Statement of Purpose

A funky and winding journey has led me to taking Studies in American Material Culture this Fall.  Above all, I Imagepursued this course because it sounded incredibly interesting to me.  I also wanted to gather a better understanding of public history.  I see it as part of my preparation in applying to Temple University’s M.A. History program with a hopeful matriculation date of Fall 2013.

I began my academic quest at TU as an undergraduate music (voice) major, but writing seemed a better professional plan.  In December 2007, I completed my B.A. Journalism.  The most impactful educational experience during my undergraduate years, though, had nothing to do with music or journalism.  My work with Temple’s Intellectual Heritage program most inspired me.  As a tutor, I was invited to be the student representative on the summer teaching circle dedicated to building the curriculum for the current Mosaic seminars.  Sitting in a room amidst professors arguing over texts and ideas with exquisite detail and passion, I knew I would pursue teaching college students in the humanities, but I was not sure which discipline was the right one for me.

Graduating as a much-undecided writer, I headed to New York City with my newly-acquired husband to teach Special Education in the Bronx as a NYC Teaching Fellow.  It was not my best showing, but soon enough after, I found myself freelance writing on natural parenting with two little ones in tow.  I currently work as the Communications Coordinator for the South Jersey Land and Water Trust, a nonprofit organization focusing on farmland preservation and watershed protection.  It’s a great part-time gig, but I have been greatly missing the academic arena and the days of big ideas.

After much, and possibly overly-drawn out, consideration, I know the discipline of History is my bliss.  I cite my specific interests to be American History (Colonial, Civil War, Women, Environment and the Arts) for a few basic reasons.  I am naturally interested in the Colonial period through the Civil War, and I can spend exorbitant amounts of time reading, exploring or watching anything about this period.  As far as Women, I am extremely curious about the history of childbirth and the culture (including material) surrounding it in America.  Environment is also of interest to me because I am passionate about green issues, past or current, especially the development of the National Park system.  Finally, I am a singer and a writer so the Arts are a natural piece of curiosity for me.

As far as long-term career goals, I like the idea of keeping my nonprofit work current and moving toward working for an organization specifically devoted to history in some way.  With the right training and education, I see myself with potential to serve as an Executive Director for somewhere like the Historical Society of Philadelphia while also teaching History and the humanities at the college level.

I’ll end by saying I am truly pleased to be here, and I am grateful for this opportunity.  I look forward to learning, discussing and exploring this semester.  You can reach me via e-mail at erin.bernard@temple.edu or read my blog www.objectsinculture.wordpress.com.

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