What are our alumni/alumnae doing? Westmont history graduates go on to pursue a wide range of different careers. Here is a sampling of what some of our recent graduates are doing.
Emily Whitman ’14 Upon graduating in 2014, Emilie spent four months in Jordan volunteering at a children's trauma center for displaced Syrians as well as on multiple medical and humanitarian missions throughout the refugee camps of Jordan with nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM). After a stint working as a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Emilie felt called to return to humanitarian work on the Greek island of Lesvos, where she assisted in SCM's efforts to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants fleeing to Europe by boat. This year, she married Westmont alumnus Samuel Martin, contributed to the Middle East Journal as a Publications intern for the Middle East Institute, and now works as the Institute's program assistant and graphic designer for a new initiative that will bring Saudi entrepreneurs to the U.S. for a yearlong series of TED Talk–style lectures.
Rachel Hatcher '14 - As the Assistant Archivist at the Provincial Archives of Mission Santa Barbara, I am privileged to work with friars on digitization projects, research requests, and museum exhibits. During my time at Westmont, I practiced the research and communication of a variety of different events in world history. I find that this foundation has been important as I help the friars write and celebrate the history of their order.
Christopher Lim ‘12 My role as financial associate at Mercer Advisors holds me responsible for the design and implementation of financial game plans for individuals, families, and companies. The work I do requires me to extract data and information from client documents, or primary sources, and build a financial plan, or client's life story, skills which I can undoubtedly trace back to my work in my studies as a history major
Emalie Diaz Sundale ‘10
I am currently in my second year of law school at University of California, Hastings College of the Law and will likely be doing transactional tax or corporate law upon graduation. It's no exaggeration to say that I use my history skills every day. Studying the law requires reading vast quantities of complicated and at times contradictory material, digesting it, and communicating it in a cohesive, succinct, and clear manner. My studies in history gave me a four-year head start on this practice and helped me feel confident and prepared when I started my legal education.
Holly Robertson '09 I currently work for the U.S. Department of State, having previously worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum while completing my Masters at Georgetown University in Global, International, and Comparative History. I daily use skills developed as a History major at Westmont--critical thinking, primary source research, analysis, and report writing. During the EuroMaidan protests in Ukraine in December 2013, I was working in the Office of Eastern Europe and was able to utilize my historical knowledge of the region to contextualize the issues with colleagues and policymakers.
Ryan Zoradi '08 I work for Unitus Impact, a social impact investment firm headquartered in San Francisco. Our mission is to invest in scalable businesses that improve the livelihoods of low-income populations throughout Asia. Studying history at Westmont piqued my curiosity about the world outside of present-day Santa Barbara and through rigorous research assignments, challenged me to quickly get my head around novel subject matter and then construct and defend logical arguments.
Myrna Perez Sheldon - '06 I earned my Ph.D. from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2014, during which I also spent time as a research fellow with the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University, and at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA. After being a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University, I am now an assistant professor at Ohio University teaching courses in religion, gender, and history.
Tara Tran '10 - Since parting with Westmont and leaving California, I experimented on the east coast, returned to my hometown, went back to Santa Barbara, and then worked in Asia. After pursuing a research project in Cambodia on a Fulbright scholarship, I decided to continue those interests further in graduate school at Johns Hopkins, where I am currently in a doctoral program for history.
Jordan Cunnings '08- After graduating from law school at UCLA, I currently serve as a law clerk for a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After my clerkship, I hope to practice immigration law. I could not have made it through law school without the rigorous academic training and intellectual preparation provided by my Westmont history degree. The reading, writing, and critical thinking skills I developed have been invaluable.
Rachel Raven Bjork '01 - I live and work at Jubilee Partners, an intentional Christian community that hosts recently arrived refugees and walks alongside them through friendship, ESOL classes, health and legal coordination. Thirteen years after graduation, there are still times I stop mid-task and recognize that my history studies prepared me for this work by equipping me to understand context—be it cultural, social or institutional—and training me to research, analyze and articulate ideas for very different purposes, whether documenting a legal case, starting a new program or facilitating a difficult conversation.
Mike Willbanks ‘92 For the past 10 years I've been on the pastoral staff at Santa Barbara Community Church and currently oversee worship, men’s, and young adult ministries. Studying history at Westmont helped me to think critically about the world we live in, making connections between events and ideas, and sharpened my ability to communicate clearly.