Jesseb Adam M’24 shares knowledge from master's program with Colorado students

Graduates of the Gettysburg College-Gilder Lehrman Institute (GLI) M.A. program receive Stoles of Gratitude
Graduates of the Gettysburg College-Gilder Lehrman Institute (GLI) M.A. program receive Stoles of Gratitude at their Commencement ceremony

Jesseb Adam M’24 is passionate about bringing history to life and helping high school and college students understand how decisions America’s leaders make ripple throughout the years.

As a lifelong learner, the Sterling, Colorado, social studies teacher consistently looks to grow his own enduring skills, and this past fall, he completed his master’s in American history from the Gettysburg College-Gilder Lehrman Institute (GLI) M.A. program. Adam took courses on the American West and World War I, focusing his research on Sterling, Colorado, where he teaches American history, from 1877 to present day, as an adjunct professor at Northeastern Junior College.

Jesseb Adam M’24
Jesseb Adam M’24

Sharing his research with his students, he helped them connect to their lessons through a field trip to Sterling’s town square, where settlers came during the 1849 Gold Rush and built a flourishing town to connect to the rest of America. He showed them what occurred there during the 1800s and World War I and how it related to the overall expansion of the West.

“We really were shaping ourselves as a community by World War I,” Adam said. “That was really phenomenal for me to pass along that knowledge to my students.”

One of his master’s classes, titled The 1960s in Historical Perspective, taught by Prof. Michael Flamm of Ohio Wesleyan University and Prof. Michael Kazin of Georgetown University, also better prepared Adam to answer tough questions from his students, such as about presidential elections and deportation.

“That class was an eye-opener for me,” Adam said. “It really helped shape the foundation of where a lot of those political strains come from.”

As Adam continues to strive for excellence in his own classroom, he reflects on the quality of the educators who led his Gettysburg College-GLI M.A. program classes. The program pairs a distinguished professor from the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s network of scholars with section professors who guide day-to-day coursework and communication.

“Having that combination was one of the things that really drew me into the program,” he said. “Anyone who has been in the classroom knows you are often sacrificing one thing to benefit the other.”

The professors’ credentials enhance the program’s value, Adam added. He was especially enthusiastic about learning from Prof. Barbara A. Perry, a senior fellow in and co-chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia, where she directs the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project. Perry has conducted more than 140 interviews for the George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama Presidential Oral History Projects and participated in the Bill Clinton interviews.

“That put me one step away from the person who had the reins of power whom I am talking about in my classroom,” Adam said.

Since earning his degree, Adam is still benefiting from the Gettysburg College-GLI M.A. program, which has allowed him to take his passion for accurately sharing American history to new heights. He is currently working to expand his thesis, and former professors are still willing to provide feedback. Regular conversations with fellow students also help him increase the quality of the lessons he presents to his students, much like the program’s classes. He hopes to inspire his students to develop a lifelong appreciation for history and connect its relevancy to every discipline.

“We often don’t stop to answer the question of whether we should do something and why we are doing something,” Adam said. “Studying history, political science, and philosophy helps us process through the decision-making. I want to make sure we have a batch of humans who can go out into the world and understand what is happening around them and be able to question what people are telling them.”

By Alex J. Hayes
Photo courtesy of Jesseb Adam M’24
Posted: 07/10/24

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