Asia Parker, a First-Generation Magnolia Scholar from Fort Lauderdale, FL, knew by the time she matriculated to Wake Forest that she had a passion for history.
“I took AP American, World and British History in high school and knew before coming to Wake that I had a passion for history, as my strengths lie in my reading and writing skills. It made sense for me to continue,” Parker said.
Though she knew by the time that she arrived in Winston-Salem that she enjoyed studying history, she did not immediately know that she would eventually major in the subject. However, it did not take long for her to understand the scope of her adoration.
“I did not necessarily expect history to be my major but as soon as I took my first class freshman year, it felt right and made sense to me so I knew freshman year I would [eventually] declare history.”
The consequential first class that Parker took in the history department her freshman year resulted in many others and a very successful undergraduate career as a history student at Wake Forest.
The history department’s faculty has played a major role in stoking the flames of Parker’s love for the subject. Take, for example, Professor John Ruddiman, who has been a huge inspiration for Parker.
As Parker explains, “I wrote my thesis on the Revolutionary Wars of America with [Ruddiman] and also took two of his American history classes. He taught me how to really engage with primary sources in ways I hadn’t thought of before and has really helped me grow as a student.”
Dr. Robert Hellyer has also played an extremely supportive and influential role in Parker’s academic career at Wake Forest.
“I have also found [Hellyer’s] classes to be really engaging. He made Asia and the World really interesting for me and he is very knowledgeable on the subject,” Parker said.
Parker is quick to note the value of the broad curriculum required by the history department in order to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“I love the variety of classes needed to fulfill the major,” Parker added.
Though Parker has enjoyed a great academic record in the history department, success has not always come easily.
“I think having to write a thesis was a hard requirement and certainly a hard task,” she noted. Despite the difficulty of the thesis requirement, she is thankful for its inclusion, explaining that “it did help me grow as a student.”
Overall, Parker boasts that she doesn’t have any critiques of the history department.
This final semester, Parker did not take any history classes. Instead, she spent her time completing divisional classes. She laments, “I was surprised at how much I really missed taking history classes and honestly wished I snagged one last one in there.”
Parker is not only a History major, she is also a Middle East and South Asian studies minor. She is also the captain of the equestrian team and a member of the Judicial council. Surely, this major and minor combination, along with campus leadership roles, makes her a very desirable applicant to jobs and graduate schools. She plans to utilize her Wake Forest undergraduate education to catapult herself into law school. First, though, she will enjoy a gap year to work and travel.