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Where History Meets Service

Tyler Hanson, in front of Old West

Tyler Hanson ’16 


As a kid, Tyler Hanson ’16 wanted to major in four subjects so he could have a broad base of knowledge to tap in his job as a professional author. He's since narrowed it down to one major, history, but he still indulges other interests, particularly music. Tyler discusses his favorite figure in history, why he believes every student should give service trips a try, the First-Year Seminar that made all the difference and the friendly interactions that inspired him to come to Dickinson.


History (education minor).

Clubs and organizations:

Resident Advisor, College Choir, Collegium, Tritons, Music Society and service trips.


John Montgomery Scholarship, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta.

Favorite book:

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

Favorite movie:

I work at a movie theater; I have too many favorites to count.

Favorite class:

My favorite class so far has been History 204: Introduction to Historical Methodology with [Assistant] Professor [of History Emily] Pawley. It is a required course for all history majors, and it was really fascinating, because I had never been in a room where there was such love of and knowledge for history, and where discussions could be so intriguing. We also got to go work with the archives, and Professor Pawley assigned us some of the most bizarre yet fascinating readings I have had at Dickinson.

Favorite place on campus:

The bench facing Bosler Hall, on the Academic Quad.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Grilled cheese—a Dickinson classic.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… an author, after quadruple majoring in college, of course. I wanted to have the best source base possible. I don’t think I understood the concept of majoring.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I hope to become a secondary-education history teacher somewhere and inspire my students to fall in love with the subject, as I have. Or, at the very least, I want to teach them important skills and mindsets that will permeate their lives after high school. Maybe eventually, after some time teaching high school, I will become a professor.

About my service trip:

I went on a service trip to South Carolina this past spring break [to volunteer through] Habitat for Humanity. It was a blast, and I highly recommend that all students look into applying for a service trip. You get to meet some really awesome and actively engaged students, represent Dickinson in a community far from campus and help those who are less fortunate.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

I believe my writing has improved dramatically since I came to Dickinson. My First-Year Seminar instructor, Professor [of Music Blake] Wilson, really pushed me to improve. The faculty members and Writing Center have been supportive, and I am no longer terrified of papers.

About my internship:

I interned at FEi Systems, in Columbia, Md. I worked at a help desk. I was able to improve my communication skills, and since many of the people I spoke with knew limited English—their native languages included Spanish, Russian and Chinese—I learned how to work around language barriers.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

... Akbar the Great, a 16th-century ruler of the Mughal Empire in India and my favorite person from history.

Biggest influence:

My dad. Besides giving me my taste in music and my love of sports, he has been a huge support for me throughout my life. Some of my favorite days are when he and I can go onto the golf course together—often with my grandfather too—and just relax. 

On choosing Dickinson:

I knew I wanted a small, liberal-arts college that had really good history and music programs. Dickinson College kept coming up on college-search websites. After several trips to campus, I made my decision after seeing people [interact in the HUB,] by the cushies. 

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Published May 19, 2016