Lander University senior Gemma Perez doesn’t mince words when asked why she became a history secondary education major.
“I wanted to share my love of history, tell people about it, and encourage people to appreciate it. And teaching is the perfect way to do that,” she says.
Perez, a resident of Simpsonville, is doing her student teaching at Greenwood High School. She prefers teaching at the high school level, she says, “because you can get into more details and reach more complicated concepts.”
She disputes the notion that history is “just a bunch of random facts to memorize. It is a story to be told and listened to, and to learn from,” she said.
Perez has been active in campus activities during her time at Lander, serving as public relations chair for the History Club, as the College of Behavioral and Social Science’s Student Government Association representative, and as secretary and vice president of the Political Science Association.
Academically, she has achieved at a high level, receiving the Dr. John Marvin Rast Scholarship, awarded by the Department of History and Philosophy, and also the Mildred W. Green Education Scholarship. The only semester she didn’t make the president’s honor roll, she made the dean’s list.
Perez credited Lander’s history faculty with nurturing her love of history, especially Associate Professor of History Dr. Franklin Rausch and Professor of History Dr. William Ramsey.
“Dr. Rausch and Dr. Ramsey have taught me so much in the four years I’ve been at Lander, and I’m so grateful to have had them for multiple classes,” she said.
Rausch used words like “hard-working,” “diligent” and “thoughtful” to describe Perez. “She always had something insightful to add to our discussions,” he said.
Ramsey called her “one of my best and most talented students over the last few years. One of the things that makes her really unique, in my view, is her ability to see historical connections beyond our classroom content and pursue those insights independently.”
He expressed confidence that Perez “will be one of our most successful alumni down the road and add luster to our reputation.”