Alumni Profile: Alyssa Granacki

We asked Alyssa Granacki '11 what her History degree did for her. This is what she said:

"Five years ago when my mom asked me what I was going to do with my history major, I promptly responded: “Whatever I want.” I had no idea what that was, but it is, in fact, exactly what I have done. The flexibility of the history major allowed me to pursue many interests at Duke. I wrote a senior thesis and graduated with Distinction in History (American), but I also received a degree in Italian Studies and spent a semester abroad in Perugia, Italy.

Studying history provided me with a transferable skill set that has undoubtedly contributed to my success after college.  As an undergraduate, I explored avenues in Public History by interning at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York. I completed research for a primary source collection published by the Library of America.  Upon graduation, I joined Teach For America and returned to my hometown of Houston to teach Social Studies.  In addition to teaching, I worked with veteran teachers to develop the history curriculum for my entire school district.  During this time, I also wrote an education blog for the Huffington Post, in which I discussed the realities of teaching in low-income schools and their connections to major policy issues.  This year, I’m living in Italy and teaching English on a Fulbright grant. In the fall, I will begin an Italian Studies Ph.D. program.  As a graduate student, I’m interested in exploring the connections between feminism and Italian literature.  While this may seem drastically different from my work in history, my study of women’s movements in American history actually encouraged me to investigate the same in Italian history, and my historical background is an asset in the study of literature. I didn’t know where a history major would take me, but it’s given me the chance to follow my passions and discover new ones along the way!"

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