Sarah Woodman '99

Location: Bakersfield, California
Major(s) and Minor(s): History
Thesis title and/or topic/description: "White Buffalo Calf Women: Lakota Women Enabling Adaptation and Survival"

What have you done since graduation?

I have always loved history and knew I wanted to do something history-related when I grew up.  The summer between my junior and senior year at Scripps, I interned at a museum near my hometown and discovered the wonderful world of museum work. Following graduation, I returned to that museum and worked for another two years.

In 2001, I was accepted into the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture (now called the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture), a graduate program run by the Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of material culture and the decorative arts in the United States. The program is highly competitive, and I credit my Scripps degree for my acceptance into the program.

After receiving a Master of Arts in Early American Culture and a Museum Studies Certification in 2003, I worked at the Fort Morgan Museum in Colorado where I immersed myself in the history of the American West and where I learned how to erect a tipi and brand a calf! I stayed in Colorado until California called me home in 2007.

From 2007 to 2011, I was the Public Program Manager at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield where, among other activities, I developed tours and programs and wrote about local history. The recent recession forced me to readjust my expectations, and most recently I have been working as a government analyst monitoring agencies that receive funding under the Workforce Investment Act. My current position is a far cry from museum work but involves a lot of diligent research and attention to detail – abilities I developed while at Scripps and honed in my years working at museums. In my spare time, of which I don’t have enough as I am also the mother of a 7-month-old little boy, I write history articles for a local magazine and maintain a blog about Bakersfield’s history.

How do you think majoring in history or taking history classes has mattered to you?

My history degree has enabled me to do history as both a job and a love. I most fondly remember my classes with Professor Roberts. Prior to Scripps, African American history was not a consideration (mainly due to ignorance), but I believe I took every one of the courses she taught and discovered a rich and intriguing history that I still enjoy learning about.

Please contact Julie Liss if you would like to connect with this alumna.

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