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Sudent Success - Christie Olek

  • How modern education yielded medieval knowledge.

    We caught up with Christie Olek, B.A. in History 2015, to see what she’s been up since graduating from Saint Francis University.

    Christie OlekWhat have you been up to since graduation?

    I moved to Manhattan to pursue an M.A. in Medieval Studies at Fordham University. My first year in the program, I received a Medieval Studies Research assistantship. During this Research Assistantship, I proofread transcriptions of several medieval bibles in order to build paleographical skills. I was also recently awarded a GSAS Summer Graduate Assistantship within the Medieval Studies Department. In addition to my coursework. I also work as a Graduate Assistant for Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

    How did you discover medieval history?

    With the help of Dr. Lori Woods, I was able to combine my love for studying medicine with a passion history. While still at SFU, Dr. Woods guided me through an archival research project where I analyzed the records from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania—the first school in the world to offer the M.D. to women. As I progressed through this project, I studied abroad in Italy and my research interests evolved. As a result, following my graduation from SFU, I shifted my research focus to medieval history and social history of medicine.Midieval

    How did your major prepare you for what you do now and where you hope to be in the future?

    I truly believe that my career as a medieval historian of medicine would not have been possible without the preparation I received at SFU. We have a top-notch history department of very talented professors who were able to help me be able to combine my interest in medicine with a passion for history. I would like to personally thank the SFU history department for providing me with superior training. More than that, my sincerest thanks to Dr. Lori Woods and Dr. Denise Damico for continuing to mentor me long after graduation. Their kindness, support, and willingness to teach me their craft continues to inspire me in graduate school.

    What advice would you give to a 17-year old considering a career in your field?

    I would encourage every prospective college student to consider studying the humanities. These subjects are important because they teach you how to think critically, an essential skill no matter your career. I received terrific academic training at Saint Francis in a nurturing and supportive environment. At SFU, I developed a dream to become a history professor. And now, I’m building on the outstanding training that I received at SFU to work towards accomplishing that goal. Every day, I am proud to be an SFU graduate.