History Major: ‘Opportunity Abounds’


To understand the world today, according to Amber Coombe ’17 of Mystic, Conn., one must first understand its history.

For example, to understand the complexities of the Middle East and the geo-political nature of conflicts, she explained, it is imperative to understand the history of the dispersion of people from their homelands, religious conflicts, as well as European colonialism.

A history and secondary education major, she is pursuing a career as a high school history teacher. A first-generation college student, Coombe wants to teach in a way that encourages her students to learn more about the past. She highly recommends MCLA’s history program.

“From published historians to well-travelled intellectuals, the history department at MCLA is made up of a dynamic group of professors who each bring a unique perspective to the study of history,” Coombe said.

“The department enables its students to learn more about the world around them and how key eras influenced its development,” she continued. “The professors have a vested interest in the success of their students, the program challenges us to think beyond a surface level understanding of history, and we are prepared for future academic pursuits.”

Beyond the classroom, she has been involved in a variety of “high-impact” activities. This includes serving as a peer advisor to new students, as well as an orientation leader, an admissions ambassador, president of the Political Science Club, and chapter president of the newly established National Society of Leadership and Success on campus.

As the designer of MCLA’s weekly events publication, What’s Happening, Coombe has advanced her digital design skills. She also participated in last fall’s North American Model United Nations (NAMUN) conference as the Haitian delegate on the General Assembly Committee.

And, as part of a travel-study course, Coombe spent last week's spring break in Ireland, exploring Irish history and culture.

“Each of these co-curricular activities has enhanced my educational career by providing me with an opportunity to advance my leadership skills, get involved in the MCLA community, and grow as a student, friend, and mentor,” she said.

Coombe also minors in political science because the history of politics is of particular interest to her. In addition to her desire to teach government courses to high school students, she wishes to incorporate political history in her classes. “Furthermore, one day I hope to run for local and federal government offices.”    

Beyond the history department, Coombe has had the opportunity to take courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including “Chemistry of CSI,” in which she explored forensic chemistry and the science involved in solving crimes.

“This class offered a new perspective on crime dramas that dominate popular television, and it expounded my knowledge and understanding of the field. This is just one example of the different courses I have been able to take at MCLA that go beyond my major,” Coombe said.

The best part about attending MCLA, she said, is the “incredible sense of community you feel from the first day you step onto this campus. It is practically impossible to walk from one end of campus to the other without running into someone I know. To me, that is the best part. I love how much I have become a part of MCLA and how much MCLA has become a part of me.”

Her best advice for a prospective student who wants to make MCLA their home is to get involved. “This school is so much more than just an affordable education. Here, opportunity abounds, and the chances of a lifetime are just waiting to be taken.”