Kelly Ragsdale ’18

Kelly Ragsdale

I decided to be a history major because I realized that the history classes I took always ended up being my favorite. I would take classes in other areas and always found myself enjoying the portions of class that correlated most strongly with history. I definitely didn't know what I wanted to major in coming to Pomona, but once I experimented with classes I figured out that I was most passionate about learning about past events and their influence and relevance today.

I love the breadth of requirement that comes with the history major. Having to take classes in a variety of time periods and topics gives you a much more complete view of what has happened in the world and how the past has come to form the present. That being said, after studying abroad in Spain, I became especially interested in the Franco regime and Spain's relationship with the rest of Europe, and the world, during Franco's dictatorship.

Something that is so great about Pomona as a whole, are the relationships that you are able to cultivate with faculty and other students. The history department is no exception. The professors are always extremely willing to meet with you and they’re genuinely interested in your opinions and well-being inside and outside of class. 

Whether or not you know if you want to major in history, I would highly recommend taking a class in the history department. There is so much variety that you are bound to find something that interests you and that you can connect with. The department is extremely supportive and really work with you to explore what you are interested in and help you succeed at Pomona.

Natalie McDonald ’19

Natalie McDonald ’19

I became a history major because the discipline combines so many of my favorite things: reading, research, writing and the opportunity to delve into stories from the past. By the beginning of my sophomore year, after I had taken Revolutionary America with Professor Helena Wall and Modern Europe with Professor Gary Kates, I could not imagine devoting my studies at Pomona to anything else.

I love that the history major encourages both depth and breadth of study. Because majors have to complete at least five classes within our concentration, we become particularly well versed in one field, but there is also room to explore other places and periods through the breadth requirements. Plus, there is flexibility to study precisely what interests you. For example, I designed my own concentration: the Modern Atlantic World since 1750. Classes I have taken include Researching the Cold War, Women in Latin America 1400-1900, and the French Revolution. Research opportunities abound, courses cover a diverse array of topics, and the faculty could not be more knowledgeable and supportive. It's a wonderful department!