Our Alumni

Our Alumni

Mark Benton — Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University

I earned both my BA and MA degrees at Cal State Long Beach before coming to Princeton to pursue a PhD in Medieval History. My time with Long Beach’s history department made me a better historian. The professors prepared me for academic success, while the program’s emphasis on methodology, theory, and comparative history was especially crucial in setting me up as a competitive candidate for doctoral programs. My only regret is that I did not take full advantage of the various sub-disciplines offered, including Oral History and Jewish Studies. As a student of the ancient and medieval worlds, I profited greatly from the comprehensive historiography and research courses. For students wishing to complete a thesis and pursue advanced degrees, Long Beach is ideal. The program strikes a balance between rigorous course work and the freedom of independent research, both of which are necessary for developing a solid MA thesis. Most importantly, the professors promote a collaborative and cooperative working environment, and I have been most fortunate to develop life-long connections with Long Beach’s grad students, faculty, and staff.


María Carreras — Ph.D. Candidate, University of California at San Diego

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) writing a dissertation entitled: ” Socializing Children, Forging Identities, and Rearing Citizens in Modern Spain from the Franco Regime to the Transition.” I do not think I would be in a PhD program without my experience at CSULB. In the M.A. program I learned how to critically read and analyze historical and theoretical texts. I chose to write a thesis, which allowed me to develop my research skills which, I believe, was a plus upon entering a PhD program. A transition from an M.A. to Ph.D. program will always be difficult. Yet, my experience in the M.A. program provided the rigor that I needed to develop as a scholar, as well as the opportunity to explore potential topics of interest.


Neal Cates — High School Teacher—AP World History

The MA in History that I earned from CSULB has helped me become much more attuned with the current scholarship concerning content and pedagogy. Even though I was teaching Ancient World History at the time and taking World History and Modern European-focused courses, every class was applicable in a wide variety of ways. Whether it was the content, historical arguments being made by the authors, or the examples of changes and continuity that I could bring to my classroom, each course, discussion, and or book was priceless. The MA in History also made it much easier when I made the jump to teaching AP World History and Modern World History at McBride HS in LBUSD. I have never been concerned about content knowledge because of the wonderful readings and discussions I had as part of the program. As classroom teacher, it should be our goal to be scholars, earning an MA in History from CSULB allowed me to do that and bring more scholarly practice to my classrooms.


Delia Gomez — Performance Auditor, City of Long Beach

I use the skills I developed in the History M.A. program every day in my role as a public servant. The Long Beach City Auditor’s Office conducts independent reviews of City operations with the purpose of identifying and alleviating inefficiencies. I am responsible for: applying different research techniques to source and interpreting both quantitative and qualitative data; analyzing different operations with an emphasis on areas of risk to City assets; developing audit related documents in adherence with audit industry standards; and helping write reports. Like historians, local government auditors use core methodologies and undergo formal peer review. The methodological underpinnings of our work are set forth by the United States Government Accountability Office. All of our work is subject to peer review by other auditing professionals, our counterparts from other municipalities are invited to read our work against industry standards and offer formal observations.

I actively use the critical reading, analysis, and writing skills I developed in the M.A. program in my job. My training in historical analysis helps me to draw significance from a breadth of qualitative and quantitative data, put local developments in larger historical contexts, and identify systemic issues. safeguarding City assets and responding to the collective interests of Long Beach residents requires nuance, objectivity, and context and the statements we make must be anchored in objectivity, supported by empirical evidence, and strong enough to illicit stakeholder action, all skills I cultivated as history graduate student.

Graduate seminars taught me how to speak about high-level issues in high-stakes settings. Conversations in government are always weighted down by our duty to Long Beach residents. Seminar helped me master my ability to participate in conversations about higher-order concepts head-on and offer substantive statements without relenting to the pressure of the moment. This coupled with a graduate program culture centered on accountability helped set the stage for my every day practice as a public servant.

As the discourse surrounding any given topic changes over time within the historical discipline, so too do conversations regarding industry practices. This is especially true given the rapid rate of technological change and fluctuating economic landscapes. Like academia, the auditing profession also demands a commitment to lifelong learning. I am confident I will continue using the skills I learned in the History M.A. program throughout my entire municipal career.

