder about other countries’ perceptions of the United States. Mexican Americans make up 11%
of the United States population and it is necessary to understand Mexican art, history, and culture, in order to strengthen the relationship between the US and Mexico. Reading Mexican political texts has made me rethink my ideas about immigration and economics, and after traveling to Mexico, I firmly believe that a strengthening the ties between Mexico and the United States would be mutually beneficial for both countries.

After dedicating half a semester to the study of Mexico, it was extremely rewarding to travel there myself. I had a wonderful time getting to know my Honors College classmates and professor on a deeper level, and it was an experience I will never forget. Thank you to the departments at the College of Charleston who funded my trip so I could explore a part of the world that is so often overlooked.


Gardens at Chapultepec Castle

Grace is currently a junior majoring in psychology. To learn about alternative spring break opportunities visit http://volunteer.cofc.edu/index.php. For information about the College’s international opportunities visit http://international.cofc.edu/.

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Alum Working to Improve Patients’ Relationships With Food

J. Casey Martin

J. Casey Martin

J. Casey Martin ’07 certainly knows what it is like to live in a city with tempting, delicious (read: unhealthy) southern food. Before returning to his hometown of New Orleans, Martin — a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and weight management — lived in Charleston earning his sociology degree and psychology minor. The mental health and wellness expert recently opened his own practice Martin Mental Health and wrote an e-book titled A Good Place to Start: Improving Your Relationship with Food — a resource for individuals hoping to improve their relationship with food from a psychological perspective. “The idea started as a way to put down on paper the themes I discussed with each of my therapy clients so that they could continue to think about the ideas on their own time,” he explains. “But it wasn’t until I got the material back from my graphic designer that I thought how approachable this could be to anyone that was struggling with food or weight related concerns.”

Can you explain how your time at CofC, specifically your sociology and psychology classes and professors, helped prepare you for what you’re doing now?

My classes and professors gave a great introduction to how the scientific method can be applied in the day-to-day world.  Whether I’m working with patients or deciding on my next marketing campaign, I’m constantly thinking of identifying and testing hypotheses and variables.  I like to think of sociology and psychology as macro and micro perspectives of the same issues.  This has been incredibly helpful conceptualizing how to approach the work I’m doing in New Orleans on creating the dialogue to help its residents improve their relationship with food while maintaining their culture.

What made you decide to become a therapist?

It was something I was considering before I went to CofC.  I was always interested in how someone’s life experiences impacted the person he/she became.  But even after I finished graduate school, I was exploring other options.  I largely avoided the hard sciences and business courses at CofC, but I began taking prerequisites for med school and interviewed for some MBA programs while I was completing my training in Denver.  I ended up deciding to move back home to New Orleans in 2013 to start my practice as a way of trying to tie all my interests together.

What advice would you give current students? What advice would you give students thinking of being a therapist?

I would encourage current students to take full advantage of all the resources CofC has to offer.  I definitely took that for granted.  I wish I would have taken a more diverse route with classes in science, business, and marketing and I wish I would have taken the sailing course.  I would also suggest saying “yes” to as many opportunities you can juggle at once.  The research, writing, and presentations I have done professionally have been instrumental in my professional development, but I had a steep learning curve that I wish I would have had more practice with at the College. For those considering a profession in mental health, I would suggest trying to get through grad school with as little debt as possible.  Explore programs with graduate assistantships.  Ask the school where they have placed their students for internships.  Consider the pros and cons of a master’s versus Ph.D/Psy D.  Feel free to reach out to me with questions about the process, because that decision should not be taken lightly.

Martin’s practice specializes in eating disorders, weight management, anxiety disorders, and stress management. He is a volunteer and board member of Luke’s House, a Community Advisory Board Member of Tulane’s Prevention Research Center, and an active contributor of Fit Nola.

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Collecting Alumni Business Cards

You may remember a social media contest we conducted last year requesting business cards from our alumni. We received numerous replies from proud alums from all over the country, which is why we’re excited to add to our awesome collection. But, we need your help.906675_10152709180874182_8191540238502981331_o

Simply email a picture of your business cards to Christine Ragusa or mail a physical copy to the address below by Friday, March 20th. We’ll start collecting and post our collage of our collection by Monday, March 30th.

College of Charleston – HSS

2 Green Way

Charleston, SC 29424


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Picks for the 87th Academy Awards

Our Film Studies professors (Colleen Glenn* and John Bruns**) pick their winners for Sunday’s 2015 Oscars. They are…


Best Picture

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


The Grant Budapest Hotel*

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


Best Director

Birdman – Alejandro G. Iñárritu *

Boyhood – Richard Linklater**

Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson

Leading Actor

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

Michael Keaton (Birdman)***

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Leading Actress

Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)*

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)**

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall (The Judge)

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

Edward Norton (Birdman)*

Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)**

Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)**

Laura Dern (Wild)

Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)*

Emma Stone (Birdman)

Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Best Cinematography

Birdman or (the Unexpected Virture of Ignorance) – Emmanuel Lubezki**

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman*

Ida – Lukasz Zal and Ryzaard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner – Dick Pope

Unbroken – Roger Deakins

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper – Jason Hall

The Imitation Game – Graham Moore**

Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson*

The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten

Whiplash – Damien Chazelle

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virture of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood – E. Max Frey and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness***

Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy


***Picked by both Colleen and John

For a full list of nominees click here.

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