Two areas have been absolutely integral to my time at Carleton: history and digital humanities. I was lucky to discover both relatively early in my Carleton career – in fact, I practically discovered the two simultaneously. For three years, I worked as a Digital Humanities Associate, and have been a dedicated history major for about as long.
My participation in Carleton’s Digital Humanities program throughout my time at Carleton shaped my college experience in a multitude of ways. The most obvious was my work as a DHA, which gave structure to my time outside of class. My work allowed me to explore a variety of subjects, projects, softwares, and methodologies. There are few other places where I could have been exposed to eighteenth-century English workhouses, the religious diversity of Minnesota, the medieval sites of Rome, the work of the eighth-century monk Bede, Greek archaeological objects, undergraduate scholarship, and the debates surrounding the Boston Massacre (among others). The accompanying projects were just as diverse as the content, involving the online exhibits, 3D models of objects and buildings, historical video games, digital maps, and more.
My time as a DHA exposed me to more than just these areas of content. The work challenged me to further my digital skills and problem solving abilities, and think about our work in new ways. I learned about issues of accessibility and open access through our work, and the ways in which digital humanities practitioners consciously strive to make their work accessible, ethical, and socially responsible, all considerations I carried into my own academic work.
I also had the opportunity to practice important skills that aren’t strictly digital, but crucial to working in a team, such as reporting on my own work, communicating with team members, and identifying and contacting specialists on campus when the issue went beyond our own skills. My work as a DHA facilitated my learning these crucial skills.
As my time at Carleton comes to end, I become more cognizant of what has made my experience what it was, and my work as a DHA is one critical aspect of my time at Carleton. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do meaningful work with the wonderful students, staff, and faculty involved with Carleton’s DH program. And a very special thank you to Sarah Calhoun and Austin Mason for all their help and support for the past couple of years!