Kate McFadden Smith, '09
Kate (McFadden) Smith, ’09, studied history and political science at Muskingum University. During her time at Muskingum, Smith completed an internship in a museum and found that she loved that area of her field. Post-graduation, she took a job as the Assistant Site Manager at the Fort Laurens Museum in Bolivar, Ohio. Shortly afterward, an opportunity to work with the Ohio Historical Society and AmeriCorps came available. In that position, Smith helped to plan “Civil War 150” commemorative events. She explains, “I covered twelve counties in Eastern Ohio and got to work with the leaders in over sixty organizations. …I also helped develop an award-winning program called the “T-County History Patriot Youth Rally” …that brings over 2000 kids each February to the mall for a hands-on encounter with history.”
Smith now works as Director of Spring Hill Historic Home and Museum in Massillon, Ohio, where she has been for about a year and a half.
Smith, who chose Muskingum because of its small size, feels that her experiences on campus have greatly aided her professional life. “Through Student Senate and my involvement with Student Life at Muskingum, I got to work with many different types of people. That has been a great benefit to me in my professional career. No character traits surprise me anymore! You will always be surrounded by those who are supportive, speculative, helpful or a hindrance to what you are trying to accomplish. I was exposed to many different people and experiences at Muskingum and I believe that, as well as additional practice through my previous positions, has helped me learn how to find something positive out of every circumstance.”
Smith is thankful that her coursework was challenging, but she also appreciates the opportunity she had the summer after her freshman year to travel with the history department. A group of students, led by faculty, visited Civil War landmarks, battlegrounds and museums. “There is nothing like seeing [first-hand] the places you talk about every day,” she says.
Smith’s advice to college graduates trying to determine their next step is “Volunteer! Expose yourself to different things and meet lots of people. Creating a network, in any field, is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself.” And, she adds, “Don’t be too proud to do dirty work,” even with a college degree and some experience.