History Department

Testimonials

History Testimonials
Ana Trujillo (Class of '19)

Chicago-Kent College of Law

"I started my college career as a wide eyed, naïve and enthusiastic student. I was ready to take on whatever college threw at me. Little did I know what it had in store for me.

I was a double History and Sociology Major during my time at Lewis, and I can definitively say that these two programs were monumental to helping me grow into the person I am today. The history program prepared me not only as a student, but as an intellectual. Not only was I able to excel in academics, but I gained confidence to present, defend, and discuss my work and ideas, something I was never able to do before the program. The professors all pushed me to my limits, to show me what I can achieve if I applied myself. I always felt like the professors cared about me as an individual, not just a student. I spent countless hours in each professor’s office, asking questions, asking for help on research, I felt as though I could come to any of them for anything. The history department quickly became a home away from home, where I wasn’t afraid to challenge myself. I took this confidence and applied it to my life when it came time for Law school applications. I gratefully accepted a scholarship to the Chicago-Kent College of Law where I will become a part of the class of 2022. I feel prepared going into this new and exciting chapter of my life, because of the skills I gained here as a part of the Lewis History program."


History Testimonials
Brittany Russell (Class of '17)

Special Education/ESL teacher at Plano High School

"When first visiting Lewis University, I knew right away that this is where I was going to spend my next five years of my life. I started my college career at Lewis University in August of 2012. I do believe that I would not be where I am today in life without the assistance of the amazing professors, support staff, athletic staff and coaches, and friends that I met while attending Lewis University.

Lewis University has small class sizes which provides a great learning environment. The professors are extremely understanding and make sure every student is present within class as well as completing their assignments in order to pass the class. The professors and advisors truly care about the well-being of every student. The professors are willing to provide the students with one-on-one time if needed as well as mentor students through their chosen majors.

Lewis University is where I learned how to become an adult, where I made friends that turned into family, where the professors knew my name and treated me as an individual and not just another student. I am extremely thankful for everything that Lewis University provided me. Lewis University was my home for five years, and will forever be my home."


History Testimonials
Richard Maska (Class of '16)

Graduate Student in History

"My time at Lewis was unique in that every aspect of my undergraduate studies was tailored to facilitate my continued journey into graduate school. As such, during my time there I learned how to research, analyze and synthesize primary source material into my own works of academia, presented three papers at regional history conferences, and developed numerous other skills expected of professional historians and. Ultimately, three universities selected me for their graduate history program; I enrolled in the Master's Program in the Social Sciences for the University of Chicago. For enabling me to establish my credentials as a viable candidate for postgraduate studies, I am indebted to Lewis' fantastic rosters of professors, whose guidance and assistance gave me the opportunity to solidify myself as a viable candidate for postgraduate studies. Once-mentors, I am proud and fortunate to now consider them dear friends and soon hope to join them as a peer in the field of academic history.

Although relatively few students choose to continue their studies beyond the undergraduate level as I have, the core of my experience was not dissimilar to the majority of history majors at Lewis. Like any student I benefited from their small class sizes, welcoming environment, and institutional commitment to the liberal arts. As a member of the History Honors Society, I took part in activities and discussions with a cadre peers who fast became close friends. Finally, every student will benefit Lewis' professors, all of whom are trained academics who implore their students to intellectually engage in nuanced concepts and ideas, but also adept educators who facilitate the growth and personal interests in each of their students. Thus in my estimation, though my story is unique unto myself ultimately I am the product of the same resources and advantages that every history major at Lewis is afforded."


History Testimonials
Miguel Silva (Class of '17)

Social Studies Teacher

"My four years at Lewis University were some of the best years of my life. The History Department is a major component in this wonderful experience. The professors created an environment that was conducive to learning and enabled students to succeed.  The small class sizes provide students with personal attention from their professors both within class and during office hours.

The history department provides students with an opportunity to learn about different eras, regions, and topics from all over the world, not just topics limited to history of the United States. The wide variety of classes and the diverse teaching styles are what make the history department so unique. Each professor is different, but each individual puts their best effort in guiding every single one of their students towards academic, professional, and emotional success. Students can expect to learn valuable content information, but also valuable skills to move forward in life. For example, students learn to evaluate sources, create an argument and defend it in writing and orally, and perform intensive, professional research.

The relationships I developed with my professors, the intensive amount of content knowledge they demanded, and the basic skills that I acquired are the reason why I forever will be in debt to Lewis University’s History Department. Without every single professor’s efforts and compassion, I would not have been able to accomplish my childhood dream of being an educator. Today, I teach high school students about American Government and the history of the United States at Naperville Central High School. I hope to reciprocate my incredible and truly valuable experiences to my young students with the same intensity, compassion, and emotion as my professors at Lewis University, I am eternally grateful for the history department at Lewis University."


History Testimonials
Adrienne Gonzales (Class of '15)

Commercial Insurance

"I valued my time as a history major at Lewis University. I studied hard, developed a good work ethic, learned how to analyze sources, and improve my writing abilities. I grew more confident with my public speaking skills while I interned at Naper Settlement and was even given the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for my time spent there. I also became more adept in an office environment during my employment as a student worker in the Culture and Civilization office. The professors were so kind and always willing to help their students succeed, even after graduation. When I sustained an unfortunate injury that changed my original plans to teach, the professors worked with me and I was able to still graduate with honors.

