Laura Parks

I was born a military brat and spent my entire childhood moving from Navy base to Navy base, which is what gave me my initial interest in military history and culture. For my undergraduate degree I went to Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and education in 2006.

Other than one year as the business manager for a bio-medical research company, since college I have taught high school social studies – one year in western North Carolina and two years in Fairfax. Right now I teach standard level and Advanced Placement courses for both 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade U.S. Government, as well as sponsoring the yearbook class. In the past I have also taught World History II and World Geography.

I started the graduate program at GMU in June 2008 and I will hopefully graduate this May with an M.A. in Applied History with an American history concentration. My research interests are the military and social history of mid-20th century American warfare, as well as military history and Marine Corps history in general. My primary area of concentration is World War II, specifically the Marine Corps activities in the Pacific Theater and the effects of the war on the American home front.

Keeping with my interest in USMC history, last summer I was able to work as a curatorial intern in the Uniforms and Heraldry Section at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, and I plan on being back there this summer as well. It was a fantastic experience, because I got to do everything from assisting with the donation of the helmet of the first Marine to win the Medal of Honor in Iraq to helping with the re-installation of the actual Iwo Jima flag pictured in the Rosenthal photograph. I even got to help film a recreation of the Battle of Belleau Wood. After graduation, I plan on teaching for at least one more year, then I would like to get a job in the curatorial division of one of the D.C. area American history museums.

Category: W2: Bio
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