There were two moments that helped guide her. First, was when she volunteered at The Castle as part of the McDonough Leadership Program.
“It was there that I realized that I wanted to go the public history route. Once I decided to start looking at master’s programs in public history, I realized I wanted to work at a museum one day so I could tell stories about history.”
Next was when the College added a Public History minor soon after McCormick arrived on campus.
“I came to Marietta to study history. But when the College added the Public History minor, (Dr. Brandon) Downing convinced me to take the intro class — and I knew then I wanted to work at a museum, and I hope one day to be an education director at a smaller museum.”
McCormick, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa, believes the faculty in Marietta’s History Department helped prepare her for the demands of graduate school.
“It made a huge impact on me in getting where I am now and being so successful. The classes were phenomenal, and I got that basic understanding of public history, and I probably wouldn’t be here now.”
When she recalls her early days in the public history program at WVU, her recollection is like many other Marietta graduates who go to larger institutions for graduate school.
“I was nervous, and I felt very intimidated by my peers. They had worked for the national parks service, and museums, so I was worried that I wasn’t prepared. Then we started getting assignments and I quickly learned that they had never done this type of work. I quickly learned that the rigor of a Marietta College education had prepared me well, and I am doing just fine in my classes.”
Another opportunity that prepared McCormick well was participating in the Summer Investigative Studies Program. She worked with Dr. Matt Young, McCoy Professor of History, and she researched the history of the campus and presented her research to campus.
“I also got the chance to create story maps in his GIS class, and I was able to work in the College’s Special Collections for a semester and a summer. Those opportunities really helped me get this experience. I had a lot of opportunities that people at bigger institutions wouldn’t have had.”
Now she can’t wait to complete the master’s program and start her career at a museum.
“I do really like the graduate program, and it is great to have that further experience and knowledge. My time at Marietta prepared me well for graduate school and for a career afterward.”