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Alex Prizgintas, Marist '22
Alex majored in History with a minor in Hudson River Valley Studies and a concentration in Public History; today he is completing his MPA and delivering history lectures around the region.
What has your career path been to this point?
Upon completion of my undergraduate studies, I returned to Marist for its Master of Public Administration program which I expect to complete by December of 2023. Outside of my graduate work, I am a self-employed musician, featuring music from Bach to Rock n' Roll on the cello, and a lecturer on local history in the Hudson Valley. This year (2022), I have secured more than sixty-five bookings across the Hudson Valley as well as northern New Jersey. I am thankful for all of the support, including that from HRVI, which has allowed me to transform my passions into a vocation. Among the more notable achievement during these past two years are eight articles on the Hudson Valley's rich history that I was able to publish. This past May, one of these articles appeared in HRVI's spring 2022 issue of The Hudson River Valley Review and another article, covering the Gomez Mill House in Marlboro, NY, appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of the New York Archives Magazine.
Can you share an experience/memory from your time at HRVI that stands out as meaningful?
Simply stated, HRVI is the reason why I attended Marist College. As a high school senior in November of 2017, I was invited to lecture on the history of Orange County, New York's dairy farms as seen through milk bottles before the Association of Public Historians of New York State at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. I had already "solidified" my interest in Marist by this point given its placement in the Hudson Valley where much of my interests are focused. However, it was during that conference where I was introduced to Chris Pryslopski and HRVI; I was amazed that the college featured an entire organization in concert with my passion for preserving local history. That same day, I delivered a hard copy of my application to Marist and was accepted as an early decision candidate in December of 2017.
How has your experience at HRVI helped you advance your education and/or professional pursuits since graduating from Marist?
I am most humbled and thankful to HRVI for offering me a platform to share my knowledge in both the popular and academic worlds of history. This was first done through my two peer-reviewed journal articles in The Hudson River Valley Review, published in 2020 and 2022 during my time as an undergraduate student at Marist. The first of these articles discusses the impact of transportation in Orange County's early milk production while the second, a thirty-three-page article, is a comprehensive analysis of the history and products of the Ellenville Glass Works. Additionally, I was fortunate to intern twice with HRVI and, during the second internship, produced a thirty-minute documentary on the impacts of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the Hudson Valley. This was an amazing experience where I was involved in the scriptwriting, cinematography, sound effect, and video editing processes. From filming some of Olmsted's accomplishments in the Hudson Valley to interviewing noted Olmsted and Calvert Vaux authority Dr. Francis R. Kowsky, this was an extraordinary achievement in my path of preserving our local history.
Do you have any advice for future HRVI interns based on your time at HRVI and your experience in your professional field?
For any major at Marist, HRVI is a fascinating lens through which many topics of the Hudson Valley can be brought into focus with one's specific interests. Though the institute is largely connected to the topic of history, the Hudson River Valley was home to many innovations in the fields of environmental science, business administration, economics, political science, and so much more. If you are looking to better define your studies in the region home to Marist College, HRVI is a wonderful place to conduct an internship.
*You can learn more about Alex, read some of his writing, and watch some of his video podcasts at: https://alexprizgintas.com/historian-2/