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B.A. in History Alumni


Gannam Rifkah
2014, B.A., History and Political Science

Currently: Law Student, University of Virginia

Gannam Rifkah

"As a history major at Duquesne University, I benefited from a world-class education. I had the option to select courses spanning broad subjects such as the Spanish colonization of the New World, or instead opt to spend an entire semester in a class focused specifically on the American Revolution. In addition to this more concrete knowledge, I fostered intangible skills I utilize daily in law school at the University of Virginia and future employment at an international law firm based in Washington D.C. The history department at Duquesne offers some of my most rigorous writing-intensive courses, where professors emphasize succinct, deliberate, and sharp writing; the same type of prose I employ in compiling legal memorandum and briefs, the bread and butter of any lawyer. Most of all, however, as a student at Duquesne I was able to learn from professors who knew me by my first name; who I could turn to for professional advice, and who I still maintain contact with today.

"Honorable mention: the flexibility of the history degree from Duquesne. I was able to spend a semester in Washington D.C. interning at the Republican National Committee, a week in Paris as part of an art history course, and complete a double major and a double minor in four years."  Contact Gannam!

Gannam was also the Duquesne University McAnulty College of Liberal Arts 2014 General Excellence Award recipient. 


Shannon Smith
2014, B.A., History and Political Science

Currently: Business Development Analyst for MAXIMUS, Inc.

Shannon Smith"After graduating from Duquesne in 2014 with a double major in History and Political Science, I felt more than prepared to pursue my Master's in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. My history major helped me think and write critically about various policy issues. The second year of my program took place in Washington, D.C. which was the perfect place to study the intersection of tradition and change and analyze how the past can impact current events, an important skill gained from studying history. In my current job as a Business Development Analyst for MAXIMUS, Inc. in Reston, VA right outside of DC, I help manage solution development in response to state government-issued Requests for Proposals for Medicaid administrative services contracts. My history major helped me gain an understanding of different cultures, values, and beliefs and I bring this perspective to my job as I think about how MAXIMUS can best serve the Medicaid population in each diverse state."  Contact Shannon!


Brian Behler
1991, B.A., History

Currently: News Videographer, WTAE-TV

"I caught the news bug when I got a part time job at WTAE my junior year, and I turned my attentions to news and news videography. I spent the last 20 years in Cleveland, and moved back in June, 2015.

"However, I've not abandoned my History Degree from Duquesne. I find that I rely on it when I'm in the field shooting stories. And in a way, I'm documenting history. I cover the stories locally, sometimes very big stories, that may shape the history of Western Pennsylvania for decades and centuries to come.

"I also find that my History Degree has helped me with my job because I need to know the history of the people of this area. The hard working immigrants that shaped Western Pennsylvania. You know the people, you know their backgrounds. You know their triumphs and struggles. I learned what makes Western PA so special, even though I grew up here. I think you sort of take things for granted, living here in Western PA and surrounded by history. It's learning the nuances about that history that surrounds you, that made my Duquesne University History Degree so vastly important to my job, my family (I try and educate my boys about the history here all the time) and my future.

"I am the Westmoreland County Bureau videographer for WTAE-TV Channel 4. I cover Westmoreland, Fayette, and Indiana Counties with Somerset, Armstrong, and Washington counties thrown in every once in a while. I work with my partner, reporter Ashlie Hardway."  Contact Brian!


Melissa Knerr
2015, B.A., History and Classics

Currently: Law Student, University of Missouri School of Law

Melissa Knerr "I loved my time as a History major. I was able to take a variety of classes from wonderful professors and I was never disappointed. From learning challengeing material to a high focus on reading, researching, and writing, each class helped me prepare for taking the LSAT as well as my first year courses in law school. Many of the skills developed through a history major are now invaluable to me both in law school and at my summer job at the United States Attorney's Office. My supervisor even discussed history and my history major with me during my interview. I knew that I wanted to go to law school before I even enrolled at Duquesne but to anyone unsure about a career path or post-graduate studies, I can assure you that a history major gives diverse and interesting options, I just happened to choose one of the more common paths!"  Contact Melissa!