Joseph Hammond—Journalist and Consultant

Joseph Hammond is a reporter with the American Media Institute and a former Cairo correspondent for Radio Free Europe. He has reported from four continents on issues ranging from the Arab Spring to the M23 rebellion in the Eastern Congo. Mr. Hammond has worked as a consultant for the Oxford Business Group, Global Integrity, and on international aid projects related to conflict issues. In these roles he has worked in Qatar, Turkey, Indonesia, Bahrain, Ghana and elsewhere. He has been a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy fellow with the government of Malawi, a Penn Kemble Forum Fellow at the National Endowment of Democracy, and a Heinrich Böll Stiftung Fellow. His work has been published by Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, International Business Times, Monocle magazine, The Diplomat, Naval War College Review, and Africa Defense Review, among other publications.
Hammond wrote of his time as a CSULB History M.A. student: “The CSULB history department helped build a small circle of like-minded students. I was close with three other students with similar interests… all went on to do interesting things.” Indeed, he notes that he has covered issues as a journalist that he wrote about in his M.A. thesis!


Gregory Martin — Assistant Director for Histories and Archives at the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC)

As the Assistant Director for Histories and Archives at the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) at the Washington Navy Yard in the District of Columbia I am responsible to the Director of Naval History within the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for leading and managing the Histories and Archives Division. I also provide policy guidance to senior Navy leadership regarding historical research and writing, records preservation and management, and public access to declassified records. The division is staffed by 69 history professionals and includes the Navy Department Library (founded in 1800), the Navy Archives (founded in 1882), and the Histories Branch (founded in 1916). The division provides historical support to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. It also publishes monographs and documentary histories through the Government Printing Office and online. And it annually publishes up to 10,00 pages of material through the NHHC website, with content varying from digitized records to manuscript items, and original content as well.

In 2014 I was awarded the Department of the Navy’s second highest civilian service award, the Superior Service Medal, for my work in correcting decades worth of systemic issues in the Navy Archives and improving the division’s ability to carry out its many history related missions. Recently I have been heavily involved with improving public access to official records held within the Navy Archives and at NHHC museums. I am also active with the Society for History in the Federal Government, Society for American Archivists, and is a committee co-chair for the Curriculum & Training Committee of the National Council on Public History.

This is a dream job for me and I cannot think of another position that requires all my background in business and technology as well as history. The knowledge I gained and professional practices I learned at Long Beach continue to be invaluable. They allow me to collaborate successfully with a number of very senior historians, archivists, librarians, and other professionals inside and outside the federal government to support the command and serve its customers within and outside of the Navy.


Donald Robinson — Lifelong Learner

CSULB has enabled me to complete my lifelong goal of achieving my Master’s degree in World History after many years as a government attorney. Although I felt reluctant to return to a university environment at my age, I found that the students, professors, and other staff made me feel welcome as part of the CSULB family. Just when I thought that retirement from my profession would leave a void in my life — something I had worried about — the Master’s program in History at CSULB gave me an exciting endeavor and, in a way, almost a second “profession.” I have been telling all my friends and colleagues that continuing education at CSULB provides an opportunity for the entire Los Angeles/Long Beach community — bringing together current students, former students, and virtually anyone with a desire to learn, regardless of age.

Colin Rutherford—Aerospace Industry

My MA in history from California State University, Long Beach armed me with the skills to succeed in government and the business world. I graduated with my MA in History during the height of the recession and was forced to look outside of California for employment. Due to the writing skills, analytical skills, and depth of knowledge I gained during my tenure at CSULB, I was offered a job as a commercial officer at an Embassy in Washington, DC. They chose me from a pool of over 200 applicants because of the strength of my writing, analytical clarity, language ability, and regional cultural knowledge. I gained these skills and knowledge as a master’s candidate in the History Department.

As I moved on to work for different organizations, I further leveraged my language, writing, and analytical skills to gain positions that I arguably would not have even been considered competitive had I not had my MA in history. While many of my employers did not understand the depth or importance of a graduate degree in history, they appreciated the indirect benefits they received from my employment such as clear communication, professional research ability, and logical analysis.

Currently, I work as a program manager for a large aerospace company. While I am not an engineer or a technical expert, I attribute the success of my programs to my graduate training. In particular, the ability to consume and make sense of large amounts of information and to produce clear concise analysis. This skill is, perhaps above all others, the most valuable I gained at CSULB and has contributed the most to my career trajectory.

So far, I have been afforded some incredible life experiences such as living and travelling in different middle eastern countries, implementing international business policy, and interacting with influential government officers and businessmen. None of this would have happened had I not chosen to pursue my graduate history degrees at CSULB.