Ashlyn Capello is enhancing her history major with a minor in medieval & early modern studies

Written byAshley McClure-French

“The medieval and early modern studies minor is cross-disciplinary in nature, covering classes in philosophy, humanities, English, history, theatre, arts, music, and others, which makes this minor exactly what I needed.”

Ashlyn Capello
Baton Rouge, La.

Where I'm From

I was inspired by my high school history teacher to become a professor, make a difference, and inspire students of my own.

Where I Am

I am already teaching as a ballroom dance instructor.

Where I'm Going

I am going to promote a passion for history in my students as a professor.

Ashlyn Capello is a historian through and through. 

She is working toward her Bachelor of Arts in History now, but she also plans on staying at UL Lafayette to earn her Master of Arts in History.

“I chose to major in history at UL Lafayette because I eventually aspire to be a professor at the collegiate level,” she said. “I also love to do research and study in general, so this major was perfect for me! 

“Another benefit for me in the history department at UL Lafayette is that it is a place I can complete my master's in history, as well,” she said, “and hopefully I will get to be a teacher’s assistant for a professor I have already formed a relationship with.

“My current hope is that once I have finished my Ph.D., I will be able to give back to this city and university by being a professor at UL Lafayette,” she said.

A Well-Suited Minor

Ashlyn has chosen a minor that pulls in a well-rounded view of her historical specialization. 

“I chose to minor in medieval and early modern studies because the medieval era is what I wish to specialize my history studies in, but I wanted to take medieval and ancient classes that weren’t necessarily offered by the history department,” she said. 

“The medieval and early modern studies minor offered at UL Lafayette is cross-disciplinary in nature, covering classes (in) philosophy, humanities, English, history, theatre, arts, music, and others, which makes this minor exactly what I needed,” she said.

Sharing Local History through Technology

In the Department of History, Geography and Philosophy, Ashlyn has found a strong support system and a place to dig into real-world applications.

“I love that the history program is very involved and hands-on with their major students,” she said. “The department holds weekly meetings to focus on different topics, from grad school applications to discussing the civil rights movement to pizza parties and trivia."

That hands-on experience included traveling throughout Acadiana to discover more about the earliest settlers.

“For my Applied Public History Seminar class (HIST 451), we were exploring historical sites and creating content for an app called Acadiana Historical in the form of summaries and descriptions for historic sites or events,” she explained. 

“This project’s goal is to help the public explore Lafayette and the surrounding Acadian area with the help of the app, which featured a map, pictures and stories of each site,” she said.

“By making history more public and accessible, this work holds importance in preserving the memory of a now-gone era that existed in the same city we do!”

One of those sites is downtown Lafayette’s Sans Souci Art Gallery. It was once a bookstore owned by Edith Garland Dupré, one of UL Lafayette’s first faculty members and the namesake for the campus library. 

“This experience and having to conduct interviews and get my hands dirty in Lafayette's history was extremely valuable for me, as it really cemented in my mind that history is both what I was meant to do and what I want to do for my life,” she said. 

Being Involved on Campus

Even with a lot of focus on history, Ashlyn has found time to develop a skill that she loves while getting teaching experience.

“I am currently an instructor for the Ballroom Dance Club, and this will be my fourth semester being one,” she said. “I love it so much as this experience has given me many opportunities to meet friends and network with people that are not in my major, who otherwise I would not have run into! 

“Being an instructor also allows me to practice my teaching and public speaking skills, while helping my friends learn something I love to do,” she said. “This club has given me many opportunities to participate in leadership events at UL Lafayette and we strive to make appearances and connections with other University organizations.”

Ashlyn loves many aspects of her experience at UL Lafayette, but none more so than the University culture. 

“I have never, not once seen or heard of anyone being unwilling to offer some help or advice to any of their fellow students,” she said. “Making friends is so easy, and I find that most staff at the University go above and beyond to help their students learn class material.

“School-sponsored events at UL Lafayette are superior to any other college I have heard of,” she says. “The University is constantly offering opportunities to get involved, including Lagniappe Day, freshman week, monthly movies in Bayou Bijou, midnight breakfast during finals, the Pardoning of the Crawfish, and Rec Fest!

“I could list so many more, but the goal here is to tell future students: do not be afraid to get involved!” she says. “You wouldn’t expect these experiences to make a difference in your college life, but the memories and friends I have made at these events will stick with me forever.”

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