Christina Ritter, Marist ‘14
Majored in Psychology/Special Education, with a Minor Hudson Valley Regional Studies, and a Concentration Public History. She also holds a MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security.
What has your career path been to this point?
I am currently a 4th grade teacher in Arlington Central School District. I like to think that my background in Hudson River Valley studies led me to this specific position, as the 4th grade curriculum is strongly tied to New York State history, specifically the American Revolution. Prior to my current position, I worked in education in a number of capacities.
Can you share an experience/memory from your time at HRVI that stands out as meaningful?
I worked with HRVI throughout my entire time at Marist. I came to Marist in Spring 2011, after transferring from NYU, and almost immediately found my place at HRVI. I distinctly remember being a student in Colonel Johnson's Military History class, and pointing out an obscure aspect of a battle-- when Colonel pulled me aside and told me about an internship I may be interested in. From that moment forward, I found a niche at Marist that I didn't know I needed. Andy, Chris, Jason, and Colonel were a team that worked, with humor and wit, to find avenues for me to develop my interests, demonstrate my talents, and expand my college experiences beyond the Marist classroom. I have a few moments in particular that stand out for me: first and foremost, my first published written work in The Hudson River Valley Review. I had an idea of something I wanted to research based on a visit to West Point, and casually ran it by the team; division in USMA during the Civil War, and a congressional debate surrounding the academy. Almost before I could get the words out, I was given a deadline, research time at the USMA archives, and encouragement and validation that served to motivate me throughout the publication process and beyond. As an intern, I was published twice, received the Barnabas McHenry Award in Historic Preservation, attended workshops with Teaching the Hudson Valley, where I was later a featured presenter, attended a number of events and presentations, and developed friendships and connections that carry on to this day.
How has your experience at HRVI helped you advance your education and/or professional pursuits since graduating from Marist?
I credit my experience at HRVI with helping me not only develop my professional interests, research and writing skills, and networking experiences, but I attribute my ability to stand out in a sea of potential candidates to the unique experiences I was given through HRVI. I have been on countless successful interviews, for both careers and graduate schools, and some of the first questions I receive are always about my publication credits, unique minor, workshop participation, etc. By finding my place at HRVI, in the exciting and overwhelming sea of college-based opportunities, I forged an identity as a student and professional that helped me distinguish myself long after graduation, and gave me a confidence in myself and my work that I may not have otherwise found.
As HRVI celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022, do you have any advice for future HRVI interns based on your time at HRVI and your experience in your professional field?
Never be afraid to throw an idea out there and see if it sticks! So many times, I was afraid to share an idea that may not have been fully developed, or that I was excited about but not totally confident in, but the support I received at HRVI helped me overcome those insecurities and sometimes turn the smallest inspiration into the greatest product.