Judy Connolly is an online history instructor for Jacksonville University, where she delivers a unique, interactive Modern World History course for the university’s Bisk School of Nursing that includes medical history content. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and has been a member since 2010.
Alma maters: BA (English literature), Florida Atlantic University, 2000; MA (English literature), Florida Atlantic University, 2003; MA (history), University of North Florida, 2012; BA (history), University of North Florida, 2015
Fields of interest: Everything! Western civilization; Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures; medieval (East and West); US history, Revolution, Civil War, civil rights, Florida, South, women, and African American studies; environmental justice, medicine, and technology
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today? It took a decade to earn my first degree because my ex-husband vehemently did not want me to go to college. We had a successful graphic design firm and work often forced me to drop classes. I learned to study at night when the house was quiet.
What do you like the most about where you live and work? Jacksonville University has proven to be an incredible school to work for because they have confidence in their instructors, allow us to have a major impact on course content, and encourage us to frequently revise our courses. When assigned a Modern World History course for the Bisk School of Nursing, I was allowed to include medical history content from ancient to present times. Students are a mix of newbies to 30-year nursing professionals and administrators. The course’s active, interactive, and cooperative learning exercises allow students to share professional experiences about the historical and medical content they research and live.
What do you value most about the history discipline? I find history endlessly engaging. My love of all things historical is why my MA/BA degree date information above is not a typo. While Dr. Carolyn Williams, the most inspiring history teacher I have ever known, was dying from cancer, I prayed daily for her survival so we could work on my thesis for the MA, a subject we both admired. Unfortunately, Dr. Williams passed in late 2011, but I made good use of that time to take undergrad classes to earn a BA in history and three minors. Perhaps that is more than piddling. I have the student loans to prove it.
What projects are you currently working on? I have been working on a biography of a major player in the Harlem Renaissance, but teaching, grading, and the need for sleep make it hard to find time to work on that project. My subject has also proven to be hard to pin down due to a penchant for telling stories. What fun!
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.