Saint Xavier University Students

Social Science Secondary Education

Student Spotlight

Our history students are active members of the Saint Xavier community. Check out some of our student profiles below to see how they see the connection between their passion for history, their careers and their lives at Saint Xavier.

Denzel Averhart, Political Science, Class of 2018

Denzel Averhart

My major in Political Science has prepared me for a wide range of challenges I currently face in the Political Communications world. Due to the research and communication skills ingrained in me at Saint Xavier, I have been able to meet, and exceed, the expectations of my new co-workers.

Internship experience can single-handedly turn out to be the most important thing you do during your college career. The Washington Internship Institute gave me the opportunity to intern with the Communications team in the office of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser. While working for Mayor Bowser, I learned how to monitor media outlets, provide administrative support, and even manage aspects of her social media. With all of these new skills, I landed a full-time job as "Communications Specialist" in the office of Mayor Bowser upon completion of my internship. The classes provided by WII also opened my eyes to how much was in DC. We went to think tanks, major museums and learned how to carry ourselves as professionals. As a sophomore, I knew I should take advantage of the program, but waited until senior year. Don't procrastinate like I did! Take every opportunity you can that offers real-world experience! You will be surprised where it can take you.

Aleta Riley-Tellis, Political Science, Class of 2017

Riley TellisHow do you think your major will prepare you for your future career?

The political science major at Saint Xavier has prepared me for a wide range of careers in government and the private sector. My major allowed me to hone my research and communication skills, which has led to me pursuing a career in public relations.

What is the importance of internship experience?

My experience at with the Washington Internship Institute (WII) was nothing short of amazing. I interned with the Steinbruck Center, a nonprofit social justice ministry of Luther Place Memorial Church. My internship allowed me to personalize it so that I could develop and improve the skills that I wanted while interning there. I accompanied groups to service sites, helped facilitate educational workshops and maintained the center's online presence. By working with my internship coordinator and supervisor I got to make my own schedule and explore DC in my free time. The two courses that I took, one on international and foreign policy and the other on leadership development allowed me to learn more about the government, DC and myself. We took trips to think tanks and the State Department that allowed us to get an inside look at a part of the federal government. WII allowed me to gain valuable skills and experience that gives me an edge when entering the job market.

Lucas Ruebe, History Education, Class of 2013

Lucas RuebeI will be graduating in Fall 2013 with a B.A. in History/Secondary Education, in addition to being certified to teach at the Junior High level in both History and Biology. Saint Xavier has truly broadened my horizons on both an academic and personal level. The people that I have met over my career here have allowed me to construct a network of experiences that expands far beyond the small neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago where I was born and raised. I have met people from all walks of life and have grown as a person because of it.

My academic pursuits at Saint Xavier have sharpened my mind on many levels, and I am proud of the growth I have achieved. One of my accomplishments that I am most proud of is a movie that I helped produce about the life of Stephen A. Douglas. It was a huge undertaking that was only successful due to long hours of dedicated work by our team. The movie was an incorporation of many disciplines and it was amazing to see how all the facets fit together to form something that was pretty spectacular.

I have always loved History and hope to inspire my students with the passion that I feel. My mission is to show how relevant History is in our daily lives. History is a lot like music. Every fact and date is like a note, and while they don't mean much on their own, when taken together they become something beautiful. It is this interconnectedness that I want to illuminate. I hope to connect students to the past in order to better their future.

Tony Bara, History Education, Class of 2012

Tony BaraHi! I am a senior History Secondary Education major who is also pursuing a business minor at Saint Xavier University. I commute forty minutes one way to arrive on campus, so I try to accomplish as much as I can once here. Since freshman year I have been a part of the Honors Program and am currently working on my senior project. I have also written for Saint Xavier's student newspaper, The Xavierite, since sophomore year and am now its editor in chief.

History has fascinated me for years. I first became interested as a young child visiting my family in Poland, a beautiful country filled with old castles, churches, and towns. I remember walking in the ruins of a long-destroyed castle once. It was overgrown with foliage, perched on a steep hill overlooking a forest below. As I walked through the rubble, watching my step so as not to fall into the exposed dungeons beneath, I reflected on who had walked here before me. What story did this place have to tell?

Now, years later, I am doing my senior project on none other then Polish immigrants in Chicago and how they formed a national identity here. Clearly, my own past has influenced what I study in the past.

Aside from academic work, I have found a perfect environment to practice my historical skills at The Xavierite. I have discovered that journalists apply the same research and critical thinking skills that historians use to study the past in order to understand the present. As editor in chief, I hope to foster these skills in my entire staff in order to make our student newspaper stronger than ever before.

After graduating, I intend to become a history teacher in order to pass my knowledge on to others. I also desire to attend graduate school someday to become a true professional in my field.

Trumaine Mitchell, History, Class of 2012

Trumaine MitchellI am a senior in the History and Political Science Department here at Saint Xavier University since Fall 2010 and I wanted to share a few facts about myself and what the department has to offer.

Being a history major here at SXU is worthwhile because you are able to learn about history in a number of interesting ways. One of my best experiences as a history major was taking History 200, where I learned about how historians go to different libraries and archives to do research and how they publish their research in scholarly publications. I also saw a documentary about Stephen A. Douglass that was made by SXU's Illinois History Fall 2011 class. These were great experiences for me because they showed me the varied and innovative ways that the department approaches the field of history.

When I'm not in the classroom, I enjoy watching movies, reading books, attending lectures, and visiting different libraries and museums in Chicago. I am also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, where I participate in service projects when I get a chance. I try to apply what I have learned in my history classes to different activities outside of the classroom. For example, I am working with a few other students to start a history club. The club will focus on accessing the historical accuracy of films, books, and historical documentaries. I also recently completed an internship at the National Archives in Chicago, where I learned about how archivists carry out preservation and reference work.

In terms of my aspirations, I hope to become an African American Studies professor. My interest in African American Studies grew out of a lecture I gave in April 2012, where I looked at how hip hop culture affects the African American community. I'm currently applying for Northwestern University's Ph.D. program in African American Studies. My secondary choices for graduate school include DePaul University, Loyola University, and the University of Chicago.

I encourage all students who are undecided on a major to consider entering a degree program in the SXU History and Political Science Department. It is a challenging yet rewarding experience that will aid your growth as a college student and prepare you for a career in the professional world.