After graduating, my history major and minor in sociology helped me when I started to work in a business setting as a commercial insurance assistant. Being able to properly research, write effectively, work hard, have a keen eye for detail, and speak confidently with your coworkers and clients are skills you can take anywhere. History also helps you become more grounded in the world around you. Current issues begin to make more sense and you are able to see the importance in not only the past, but the present and future. Being a student of history is something worth pursuing in any capacity."


History Testimonials
Kole Torres (Class of '17)

Masters Student in Education

Kole Torres earned a B.A. in History with a minor in Philosophy. Torres wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her degree in History; however, the diverse courses at Lewis sparked her interest in the field of Public History.

'It was exciting being able to apply the knowledge I learned from my classes through hands-on experiences. I believe that the skills I have acquired through my internships give me a competitive edge. My internships provided mentorship, networking, and deepened my knowledge in public history. These experiences have confirmed my passion to pursue a career in Museum Studies."

She recently co-curated a traveling exhibit called “Woodrow Wilson & the Great War” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I’s conclusion. The exhibit will be on display in five cities – including Naperville, Washington DC and Princeton, New Jersey.


History Testimonials
Melissa Churchill Lara (Class of '17)

Military Intelligence Officer - US Army

Melissa Churchill Lara is a 2017 graduate with a B.A. in History. While at Lewis Melissa was involved in the History Honors Society (Phi Alpha Theta), University Ministry as a retreat leader and Peer Minister, a student worker for the Lewis Office of Veteran Affairs, a Navigator, Army ROTC, and various other clubs throughout her Lewis experience. Currently Melissa serves as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army and will complete her training at MIBOLC this fall.

"My advice is that you immerse yourself in everything you do wholeheartedly and find your own path. While at Lewis I was able to join multiple clubs and develop both academically and socially this is not by accident but the design of the Lewis University. Studying history gave me an appreciation for connecting themes and not excepting information at face value but drawing on multiple sources and being comfortable with some ambiguity."


History Testimonials
Luke Kramarz (Class of '14)

US Army

Most college graduates celebrate with their friends and family after the ceremony, but Luke Kramarz '14 had something much different planned. Luke and his fiancé Elaine (Belen) Kramarz '14 immediately married just two hours after graduation at Lewis University, and one hour after he was commissioned into the U.S. Army.

Luke currently serves as an Infantry Officer for the U.S. Army in Kosovo, as part of the NATO mission. Their peace-keeping mission descends from international efforts to build peace and stability in an area where significant conflict took place in the late 1990's.


History Testimonials
Tyson Polack (Class of '15)

Commercial Services Manager

Tyson Polack is a 2015 graduate with a BA in History and a double minor in International Relations and International Business. Polack maintained a 3.8 GPA average and graduated with a 3.9. An Oregon native, he came to Lewis University in 2011. While at Lewis, Polack participated in Varsity Athletics on the Men's Swimming Team for four years and served as captain for two of them. In addition to his athletic career, Polack served of the Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) for four years where he sat as President for two years. Polack also participated in the History Honors Society (Phi Alpha Theta) as Treasurer for two years.

Since Graduation, Polack has worked in Business Development at Medorizon and as the Operations Coordinator at its child company Rapid Records Request.


History Testimonials
Taylor Cochrane (Class of '17)

Freshman World Affairs Teacher at Joliet Central High School

"The years I spent at Lewis as a history major was not only enjoyable, but I took away so much from the classes and the professors themselves that helped me be the teacher that I am today. With each class that I took, I learned many valuable skills such as deepening and developing my research skills and analyzing primary sources; I also enjoyed learning about historical events through various points of view. What I took from Lewis with these skills, I now focus on incorporating and teaching my own students; whether it’s a research project on a current issue, reading an excerpt from Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria, or learning about the effects of Japanese imperialism through the eyes of a Korean. Each professor within the history department is not only incredibly passionate when they teach, but they were also willing to work with students one-on-one to ensure that we were successful. I currently teach Freshman World Affairs and Joliet Central High School and I hope to continue to fully exemplify everything that I gained at Lewis to my own students."

History Testimonials
Steve Zlatic (Class of '96)

Director of University Ministry at Lewis University

"I treasured my time studying history at Lewis University with dedicated, knowledgeable, and very human professors and many amazing and talented fellow students.  Over twenty years later, I don’t remember dates, names of all the important figures, or the ideas that circulated in the historical periods that I studied.  Over twenty years later, though, I use my historical-mindedness for I ask historical questions regularly:  Who are the people involved?  What are the ideas happening?  What are the movements at work?

As the Director of University Ministry at Lewis University, I feel blessed to talk with lots of people about faith/religion/the bible/the world/our role in it and I help to create programs that do the same.  When I study the bible and talk about ideas with people, I often ask:  1) Who is the person before me?  Who are the people in the bible?  2) What ideas, values, hopes, dreams, did/do they have and what were the other ideas about God, faith, life?  3) Where did those ideas come from and how did they affect others?  What movements were/are happening influencing people in the Bible, another time or before my eyes? 

Over twenty years later, the skills and value of trying to understanding people, ideas, and movements, rooted in my history degree, serve me well as I create opportunities for people to Explore, Encounter, and Engage with God and others in the world."