At an early age, Andrea Di Salvio was fascinated by history. This desire led the budding history buff to attend Brooklyn College and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies education in 2020 and graduate summa cum laude. She then went on to pursue her passion for the past by enrolling in a graduate program in the Department of History. With hard work and dedication, Di Salvio has successfully navigated the world of higher education and this spring, will earn a Master of Arts in history. Di Salvio hopes her future path will lead her to a career in museums, bringing her love of history to a wider audience.

What did you study at Brooklyn College?

I pursued a master’s in history because of my love for the subject, as well as the fact that I had initially planned to become a social studies teacher. I received my B.A. in social studies education (7-12) from Brooklyn College in June 2020, and a master’s degree is required to receive a permanent teaching license in New York State. So, I jumped right into the master’s program just two months after I completed my bachelor’s. The COVID-19 pandemic made me reevaluate my personal and career goals, and I realized after just one year into the master’s program that I no longer wanted to teach. Even though I am no longer pursuing teaching as a career, I have no regrets about continuing with my master’s program. I still enjoy the pursuit of learning and history is still my passion. Regardless of my career path, it is extremely gratifying to earn a degree in the subject that I love.

You earned a B.A. in social studies education (7-12) in 2020 and now you are earning an M.A. in history. What is it about history that you love so much?

History was always my favorite subject in school, even from an early age. I found it fascinating that there were countless generations of people that came before us with unique cultures, religions, worldviews, and experiences; I wanted to learn about them all. As I got older, I grew to appreciate the discipline even more as I started to realize that studying history is the ultimate tool to combat ignorance and prejudice while building empathy. I truly believe that studying history has made me a more open-minded and kinder person and that everyone can benefit from understanding the world in which we live from a historical perspective.

How did it feel being the first person in your family to graduate from college?

I am proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from college. It wasn’t always easy, as I had to navigate the world of higher education largely on my own with no older role models to turn to for advice or assistance. I had to learn as I went along and hope that I wasn’t making any mistakes. My parents always expected me to go to college, so I didn’t have much say in the matter. Because of this, sometimes I feel less proud than maybe I should be because I simply did what was expected of me my whole life. But deep down I know that college is far from easy or accessible to everyone, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, and I try to have a greater sense of self-satisfaction.

What other subjects besides history and social studies piqued your interest?

Art and psychology also hold a special place in my heart. I initially considered going to college for psychology. While I find the subject to be incredibly fascinating, I didn’t think that my heart would have been fully in it to pursue it as a career. Instead, that interest led me to work as a tutor for undergraduate psychology courses for a few semesters. Additionally, a lot of my hobbies are artistic. I enjoy drawing, painting, pottery, embroidery, and photography. I’m really looking forward to getting back into some of these hobbies now that I’ll have more free time once I officially graduate. I’m even considering taking some non-degree art courses in the future to learn some new skills.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m willing to go wherever the wind takes me. The COVID-19 pandemic showed me how important it is to be flexible and adaptable, especially when it comes to choosing a job or career path. Currently, I work in the Brooklyn College Registrar’s Office as a degree auditor, and I don’t mind staying in a higher-education office setting for the foreseeable future. I find the work rewarding as I help other students get to the academic finish line. My master’s in history has taught me how to pay close attention to detail, take thorough notes, and stay both physically and mentally organized, which are all invaluable skills to have in the white-collar world. However, I would absolutely love it if my master’s in history could one day help me land a job in a museum or an archive.