Response Paper: Interviewing a Bethel History Alum

Your last response paper isn’t due until the last week of classes (W 5/17, noon), but I’m going to give it to you now so that you can set things up in plenty of time. It will be a last chance to think through history as a calling before you write your final essay on that topic.


1. Start by identifying a Bethel alum who majored or minored in History and has since entered a career that you find intriguing. I’ve compiled a list of forty such alumni who are eager to interview our students. I’ll share that spreadsheet separately. Pick the person you want to interview as soon as possible, since I’ll only allow 1-2 students per alum. (You can pick an alum not on the list, but clear the choice with me first.)

2. Contact your chosen alum and schedule an informational interview for no later than M 5/15. Ideally, try to do the interview in person — better yet, at the alum’s workplace. But if you’ve picked someone who doesn’t live in the Twin Cities or otherwise isn’t able to meet in person, you can talk over phone, FaceTime, or Skype. (Don’t do this by email or texting.)

3. To prepare for the interview, read these guidelines (including sample questions) on informational interviews, courtesy of Will O’Brien in Bethel’s Office of Career Development and Calling.

4. Conduct your interview. Be on time, dressed appropriately, and take notes.

5. As a follow-up, send a sincere thank you to the alum.


By noon on Wednesday, May 17th, upload to Moodle a 300-400 word response paper in which you reflect on the interview in the process of answering at least two or three of the following questions:

How relevant is undergraduate study of history to the career you chose to explore? What connections between historical study and their professional work did the alum make in your interview? (Did they identify other benefits of studying history that may be less directly connected to job and career?) In what ways was a history major or minor by itself insufficient to prepare the alum for their career path? Did the interview largely confirm your sense of calling, or did it shift/challenge it in some way?

Note that you’ve answered similar questions before, on the basis of reading interviews with other History alumni. You might reach similar conclusions this time, but you should clearly be interacting with this particular interview; be sure to reflect on or respond to quotations or paraphrases from the alum.

Unlike most other response papers, this assignment will be worth 15 pts. After these papers are turned in, I’ll share some responses here for a final round of blog commenting before the last day of classes.


One thought on “Response Paper: Interviewing a Bethel History Alum

  1. Pingback: Final Essay: Vocation and History | Intro to History

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