Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Program

Meet some of our Students


Tara Bell - Public History
Senior Public History major Tara Bell came to Western Michigan because it is one of the few universities in the country to offer an undergraduate major in Public History. Although she has enjoyed her classes, Tara has especially loved her internship experiences. During the summers following her first two years at Western, Tara worked for Mackinaw State Parks as a guide and interpreter. “It gave me a great opportunity to work directly with the public,” she says. Last summer, Tara expanded her skill set even further, working as part of the historic preservation team for the Moses Cone historic mansion in Blowing Rock,  North Carolina. “It was great because it was so outside my comfort zone,” says Bell. “I had never worked with power tools in my whole life! But I would recommend that to all students - to try something completely different from what they’ve ever done.” This year, Tara is working at the WMU Archives, housed on historic East Campus, where she is assisting Dr. Sharon Carlson with a number of projects and researching a recently donated batch of letters written by local Vietnam War veterans. After graduation, Bell hopes to begin graduate work in public history, either in historic preservation or in museum studies. “I love preservation, and I love museums, she says, “so I just need to find the program with the right fit and the right opportunities.”



Kristen Vermetten - Liberal Education
Junior Liberal Education major Kristen Vermetten was recently awarded an internship with the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  Kristen spent most of last year in the mayor’s press office where she gained first-hand experience in policy research, community outreach, and media relations.  It was an opportunity for Kristen to work with all levels of government in the development of mayoral initiatives. It was also an opportunity for Kristen to exercise the skills that have helped her succeed as a History major. “My ability to research, comprehend, and communicate public policy set me apart and helped me excel.”  Kristen is interested in recent American history and the history of American foreign policy.  Her experiences in the mayor’s office allowed her to make meaningful connections between past and present. “Getting a look at how domestic issues effect political platforms gave me new insights into historical problems that I’ve studied.” After graduation, Kristen intends to pursue a career as a Foreign Service Officer.  “Working for the State Department requires a broad range of skills and abilities.  I’m confident that my experiences at Western will help me to succeed.”


Department of History
4301 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5334 USA
(269) 387-4650 | (269) 387-4651 Fax