Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Exam Cram: Why Stress Can Hurt Your Exam Scores

Here in the Department of History, we don't just tout how awesome our students are, brag about our cool events, or highlight the brilliant faculty we have in our midst.

We're here to help, too.

Thanks to our friends over at the Dukes Student-Athlete Success, we learned about this great infographic explaining how stress can hurt you when it comes to final exam time. Of course, it may feel too early to start thinking about final exams, but early practice and preparation can only help you in the long run.

So check out this infographic below and learn how you can stay cool and rock your final exams.

image from Daily Infographic

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gerhard Grant Recipients Abigail Jones and Gannam Rifkah

students opening awards
Abigail Jones and Gannam Rifkah receive the Gerhard Grant while Department of History Chair Dr. Holly Mayer watches their reactions.

We don't want to brag (oh, okay, maybe we do), but we really have some outstanding students here in the Department of History. We have students who serve our country, students who command the study of History, and students who demonstrate exceptional skills in the writing of History. We even have students who have worked on projects for the Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy!

Yes, we have some pretty awesome students in our midst.

Junior Art History and History double major Abigail Jones and junior History and Political Science double major Gannam Rifkah are no exception. Both students are as serious about their work in the field of History as they are passionate, and those attributes come through in and out of the classroom.

students learning they are being given an award
Smiling faces abound when Abby and Gannam learn they've been selected as recipients of the Gerhard Grant.

This year, the Department of History is thrilled and humbled to award the Erik Gerhard Student Resource Grant for the very first time. This is an award to recognize History majors who qualify as emerging scholars in the field by showing excellence and engagement in their classes and in extra-curricular activities that show a connection to history.  The Gerhard gift is to support academic needs and activities such as room and board, the purchase of books and supplies, lab fees, and/or study abroad fees.

Erik Gerhard, Esquire, graduated from Duquesne in 1996 with a degree in History.  He earned a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 1999.  Mr. Gerhard is a practicing attorney and partner in the firm Bybel Rutledge LLP. We are so grateful to Mr. Gerhard for his extreme generosity and support of our students.

Yesterday, in an informal presentation, we announced to Abby and Gannam that they were each a recipient of the Gerhard Grant. Needless to say, they were both completely surprised and overjoyed! 

students opening checks
Abby and Gannam react to opening the checks they received.

Dr. Mayer explaining award to students
Dr. Holly Mayer, Chair of the Department of History, talks with Abby and Gannam about the Gerhard Grant.

After presenting the award and check to each of them, they were taken to Starbucks here on campus for a special treat and an informal chat about why they love History and what they hope to do with their History degrees once they graduate. We even interviewed them about the experience of being given the award!

Congratulations to Abby and Gannam! 

students at Starbucks

Friday, October 19, 2012

GIVEAWAY! Two Tickets to Advance Screening of Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis

We're thrilled to announce a special giveaway! DreamWorks Pictures contacted us recently and asked if we'd like passes to a special advance screening of the new Steven Spielberg film, Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role.

Of course, we said YES!

Each pass we received is good for TWO admissions to a special advance screening:

Thursday, November 1, 2012
7 p.m.

Cinemagic Manor movie theatre

1729 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

These passes are first-come, first-available for seating, and late admission will not be allowed, so get to the theatre early!

If you're interested in receiving a pass for TWO admissions, stop by and see us in 603 COLH. Once these passes are gone, they're gone! LIMIT ONE PASS PER PERSON.

See you at the movies!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

SPRING 2013 Course Spotlight: HIST 367-01, Radical Democracy

We're gearing up for registration for the Spring 2013 semester, which will be here before we know it. We're also excited to tell you that we have another new course to tell you about. At the beginning of the month, we highlighted a new Art History course, The American Home.
Now we want to tell you about a new History course: Radical Democracy. This new course will be taught be our new faculty member, Dr. Mehmet Dosemeci. Check it out!

Any questions you have about this new course, contact Dr. Dosemeci at

Monday, October 15, 2012

Art/History Society Meet N' Greet! 10/29

On Monday, Oct. 29th, from 3-5 p.m. in the 614 COLH, the Art/History Society will have its first student-faculty meet-n-greet.  Refreshments are being provided by the Art History program. 

The students are interested in having more informal opportunities to interact with faculty and also to get to know other majors, minors, and history-oriented students. If you're interested in stopping by and chatting for a few minutes, please do! We'd love to meet you!

Co-chairs of the organization this year, by the way, are Megan Miller ( and Kaitlyn Garbarino (  They are working hard to get the club official and to develop a series of activities that will really get some life into the undergrad history community.  If you have any suggestions for activities, you can be in touch with Megan and Kaitlyn directly.

Hope to see you on October 29th!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haunted History!

