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150 Years Later, the Civil War Is Keeping This Alum Busy

By Jason Jacks on May 18, 2011

Nicole Osier

How many employees can say a war fought 150 years ago is just now adding to their workload? Well, for one, Nicole Osier, MA History ’09, can.

Osier is the senior manager of Education Programs at the Civil War Trust. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization strives to protect the massive amount of history that is the Civil War, particularly, the many battlefields where the war played out.

For Osier, her job is to educate educators on how to teach their students about the Civil War. Part of her work consists of studying the events of the war to develop curriculum for teachers.

She recently helped develop teaching aids, including an interactive map on the Trust’s website (she’s become quite web-savvy since taking the job three years ago), regarding the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Her office is now ramping up for the anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, in July.

“The new curriculum keeps coming as big events take place,” Osier says, adding the Trust’s website has been swamped with visitors since Civil War sesquicentennial events started to near.

A former teacher herself, Osier enrolled in Mason in the mid-2000s to work on her master’s degree. And while she admits the War Between the States was not her focus at Mason, her says the research skills she acquired in grad school have certainly been coming in handy.

“I never studied the Civil War,” she says. “So everything I learned about it, I learned on the job. But at Mason, I learned a great deal about research…It was a fantastic school to go to!”

Part of that research, according to Osier, who is contemplating returning to Mason to study digital history, is visiting battlefields, where she takes teachers on tours. And when walking the grounds at places like Gettysburg or Fredericksburg, this professional history buff says the same thought still keeps popping in her head: “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!”

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