Biography: Dr. Andrea Arrington received her bachelor’s degree in history at Knox College. She continued on to study African history at the master’s level at Emory University before getting her Ph.D. in history. Her areas of study include African history, African studies, Women’s/Gender studies, Atlantic world, and public health.
Q: Why do you study history?
A: I guess I like people’s stories, and I like seeing the overlap and seeing the differences. I like trying to make sense of what’s happened and where we’re going.
Q: Can you tell me about the lecture series you’re doing on climate change refugees?
A: Last semester, I co-taught an Honors class called Humanitarian Crises Responses with Dr. Isaac Land. We had these conversations about what’s happening in the world and humanitarian crises always came up, so we said that we should teach a class on it. It was our first time to teach it, and we wanted students to get a sense of more information about the people we see in the headlines having to do with famine driving refugees from their homes, and civil wars displacing people. We wanted them to think about these crises that are both man made and naturally made by climate change as well as how people respond to that. The folks in the Honors College who helped run the series heard about our class and asked if we would talk.
Q: What is your favorite place to be on campus?
A: I like my office. I would like to say it’s to read and write here, but it’s really because students and colleagues will pop by and say hi. I sometimes tuck myself away in the library and kind of hide when I actually need to get work done, though.
Q: Favorite Book?
A: Doctors by Erich Segal; it’s a really long, kind of interwoven story of three friends who went to med school together, and it’s historical fiction.
Q: Favorite ISU tradition?
A: I don’t know if it counts as a tradition, but I really love the fountain. I love how people will take their kids and let them run through it on warmer days: it warms my heart.
Q: Favorite class to teach?
A: I taught a public health class in Africa that I really liked. I’m really lucky, because I get to teach what I want to teach in terms of African studies as well as other things. I really just like all my classes, because I kind of get to just teach what I like.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: My dad. He was my high school history teacher. He works hard and he’s really smart; when he was teaching, he just drew people in. Every time I’m home and we’re out together, we’ll run into some old student of his who will tell him that he changed their life.
Q: What is the most frustrating thing that you see students do?
A: I think that students underestimate how much work they need to do in order to do a good job, but conversely, I think that if they just put a little bit of effort in, they’d do a good job. I think that today’s students: particularly ones that are at ISU juggling different jobs, extracurriculars, and other things tend to forget about the school aspect of college. I certainly understand paying bills and taking care of your family, but especially if you’re in your younger twenties, I think that college is a great time to explore different topics that you’re interested in learning about. I really wish that more students would understand that.