A Brandon University associate professor has some sage advice for the modern student: Network and plan.
Rhonda Hinther, of the department of history, says students must think strategically during their education journey in order to maximize job opportunities after graduation.
She made her comments during a keynote address at the New Frontiers graduate history conference at York University in Toronto, a premier annual event that draws participants from North America and Europe.
"It breaks my heart when students say they can’t do anything with a PhD except move into academia," said Hinther, who holds a doctorate in history from McMaster University.
"My advice is to think strategically while in university. Develop a broad professional network, volunteer or seek out paid part-time employment that is complementary to your career goals, and think creatively about the range of skills and experience gained during your studies," she said.
"Ask yourself how you can translate what you enjoy doing into job offers and a career."
Prior to joining BU in the fall of 2013, Hinther worked in public history, serving as director of research and curation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, and before that, as curator of western Canadian history at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.
"Public history encompasses museums, historic sites, film and TV — any efforts to make history accessible to the public, and hopefully a fun and fulfilling learning experience," Hinther said. "It’s a great job opportunity for anyone with an academic background in history."
She has played a role in several historical film projects, including "If Day: The Nazi Invasion of Winnipeg," "Black Field" and "The Oldest Profession in Winnipeg: the Red Light District of 1909-1912."
Her most recent film project released in 2013, "Ukrainian Labour Temple," is based on her PhD dissertation research about pro-communist and radical Ukrainians in Canada, which is also the subject of her forthcoming book.
Hinther is currently researching leftist radicals interned in Canada during the Second World War, through a Brandon University Research Council grant.
This fall, as part of a course she will be teaching on oral history, she and BU students will begin gathering oral histories about Brandon events from the past 50 to 60 years.