David Pietrusza, B.A. ’71, M.A. ’72, Author and Historian
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Being a writer, the finding of projects, especially in terms of books; it’s extremely difficult to come up with a concept. You can place a lot of development time with projects that don’t go anywhere because they either fall their own way or don’t gain publisher interest. It is both difficult and frustrating; there is a lot of down time. The good part is that along the way you learn a lot of information. When you’re a historian you have to know a lot, which will come in handy years later.
How did your time at UAlbany prepare you for your career?
I have two degrees in history, and it exposed me to an awful lot of great material and how everything is connected. For instance, I read a book in graduate school by David Hacket Fisher, and a couple of years ago I ended up at a talk at the university by David Hacket Fisher. He autographed it, and now I was able to reference it for a project. It shows that nothing goes to waste. In many direct and indirect ways, SUNY assisted.
Who was your favorite faculty member or what was your favorite class at UAlbany and why?
Harry Price. He taught the history of New York State. He was a remarkable teacher and also taught American History (20th century), which is my favorite subject and specialty. Harry did a great job of being a teacher and taught you the importance of knowing every little detail; there’s a great benefit to knowing that and taking material and facts seriously.
What advice would you give current students?
Never give up. What you have studied for may not originally come to pass in your career path, but you can make it work or you can make other things work. When you graduate and the business world or government doesn’t welcome you with open arms like you’re the person they’re waiting for, keep persevering. It seems like every generation comes out at a bad time. Keep plugging away; that’s the best advice for your entire life. You’re closer than you think most of the time.