"My advice to students would be to first and foremost, be curious."
Class of 2009
Thesis topic: U.S. foreign policy in Israel-Palestine in the Nixon years.
Co-founder, Editor-at-large Mic / journalist and media entrepreneur/ New York City
First Job after Graduation:
Journalist in Beirut, Lebanon
How did you end up pursuing your career? Do you have any advice for students contemplating similar career paths? What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were an undergraduate?
I had been interested in journalism since high school, but it wasn't until Stanford that I discovered my deep love for Middle East history, U.S. foreign policy, and storytelling.
My advice to students would be to first and foremost, be curious. I spent two years at Stanford taking a breadth of history courses, across a range of topics, before settling on my area of research. Take time to explore. Resist the pressure to settle down too quickly. Most of all, challenge yourself by taking classes outside of your comfort zone.
Second, go deep, rather than wide. Once you do discover what you're passionate about, become the expert on that topic. Apply for department research grants. Write a senior thesis. Learn a foreign language if applicable. Push yourself to become the most trusted voice on your area of interest.
Finally, be intentional about finding a mentor. Take every opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with your professors. Go to office hours. Ask for feedback and advice. Connect with professors on a deeper level. These are professional relationships and friendships that will help you in your future career and for the rest of your life!
Has your History training helped you along the way - and if so, how?
Stanford's History department emphasizes the importance of thinking critically and seeking out a range of diverse perspectives before coming to a conclusion. This skill is essential in journalism. But now more than ever, in the era of "fake news," it's also critically important for the future of our democracy. Being able to think critically about current events, go deeper and raise questions to challenge truth, and seek out multiple versions of events -- these are skills we need much more of in our society.
Do you have any particularly fond memories of the History Department?
My fondest memories all involve having deep and meaningful relationships with professors. In my case, I had the opportunity to learn from Jack Rakove and Joel Beinin. I consider both to be amazing mentors. I'm humbled and inspired by their careers!