History staffer Michael Gawlik recently caught up with 2017 graduate Jeane Emily DuBose. They discussed how her experience in History at Michigan has shaped life after graduation and how she expects it will shape her future.

What are you currently doing in your career, and what are your goals for the future?

I currently work as the education coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Metro Suburban, which is based in the western suburbs of Chicago. My job is to create educational opportunities for residents interested in learning more about mental health. I also coordinate our programming in local middle and high school health classes to inform students about common warning signs of mental health conditions and suicide, and to therefore reduce associated stigma. In the future, I plan to go to graduate school to pursue a dual degree in public health and social work, in hopes of one day running a mental health non-profit.

Why did you decide to major in history?

I always planned on being a history major. In high school, I loved learning about the people who came before me and how their actions shaped the current world. My interest in learning about others and their worlds meant I never had any doubts about studying history.

How did your experiences in History influence your career choice and opportunities?

Quite simply, if I hadn’t been a history major, I would not be where I am now. I took History 284, Health and Sickness in Society, in the fall of my sophomore year, and it fundamentally changed what I wanted for myself and my future. The class, and especially Professor Martin Pernick, showed me how health, law, and history could intersect in ways I hadn’t previously imagined. These connections were part of what sparked my interest in mental health, as I found myself continually drawn to projects centered on the historical relationship between law and medicine. I ultimately wrote my thesis about this convergence and came to see through my research and writing that stigmas around mental health are as present today as they were in the past. Without history, I never would have found my current path. 

What advice do you have for current History students?

My advice to history students is to find what you're passionate about and go for it! I had so many jobs and internships throughout college that led me where I am. I learned what I didn't want to do (e.g., be a lawyer, focus only on fundraising, etc.) and instead found what is truly a post-graduation dream job. I would advise current students who know what they want to chase down their dreams—but for those who don’t know, be unafraid to try different things.

What are your fondest memories of your time in History?

My best memories from Michigan are from working on my thesis. It was hard and grueling and oftentimes, I thought about quitting and having a relaxing senior year. But being in the archives and touching one-hundred-year-old prison records, finding something I didn’t know existed but so desperately needed, was thrilling and rewarding. Moreover, I made some of my best friends sitting in the Honors Lounge, editing late into the night, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings trivia to let off some steam with onion rings and cheap drink specials. I wouldn’t have had any of that if not for history.

Write to hist.outreach@umich.edu with suggestions for other U-M History young alumni profiles.