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Learning From the Past

sarah goldberg

Sarah Goldberg ’18 

During her first year at Dickinson, history major Sarah Goldberg ’18 secured a research internship that shone a light on a turbulent week in Dickinson’s history, 35 years after the fact. She talks about that experience, her vision of leadership through combined wisdom, her favorite 70s and 80s movies and the “awesome people” who augment her life.



Clubs and organizations:

College Democrats (secretary), Pi Beta Phi, WDCV (DJ) and Alpha Lambda Delta.


Benjamin Rush Scholarship and Dean’s List.

Favorite book:

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Favorite movie:

Annie Hall or The Breakfast Club.

Favorite place on campus:

The Quarry.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Anything from the Kove.

On choosing a major:

I came to Dickinson thinking that I would major in political science. While I’m still very interested in politics and government, I ultimately saw a history major as a different way to work on the issues I care about. Studying history will prepare me to make effective arguments and develop strong research, critical thinking and writing skills. And if I do end up in the policy world after all, a strong understanding of history will prepare me to advocate for a world that has learned from the mistakes of its past.

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

… Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a professional equestrian! I was totally horse crazy.

On delving into Dickinson’s past:

As an intern, I worked with [Assistant] Professor [of History Emily] Pawley and the Dickinson College Archives to author an exhibit for the Dickinsonia Project, an online museum that preserves the history of the college. My research focused on the anti-Vietnam War protests that rocked Dickinson’s campus in May 1970.

Catalyzed by the fatal shooting of activists at Kent State University, students at Dickinson and across the country began to protest the deaths of their peers and the unpopular war. At Dickinson, the emotional response to Kent State manifested in a week of student strikes, charged meetings and even a sit-in outside of Denny. The week of protest culminated in a march of more than 1,000 students, professors and town residents on the War College in Carlisle.

My research explores the diverse perspectives of the student body during this time on campus, as Dickinsonians of divided views debated political actions that they saw as destined for the history books. Using student essays, alumni interviews, administrative records and student-run media, I used my research to try and tell the story of this week of unprecedented political interest. The exhibit is accompanied by photographs taken by former College Photographer Pierce Bounds ’71, who captured the week of protest as a student.

What drew me to this project:

I wanted to get hands-on experience in historical research. I had the unique opportunity to get to experience every part of the process, working independently and collaborating with others to get the project from initial concept to final product. It was a really wonderful opportunity to practice research and writing, and I loved getting to know more about the history of the college.

What I learned:

I definitely learned major time-management skills. This internship was almost like taking another class—I had to learn how to balance the research with my coursework and how to spread out tasks for the project over the whole semester. Although it was challenging, I also learned that I really enjoy historical research and writing, and I will definitely look for similar opportunities in the future!

Post-Dickinson plans:

My career goals change all the time, but I’d love to work as a museum curator, or maybe behind the scenes in politics. I hope to be able to travel a lot and maybe even live abroad one day.

Most important thing I’ve learned (so far):

I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with people who encourage and support you. From my academic advisors to my roommates to my sorority sisters, I’ve been so lucky to have awesome people in my corner.

Learn more



Published October 30, 2015