Adam Pinkerton Photo

Social studies teacher becomes student in online history program


Erica May

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Adam Pinkerton has a few titles: father, high school teacher and, soon, master’s graduate.

Pinkerton has been an online student in the history master’s program in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. This May, the Fortuna, California, native will be receiving his master’s in history where he specialized in North American history. During his time with SHPRS, he was also able to delve into subjects such as genealogy, African-American history, the 1960s, women in modern America and global migration.

“I can't recommend this program enough,” Pinkerton said. “Courses consisted of a challenging reading list, discussion boards where complex questions were analyzed and respectfully argued among students and usually a historiography to compare how historians have explored a certain area of history.”

Pinkerton shared a little bit about his online experience with ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I realized that I wanted to study history as an undergraduate political science major. As I took classes on contemporary world issues, I was intrigued to learn more about the background information that created the world in which we live. This led to my double major in history and political science as an undergraduate. As I studied history, I became increasingly curious about U.S. history in particular. Once I became a high school social studies teacher, I was constantly looking for new resources to incorporate into my curriculum. The opportunity to earn a master’s degree in history while continuing to work was too good to pass up.

Q: What’s something you learned during your time with ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: I have been surprised by the number of fields of history that exist and how they can each reach different causations in history. For example, my Historical Methods course was very interesting in exploring the fields of Marxism, New Historicism, nationalism, ethnicity, gender and environmentalism. These new perspectives have given me a greater appreciation for my field of study. Each ASU course has added an incredible amount of information that I have been able to incorporate into my lessons.  

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: I have always wanted to continue my education after earning a bachelor's. The online ASU program provides an amazing opportunity to study under top-notch faculty.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school? 

A: Reach out to your professors if you have any questions or concerns. They are wonderful and provide sound advice.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I am going to continue teaching at my high school and hope to begin teaching history courses at a junior college.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle? 

A: Child poverty.