For David Cooney ’20, studying history at Utica College “allows me to do what I love,” he says. After spending nearly six years in the U.S. Army, Cooney decided to pursue his passion for history at UC, where he discovered a close-knit community of fellow history lovers—and more:
Why UC: I graduated from high school in 2010 and joined the Army. I did tours in Iraq and Korea. When I got home, I knew it was time to get an education. Two of my cousins are UC alums, and they received a great education here. I wanted that same experience.
Major Decisions: I’ve always been drawn to history. It’s the story of how we got here. The big events and the little events tell a story, and it’s a historian’s job to decipher those events and ask why. I like that UC’s history program is small enough that I know everyone, and we have great professors that communicate with us. I was out of school for six years, and it could have been a tough transition going back, but the professors here made it easy.
"I was out of school for six years, and it could have been a tough transition going back, but the professors here made it easy."
A Two-Way Street: My experience in the history program has outdone any expectation I had. With our professors, it’s not just a one-way street. They create a two-way street where we can come to them with questions about their class and other classes. I’ll sit with Professor [Sherri] Cash or Professor [David] Wittner and talk about my research. That’s something I probably wouldn’t find at a bigger school.
Research “Curveballs”: At UC, I’ve had the opportunity to do my own research into the Revolutionary War and southern history and culture. Professor Cash is always encouraging us to pursue our research interests and go in whatever direction that research takes you. That’s actually where my military background comes into play; it helps me think more critically and see the bigger picture. In the Army, I constantly had think on my toes. You have to account for anything and everything. I’ve learned that you have to adapt your research when you get a curveball.
What’s Next: My goal is to be the curator of a museum. I want to tell the stories of history and, ultimately, teach people how to appreciate it more. You may think it’s boring and dull, but if you don’t know your history, you’re bound to repeat it.
Learn more about Utica College's history program here.