Brigette Kamsler '07 - History

Brigette Kamsler '07 - History

Now the United States archivist at HSBC, Brigette Kamsler graduated from Millersville in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. During her time here, Kamsler worked in the special collections department of the library, where she realized that she wanted to work in archives for her career. Some of the skills she learned in the History department, namely researching an event and placing it within an historical context, have been useful to her when she examines older documents. Kamsler was also the President of the MU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. Her honors thesis focused on St. Brigit and other Celtic saints; for Kamsler, researching and defending this thesis was “a very rewarding experience.” Reflecting on her time as a professional archivist, she said, “it has been an amazing career and I’m glad I started it at Millersville!” 


What made you decide to come to Millersville University?
I’m from Gettysburg so it’s not that far from Millersville. It just seemed like a well-rounded place and I loved the campus.

What was one of your biggest accomplishments during your time at Millersville?
Two things come to mind. When I was a sophomore, I took a job in the archives and special collections which led me to where I am now. When I think of the History department, it would be doing my honors thesis and defending it in front of three people, which was a very rewarding experience.

What led to you writing your thesis on female Celtic saints?
I had taken a European history course with Dr. Thornton, who has since retired, but I had written a paper on St. Brigit, who I had always been interested in because of Irish history and the similarity in our names. When I was thinking about my senior paper, Dr. Thornton advised me to do a departmental honors thesis so that I had a full year to go in-depth with St. Brigit and two other saints, along with how their cults came about. 

How have the skills you learned in Millersville’s History program helped your career as an archivist?
One of the main ways is how I was able to do research, especially citing sources correctly. An early course that helped was the Craft of History, because you would look at an event in history and then how it had been portrayed over an extended period of time. As an archivist, the sources I examine could be from a year ago or 500 years ago! Those lessons of looking at history have been really useful.

Overall, how did Millersville get you to where you are today?
If it wasn’t for Millersville, I don’t know where I’d be! I got my job as an archivist at the library because some of my friends also worked there, and I quickly realized I could do this for the rest of my life because I am applying and working with history, rather than simply reading about it. It has been an amazing career and I’m glad I started it at Millersville!

Why should students come to Millersville to study History?
They will have so many different courses from which they can choose, and they can learn whatever aspect of history that interests them, whether they have a specific or broad topic. You will really get to know the faculty and there are so many extracurricular activities that give you a space to figure out your focus.