Rhiannon Schade chose to attend UCSC for its interdisciplinary opportunities, accessible professors, strong identity, and stunning campus. All of these aspects of the university helped Schade excel and she graduated from UCSC in 2011 with a degree in History and Economics. Schade then went on to earn an M.S. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. She currently works as an admissions counselor for Sweet Briar College in Virginia and enjoys traveling around the country helping prospective students with their college search process.
Schade was a tour guide with UCSC Admissions during her undergraduate career. This position exposed her to the ways in which students make decisions about where to attend college. Schade says admissions work “pulls directly from the skills I learned studying history and in economics. By the time I was in my senior year of college, I knew that I wanted to pursue an advanced degree in education and become a college admissions officer.”
Schade first took a history course at UCSC to fulfill a general education requirement. She was persuaded to major in history by Dr. Marilyn Westerkamp’s passion for history and teaching methods, as well as the encouragement of Stephanie Sawyer, the Undergraduate Advisor. Under the direction of Assistant Professor Catherine Jones, Rhiannon Schade completed her senior thesis entitled, “For All to Learn”: How African Americans Shaped Educational History in Nineteenth-Century Mississippi. Her thesis strives to examine the undertaking of African American education in Mississippi from the antebellum period through the early twentieth century.
“Studying history, particularly at an institution like the University of California, Santa Cruz, where there is tremendous depth and variety available within the department, prepares you for anything,” says Schade. She emphasized that attending networking events sponsored by the History Department, along with skills honed in history courses such as a developed writing style, detail-oriented analysis, and an awareness of connections, helped her transition into the professional world. She says, “In education, it is vital to know your students well and to understand how they make decisions. You also need to be a pretty good writer and speaker. You need to be good at representing your institution and looking for the ways in which it might fit in with the kind of experience your students want to have in college. Studying history was excellent preparation for my career in college admissions.”