Careers and History


Lily Fedler graduated with her BS in History in May 2023 and, like over a third of ISU History graduates, is pursuing a career in business. Having interned at Midwest-based restaurant and hotel operator Heart of America Corporation, she was hired as Assistant to the CEO as soon as she graduated.

Looking back on her time in our History program in light of her work experience, Lily has found writing to be the most important skill she learned in her History classes. For hers, as for so many careers, “communicating clearly and effectively is at the heart of what we do.” Among her many duties are crafting letters and emails to government officials, business contacts, and colleagues, as well as representing the corporation at public events.

Lily also found her experience in research-oriented courses important. She currently researches markets, competition, and diversification strategies as Heart of America considers expansion. She finds adapting to change, one of the key skills History teaches, useful in her work. Lily is anticipating many changes as her career progresses and therefore sees a historical perspective as useful for her current work and as she contemplates her future.

Ultimately, Lily would like to open an animation and videogaming studio for which the combination of an MA in History and an MBA would enhance her business expertise and her storytelling abilities. History is valuable here because it is creative, for there is creativity in deciding what research questions to ask and how to pursue them.

Looking back, Lily tells us the best classes taught her the tools she needed and allowed her to apply them with minimal guidance. She found this most clearly in the Historians Toolbox (HIST 301), the capstone seminar (HIST 495), and an independent study on the history of entrepreneurship. She also found the narrative approaches in Early Modern England (HIST 325) and French Revolution (HIST 420) useful in shaping her sense of her future.

For current and future History majors she recommends looking for ways to apply the skills you are practicing in your History courses. She says, “If there is no obvious path from a History degree to a particular job, let’s say in business, then sell your skills, show a prospective employer that history is a way of thinking about and interpreting information with wide applicability.” Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us, Lily!