Anita Leonard

I have completed all of my courses for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Comparative Literature and Linguistics at San Jose State University in California. That is where I heard about the DH Certificate at GMU when Dr. Katherine D. Harris invited graduates to explore this opportunity. Thus, Digital Humanities is a new field for me, with which I am becoming more comfortable and growing increasingly curious about.

Currently I teach junior and senior high school AP English. Since Literature cannot be taught without historical, social, and cultural context, I am constantly examining local, public, personal, or political histories. One of my favorite experiences when I was teaching middle school was the annual Washington DC trip and the students’ discussions, projects, and writings following the event. Therefore, I am interested in public digital history from this perspective. I would like to learn about this field to be able to use my teaching experiences, literary background, and historical interests to create DH projects or collaborate in projects for museums, archives or create projects for schools with student involvement. Since I was born and raised in Hungary, a project involving my home country is always in the back of my mind.

The previous DH courses not only helped me understand this developing field, but also intrigued me with its wide reaching possibilities. Having completed a prototype project in public history, I feel more competent in embarking on other tasks. My project, Pilot’s Log at Mesa del Rey, enabled me with skills in research and technology, but more importantly infused me with the awareness of hidden public and local histories that are waiting to be told. I have collaborated with the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California as a teacher developing lessons/projects and creating writing contests for students and I am planning on further engaging students and visitors with the museum. One of the ongoing discussions I have had with the Center’s director since I began the DH Certificate program is developing a walking tour based on Steinbeck’s East of Eden, which I also read with some of my high school students. I look forward to broadening my perspective on the field of DH in this course to develop more projects.


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