UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Ever since middle school, Justin Golosky has had an affinity for history. Now, Golosky will make Penn State World Campus history as one of the first graduates of its Bachelor of Arts in History program.
Golosky began his Penn State journey in 2013 at the Worthington campus and then moved to University Park. He said that every time he went home to Scranton, Pennsylvania, he would work at a local restaurant and eventually chose to pause his education to work full-time. After several years, Golosky decided it was time for him to finish his history degree and doing so online was the perfect fit for him.
“I knew I wanted to go back to Penn State, and the fact that World Campus has a history program made the decision much easier for me,” said Golosky, 25.
Golosky re-enrolled at the University through Penn State World Campus for the history program’s first semester in fall 2019 and was able to use his previously earned credits toward his degree.
By balancing work with taking 12 credits a semester, Golosky was able to complete his degree in four semesters and will be one of the program’s first graduates in December for the University’s fall 2020 virtual commencement exercises.
“World Campus is more convenient for me, someone who works full-time,” said Golosky, who continued to work at the restaurant while earning his degree. “The flexibility made it a really positive experience.”
The Bachelor of Arts in History program opened in 2019 and is offered online through Penn State World Campus and the College of the Liberal Arts. The 123-credit curriculum is the same as the degree offered at the University Park campus, and courses are taught by faculty in the college’s Department of History.
Through the course work, students can develop skills in writing, reading, primary and secondary source analysis, chronological reasoning, and understanding complex causality. Students can also choose a focus in United States history, European history, global history, or pre-modern history.
“We faculty in the Penn State history department are extremely happy to congratulate Justin Golosky as one of the first graduates of the program,” said Dr. Thomas Christopher Lawrence, director of online education for the history department. “The primary goal of this online major is to extend the opportunities and benefits of a university education in history to individuals whose lives exist beyond the confines of a traditional, residence learning environment.
“In this sense, Justin’s personal success also represents the fulfillment of this goal for our program. We are very proud of Justin and his accomplishments.”
Golosky said he’s always had an interest in 19th- and 20th-century United States and European history and sees himself eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in the field and becoming a professor.
He said that finally finishing his degree will be a weight off his shoulders.
“I was a bit nervous to return after not being in school for several years, but I have adjusted and I’m taking things one step at a time,” said Golosky, who said his adviser, Deborah Bauman, and professor Dr. Jill Jensen supported him along the way.
“I'm definitely looking forward to the fact that I will be finished with my degree.”