Brandi Oswald knew exactly what she was looking for. She had a love for history, especially the Civil War, and an interest in anthropology. “Heidelberg was the perfect spot for me, “she said.
She was right. Heidelberg’s connection to the Johnson’s Island Civil War prison offered students the opportunity to get hands on experience at a dig site and work with historical artifacts. Being able to work hands on with civil war artifacts has “been awesome,” said Brandi.
Brandi used her summers to gain more hands on history experience. She worked at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Fredericksburg Virginia, where she created museum displays, gave battlefield tours, worked the information center, and practiced artifact preservation. “I love sharing history and my passion for it with visitors,” she said.
The following summer she was able to secure a coveted internship at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. In addition to giving battlefield tours and museum work, Brandi was able to collect research for her senior capstone project.
She brought her research back to Heidelberg and was able to present it to current students as well as at a regional history conference with Phi Alpha Theta history honorary. “I gained experience presenting and was able to meet students from other history programs,” she said. “It was a great experience.”
Heidelberg faculty have also helped give Brandi a great experience. She enjoyed the classroom discussions and personal connections. “If you want to be known and have professors who care about who you are, you want a school like Heidelberg.”
Brandi was recently acknowledged for her hard work. At the Students Award ceremony last week, she was awarded the American Association of University Women Prize, the Martha and Ernest Hammel Research Award, and the Martin Walker Smith Prize in History for highest GPA.
She graduated this past December and has been working at Johnson’s Island over this semester. She’ll be back on campus Sunday to walk with her fellow classmates and head to the next phase of her life. “My experiences have provided me the foundation for achieving my career goals,” she said.
This fall, Brandi will be attending West Virginia University for a master’s program in public history. The program is a mecca for students wanting to work for national parks. “I think my experiences at Heidelberg made me stick out,” she said. “The experience has been 100% positive. I have no regrets.”
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