Point State Park, Fort Pitt Museum, and the Block House are going to host Haunted History Tours at Point State Park this month. The tours will be held on October 19, 20, 26, & 27.  There will be two tours per day: one at 3:00 PM, the other at 5:00 PM.  Admission is free, participants should pre-register online.  Space is limited to 30 participants per tour; free refreshments will be provided. 

Anyone who would like further information (or if they can't get the website to work!) should call the Park Office at 412-565-2850.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Student Spotlight: Katie Seely-Gant

We're excited to continue with our Student Spotlight series here on our blog. So far, we've featured senior History major Kevin Spillane and junior History and Political Science double major Gannam Rifkah. It's been wonderful to learn more about our students!

Next up is junior History and Classical Languages double major Katie Seely-Gant. She's worked on a project for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Cool, huh? {We weren't kidding when we said our students are awesome.}

Katie and her brother Jack at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts here in Pittsburgh

1. Where is your hometown?
I was born in Arlington, VA, and then lived in a small town called Johnstown, PA, until I was about 10 but I consider Pittsburgh my hometown.

2. Why did you choose Duquesne?
Duquesne was my first choice of schools. I loved that it was small enough that I could get to know my professors and other students, but was still in a fun, urban environment.

3. Why did you become a History major?
I've always been interested in History. When we went on family vacations my parents would take us to places like Williamsburg and Antietam instead of the beach.

4. What has been your favorite History class during your time here and why?
Constitutional History with Dr. Rishel. I knew hardly anything about the Supreme Court and the different cases they've dealt with over the decades. It was really interesting to learn about history through Supreme Court cases instead of the usual textbook way, and Dr. Rishel was awesome!

5. What are some things you've been involved with (or are currently involved with) while a student at Duquesne?
Duquesne's Classical Society. We have some fun events, last year we even had a woman speak about mythical influences in Harry Potter.

6. Tell us an interesting fact about you that most people might not know.
In my free time I like to dirt bike through the back trails in the woods, most people are surprised to hear that.

7. What's something interesting that you've done in the past year?
This past summer I worked as a research intern in D.C., I got to do a lot of cool stuff like hang out at the Navy Yard Archives (where I even met an archivist who was a Duquesne history alum) and work on a timeline of naval innovations for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

8. What's your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?
The people! They're truly one of a kind.

Katie and her sister Connie in front of fountain at the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art
9. Tell us your favorite movie.
Currently, Walk the Line, great movie and the soundtrack is the best.

10. Tell us your favorite book.
Hard to choose. I'd have to say either Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe or Great Expectations.

11. If you hadn't chosen History as your major, what would you have chosen?
I have a second major in Classical Languages, I probably would have stuck with Classics if not History.

12. What is something you love about Duquesne?
The professors, at least in my experience. I feel like they generally care about their students and always make themselves available to help out.

13. What are your plans after graduation?
Graduate school, but I'm still deciding between Public Policy or continuing in History.

14. Any advice for our current History Majors?
Pursue what you love! It sounds so cheesy but there's nothing worse than working hard doing or studying something you can't stand.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Like the Duquesne Art/History Society on Facebook!

Did you know we have an Art/History Society here on campus? We do!

To learn more about the Society, make sure you "like" it on Facebook. Questions or comments? Email faculty advisor Dr. Julia Sienkewicz.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Semester Service Activity: Turkey Drive

The Annual Turkey Drive, which we co-sponsor with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is one of the departmental service activities we participate in each fall semester. And we hope that you'll want to be a part of this opportunity to give.

Will you please consider donating the cost of a Starbucks drink (or more) to help families in need in our community so that they will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with a proper meal? Drop off your money to Laura (or a student aide) in the History Office in 603 COLH OR the Office of Multicultural Affairs in 105 Student Union. Any amount you can spare will make a difference. In past years, our department has GENEROUSLY raised as much as $200!!! Cash or check made payable to Duquesne University accepted.

Thank you for your generosity in this season of need.

Monday, October 1, 2012

SPRING 2013 Course Spotlight: ARHY 226-01, The American Home

While we know it's only October 1st, we can't help but start to get excited about the course offerings for Spring 2013. And, believe it or not, registration for Spring courses will be here before we know it--a couple of weeks, to be exact.

And we're extra excited about a brand new course we'll be offering:
The American Home (ARHY 226-01)

This course selectively surveys domestic architecture in the United States from colonial times to the present. Students will study important aesthetic, social, cultural, and economic factors that have influenced the forms of housing in the United States. In addition to examining the history of both popular and innovative styles, students will look at interior design to discover how the layout and decoration of homes changed over time to reflect different needs and aspirations. The course will use the rich and diverse housing architecture of the Pittsburgh region as a field school for visits and study, and there will be hands-on practice in methods related to historical research and historic preservation.