Lesley planned to go to grad school soon after SU, but then she discovered how educational her World War II museum job could be.
Graduation, a year away from school, and then graduate school… that was my plan.
My 11th grade American history teacher sparked in me a love for history and my goal became to be a high school history teacher. After traveling and enjoying being out of school for a few months, I took an internship with the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, the non-profit organization that manages and oversees the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.
I still applied to graduate school, but I also let life happen and ended up learning the ropes of non-profit museum work and soon my internship turned into a job in public programming for the museum. I now get to combine my passion for WWII history with educating the public through book signings, guest speakers, an annual symposium and patriotic holiday programs, among other special events. What was supposed to be six months of figuring out what was next has turned into four years of doing something that continues to inspire me to learn more every day.
Thanks to Southwestern, I graduated with the knowledge to motivate and encourage learning about the story of the Pacific War. A large majority of the people I interact with through the public programming at the museum already have that common interest but through family programming and university outreach efforts, I feel as though I am helping preserve the story of the Pacific War for future generations.
Another perk of my job, probably my favorite part, is having the opportunity to meet and interact with WWII veterans. There is nothing that makes my work day better than having someone from that generation thank me for the work I do to keep their stories alive, it makes everything that I do seem important and worthwhile.
My five years since graduation have played out differently than I was expecting but I wouldn’t change a thing that has happened. Graduate school may still be in my future but for now I’m going to stay with the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and see what the future holds.