A dedicated historian, engaged citizen and world traveler, Heather Rodriguez offers the purpose and passion that the department looks for. She joined the history program as an undergraduate student interested in teaching at the high school level. In 2019, Rodriguez graduated with her teaching certification but internship opportunities and guidance from faculty led her to pursue a career in Public History. Her focus shifted from the high school classroom to the museum space. Now a graduate student, Rodriguez has edited and published articles in the Handbook of Texas Women, an online project that strives to promote a more inclusive and comprehensive history of Texas.
A Conversation with Heather
Why did you choose to attend A&M-Commerce?
“My dad graduated from A&M-Commerce in 2015 with his Masters of Social Work and encouraged me to visit the school and see what I thought. He praised how the professors really made an effort to get to know their students and give them the best chance of success. Also, as someone who was interested in education at the time, I knew A&M-Commerce had a strong program for teachers.”
What are your career goals and how does your degree program fit into your career goals?
“As a graduate student, I came back to the department to discover what else I could do with a degree in history. I learned that we offered a certificate and minor in Public History. My career goals are now focused on finding a job associated with Public History like working in a museum curating artifacts, putting together exhibits or something along those lines. The Public History program has given me real experience in different fields like oral history and digital humanities through the classes offered. Because the program also requires an internship, I can have my foot in the door with a museum or heritage park before I graduate!”
What professor or person on campus has positively influenced you? How so?
“The entire history department has been a positive influence throughout my undergraduate and now graduate degree. The professors that have had the most impact on me during my time at A&M-Commerce are: Dr. Jessica Brannon-Wranosky for believing in my abilities as a historian and giving me an opportunity to work on the Handbook of Texas Women, Dr. Mylykna Cardona for always having her door open to talk with any student who needs it, and Dr. Andrew Baker for being the type of professor/teacher I would hope to be. Both the professors and the students that make up the history department are the best!”
What research projects have you worked on? What was your role?
“Dr. Jessica Brannon-Wranosky offered me a job as a Graduate Assistant of Research on her project, the Handbook of Texas Women. The project is a part of the online Handbook of Texas, and some of my roles include editorial and fact-checking work for articles before they are published online, data management and authoring my own articles.”
- M.S., History, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2021
- B.S., History with Teaching Certification, TAMUC, 2019
Awards and Honors
- President’s List, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2019
- Dean’s List, TAMUC, 2016-2018
- Alpha Phi