Dave DeCamp graduated from Davidson College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He enrolled at Northeastern in Fall 2012 as a master’s student in World History and was accepted to the Northeastern PhD program starting in the Fall semester of 2013. He aims to teach history at the college level and his dissertation (which is in progress) explores the way that exotic animals were displayed in popular culture in London during the interwar period and how these depictions were influenced by and reflected British imperialism overseas.
Here is Dave’s Northeastern story…
There were so many reasons why Dave chose to come to Northeastern, originally for his master’s degree and then to stay for his PhD. Northeastern’s strengths in both world history and digital humanities appealed to him from the beginning and he also loved getting the opportunity to live and work in Boston. But most of all, it was the people in the Department of History that cemented his decision to stay here.
“From my brilliant and supportive advisor, Heather Streets-Salter, to the rest of the remarkable, helpful, and welcoming faculty, graduate students, and administrative staff, I quickly realized in that first year that Northeastern was a place I could spend the next five-plus years of my life.”
One of the key moments in his career at Northeastern came in spring 2013 when Dave took an Introduction to “Digital Humanities” (ENG7358/HIS7219) with Ryan Cordell in the Department of English. When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, Ryan Cordell and Elizabeth Dillon envisioned creating a digital archive to catalogue this event and the city of Boston’s response to it. Through his involvement in the class, and the technical skills he picked up in the course project, Dave became a Research Assistant and the technical lead for Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive. Once in the PhD program, he continued his work on Our Marathon as a NULab fellow and became increasingly involved in Digital Humanities on campus: he worked with the Digital Scholarship Group in a consulting role, led workshops for a number of digital projects on campus, and eventually landed his current position as Managing Editor of the Digital Humanities Quarterly.
Another transformative aspect of his career trajectory has been the research funding opportunities granted by the Department of History.
Over the past two years, Dave has been able to secure research travel grants to visit England and undertake on-site archival research for almost two months in seven different archives.
One of the most difficult but also most rewarding experiences he had at Northeastern was organizing the History Graduate Student Association’s (HGSA) 6th annual graduate conference in Spring 2014. In addition to the normal TA/RA responsibilities of a doctoral student, organizing the conference is a year-long commitment. The conference creates a welcoming and professional space for both Northeastern’s History graduate students and those from universities all over the world to come together and discuss their innovative research. The HGSA is currently hard at work preparing for its 9th conference, “Power, Place, and People: The Local and the Global,” to be held at Northeastern University on March 18-19, 2017.
“Without the generous support of the History Department, I would not be the scholar I am today and I don’t think my current dissertation would have been possible.”
Dave’s involvement with the Our Marathon project, the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, the Digital Scholarship Group, and now the Digital Humanities Quarterly has defined his tenure at Northeastern. His initial exposure to and continued involvement in digital humanities has been crucial to his scholarly development — so much so that Dave and a colleague pioneered a comprehensive exam field in digital history for the Department of History. The projects, professional connections, and the wide array of skills in digital humanities have been learning experiences he could not have received anywhere else.
His experiences in the classroom have been significant in his professional development. After all, teaching was both Dave’s initial reason for applying and it remains his goal after he finishes the program. He has served as a TA for a wide variety of classes, from an American History survey course to a graduate course on Digital Humanities. Dave has lectured, led discussion sections, graded countless papers and exams, held office hours, and helped professors design syllabi. This summer, he will teach his first class as a part-time lecturer for the Department of History at Northeastern.
The immediate next step is to write, revise, and defend his dissertation which is anticipated for Spring 2018. Meanwhile, he is preparing the syllabus and readings for his first course to be taught in the summer, working with faculty on an NEH-funded Summer Institute on Space, Place, and the Humanities (to be held at Northeastern in summer 2017), and continuing work as Managing Editor for the Digital Humanities Quarterly. After his defense, Dave hopes to secure a teaching job at a small liberal arts college, but he also feels his varied and unique experiences at Northeastern have provided him with so many more options, such as working in university libraries, for peer-reviewed scholarly journals, digital humanities centers, or public history institutions.
“I’m both anxious and excited about my future after I complete my degree, but I know I’ve received an education and a marketable set of skills that I could not have received elsewhere.”
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