My name is Elizabeth Hodges, and I graduated from UL with a degree in history December 2016 and I will be attending New York University in the fall of 2017. As an undergraduate, I began not as a history major, but as a music business major. At eighteen years old, I still was unsure what I really wanted to do with my life until I took my first college level history class. After taking British history, I decided after two years of being a music major that I wanted to devote my life to studying history.
My first semester as a history major I made the decision, on a whim, to take Irish history because I wanted to learn more about where my distant relatives were from. As I progressed through my undergraduate career, I discovered that studying history, specifically the history of my ancestors and their culture, is my passion. Recently I was accepted to NYU’s MA in Irish and Irish American Studies program. In my studies toward a Master’s degree, I intend on researching how different aspects of the Irish Diaspora affected American culture, and how in turn the Irish culture was affected by efforts of Americanization. Through research, I will look closely at the different ideas of how race affected the treatment of the Irish after emigration post famine. While doing undergraduate research on the yellow fever epidemic of 1853, I became intrigued by the idea of race in relation to the Irish due to the content of several informational health pamphlets of the time which referred to the Irish in New Orleans as a race worth less, in the monetary terms, than black slaves. I find myself extremely curious about this idea, and I want to know to if this is similar in other cities, if so then to what degree, and also how could have Irish women played into issues of race from within the workforce.
Looking back at the past three and a half years of college, I would not have imagined that this is the route I would have ended up taking. If it was not for UL’s extraordinary faculty and staff I would not have found what I am truly passionate about. UL’s history department is really more than just attending class. Each student is given not only the desire to learn more, but also to strive for higher achievements inside and outside of the classroom. Choosing UL and subsequently choosing to become a history major are the best decisions I ever made for myself.