What I Do: A Conversation with Rachel Reinhard

For the past nine months we have been talking to historians who work beyond the professoriate, and posting the videos on the AHA’s YouTube channel. Our most recent installment, a conversation with Rachel Reinhard, brings the number of videos to six.

Reinhard told us about her role as the director of the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project, which serves, she says, “as a bridge between the university and K-12 classrooms, and [supports] the professional development of K-12 instruction.”

Reinhard was an elementary school teacher before she went to the University of California, Berkeley to get her PhD in history. She explains that her experience as a graduate student working for the History-Social Science Project, under a Teaching American History grant, “really informed [my work] when I became a professor myself. I was working with students who wanted to be history teachers, and I used a lot of what I learned from the History-Social Science Project.”

Now back at Berkeley as the project’s director, Reinhard often finds herself in the role of a mentor to PhD students. She calls this an “unanticipated joy,” while noting that “when you’re getting a PhD, particularly at an R-1 institution, you don’t have a sense of what’s possible outside of what is being modeled for you.”

Watch Rachel Reinhard’s video at www.historians.org/perspectives/what-i-do, and visit our roundup of interviews in Perspectives on History, which this month features comments from our participants on being a historian outside the academy, and advice for graduate students.

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