Graduate Student Profile

Mike Burke

Mike Burke blurred shadow drop
Mike Burke
Mike Burke

Pace, Florida

College:

College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program:

History MA

Research Focus:

UCF Veterans Legacy Program memorializing Florida veterans.


A typical historian might analyze 10 or 15 textbooks for their research.  UCF graduate student Mike Burke, however, is able to look at nearly 500 textbooks by using programmatic methods.  This enables him to gather a large amount of data, which he uses to study the memory of the American Civil War, specifically the Lost Cause and the current discussions about Confederate monuments in Savannah, Georgia, and Pensacola, Florida. Burke’s research also involves the UCF Veterans Legacy Program, an initiative funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs through the National Cemetery Administration. The group’s goals are to memorialize Florida veterans buried in national cemeteries by writing biographies for them and providing K-12 learning material about veterans.

A 2015 UCF History BA graduate, Burke chose to pursue a graduate degree at UCF “because of the friendly and helpful community the History department fostered,” as well as the funding opportunities that UCF provided.  These reasons remain a large part of what Burke enjoys about his program – the open and collaborative environment that allows students to ask for help with questions about research or internships, and the help that can be found when searching for funding for research or a conference.  In particular, Burke has praises for his advisor, Barbara Gannon, PhD.  Dr. Gannon, Burke says, “has always gone out of her way to help me find materials, make it to conferences, and find opportunities to better myself as a historian.  She’s been available both as an academic advisor and as a life advisor, being open to talking about problems beyond my studies.”

Dr. Gannon, Burke says, “has always gone out of her way to help me find materials, make it to conferences, and find opportunities to better myself as a historian.  She’s been available both as an academic advisor and as a life advisor, being open to talking about problems beyond my studies.”

Although Burke enjoys his program, he acknowledges that graduate school can be a difficult life adjustment. To his fellow graduate students, Burke recommends spending time off campus with others to release stress and forge meaningful friendships. He also advises that working with faculty and other departments can set you apart from your competition. After graduating this spring, Burke wants to move forward in the GIS field or work at UCF in some capacity, and is considering pursuing a PhD.

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