Preserving Michigan’s history

CMU journal’s new graduate assistant position provides opportunity to publish scholarly work

| Author: Ari Harris

From the Battle of Lake Erie to the boom of the Motor City, Michigan’s history is rich with colorful characters and amazing events. That’s why history students and faculty at Central Michigan University are dedicated to preserving it with The Michigan Historical Review.

The scholarly journal devoted to sharing the many facets of Michigan’s history is peer-reviewed, produced entirely at CMU and published twice a year.

“It’s a showpiece for CMU,” said the Review’s editor, Lane Demas. “It’s a work of serious academic scholarship.”

Now, the Review has become an opportunity for history graduate students to get hands-on experience working outside a classroom setting. Gillian Macdonald, a third-year Ph.D. student from Glasgow, Scotland, is the first to serve as a graduate assistant on the publication’s staff.

Typically, history graduate students get most of their real-world experience as teaching assistants.

“This is a special type of position,” Macdonald said. “It opened my eyes to what I can do with my history degree.”

Macdonald’s position allows her to work with both The Michigan Historical Review and the Clarke Historical Library. She reads submissions, helps to select items for publication, and assists with editing and formatting. She said the experience has been challenging, but it has expanded her horizons in ways she hadn’t previously imagined.

“I was thrown into the deep end,” she said “but I learned how to swim.”

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