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Scott Huffard

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Scott Huffard

I had always been a huge Civil War buff as a kid, and I fondly remember pouring over campaign and battle maps and taking trips to battlefields like Gettysburg and Antietam while growing up.  Part of the reason I decided to major in history was this interest in the Civil War, so once I got to Penn State I naturally took all the Civil War courses I could. I was in Civil War classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level with Dr. Blair, Dr. Greenberg, and Dr. Neely, along with history courses in other fields. In particular, the graduate seminar, with a heavy reading and research load, helped convince me that graduate study in history was a great option for me.

As a student in the Schreyer Honors College, I had an opportunity to write an honors thesis in history and further improve my research and writing skills.  Working with Dr. Derickson and Dr. Letwin, I wrote my thesis on the aftermath of the Great Strike of 1877 in Scranton and the surrounding coal mining districts. I remember spending many hours flipping through newspapers on microfilm and letters from Pinkerton detectives at the Pattee Library.

Before my senior year, I also had the opportunity to intern at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The Richards Center organized this internship with the education department at the park, and I spent a summer teaching groups of middle school students about John Brown’s raid and the fascinating history of Harpers Ferry.

After graduating from Penn State with a double major in History and Political Science, I went to the University of Florida for an MA and PhD in American History. My research focus is on railroads, capitalism and the postwar reconstruction of the South so while I’ve moved beyond studying just the war itself, I’ve certainly kept up my interest in the Civil War Era. I have also published research in the Journal of Southern History and Southern Cultures, and I am currently working on revising my dissertation for publication as a manuscript.

I graduated from UF in 2013 and currently I am an Assistant Professor of History at Lees-McRae College, a small 4-year college in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. I teach American history courses on a wide range of topics, including a 400-level course on the Civil War and Reconstruction, so its safe to say I’ve come full circle since my time at Penn State!  Penn State’s outstanding faculty in the history of the Civil War Era and the wonderful resources of the Richards Center certainly played a huge role in putting me on this path.

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