Bay College history major Hunter Anderson was not always interested in his current field of study, but a coincidental discovery sparked his fascination with the past. Right now, he is preparing for a career as a history professor by taking classes and joining student clubs at Bay.
While Hunter grew up in Ohio, his family moved to Escanaba in 2018 to be closer to relatives in the area. At that point, he had just completed his freshman year in high school.
Shortly after transferring to Escanaba Senior High School, Hunter learned about the school’s early college program. The program allows high school students to take Bay courses before graduating, giving them a head start on their college education. According to Hunter, signing up for this initiative turned out to be an excellent decision.
“It saved me so much money – I can’t see why I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said.
After earning some college credits during his time in high school, Hunter started studying at Bay full-time in the fall 2021 semester. At Bay, he is pursuing an associate degree in history.
“In eighth grade, I wasn’t the best student – I was kind of rebellious and didn’t care what my teachers said. But the summer after eighth grade, I found these online videos about history. My interest just kept growing and growing after that. By my freshman year, I already knew most of what we learned about in my world history class,” he said.
Going to Bay allowed Hunter to expand his thinking and study parts of history he had not focused on previously.
“Moving to college-level classes really helped me learn a lot – especially at Bay, since Dr. Klees is such a good teacher,” Hunter said.
Along with his history classes, Hunter has taken some courses in other subjects to meet his general education requirements. However, he said these classes have been far from a waste of time.
“I think each of the professors have their own unique ways of looking at their field. While I’m majoring in history, I appreciate expanding my horizons in my other classes,” he said.
In addition to his classes, Hunter is involved with some extracurricular organizations at Bay. That includes the college’s Aspiring Educators of Michigan chapter, where he serves as co-president.
“To make a long story short, Aspiring Educators is a place for people who want to go into the education field. We talk about teaching experience and have our own projects, as well,” he said.
Hunter is also a member of the Civics Corps, an organization closely linked to Aspiring Educators. He said this group has given him a chance to put his passion for history to good use.
“It involves a lot of public history work – we’ll spend time working with public organizations and the community in general. Our goal is to help these organizations learn about their past or use history to solve problems,” he said.
One organization the Civics Corps has supported is Tri-County Safe Harbor, an Escanaba-based shelter for domestic and sexual violence victims.
“We were able to reform their historical narrative – that is, the story of their establishment. We did interviews and research on our own, and we hammered down the best way to present that story. They were able to use that a lot, including in an application for financial assistance,” Hunter said.
According to Hunter, the Civics Corps has also organized a pair of “intergenerational dialogue” events and plans to hold more in the future.
“We gathered panels of people in different age groups and set a topic, such as music or civil rights in education. Their discussions have helped us piece together our own understanding of these subjects,” he said.
Hunter said his current goal is to graduate from Bay by the end of the winter 2023 semester.
“My plan is to transfer to the University of Michigan, because my sister was able to go there. If that doesn’t pan out for some reason, I’ll probably go to Northern Michigan University or another university with a strong history program,” he said.
Once he earns his bachelor’s degree, Hunter hopes to start working towards his master’s degree as soon as possible. After completing his formal education, he aims to begin working in the field.
“I’m hoping to find a decent job that can help me get started as a history professor. Even if it’s not the most ideal position, I’d just like to further that goal,” he said.
No matter what happens, Hunter said Bay will always play a prominent role in his personal history.
“My time at Bay has been great. The courses have been fun, and the services they offer are excellent – especially for a community college in the Upper Peninsula,” he said.