FIYou: Rebecca Friedman

Name: Rebecca Friedman

Hometown: Lawrenceville, N.J.

Job Title/Department: Associate Professor of History/Director of European Union Center of Excellence/Director of European Studies.

Campus: Modesto A. Maidique Campus

In a nutshell: I am lucky because my job is never dull. It has three components: research (reading historical texts and writing about them), teaching history and running two European programs/centers. Each of these parts involves different, yet overlapping skills and challenges. I really like them all.

Number of years at FIU: More than 10.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Probably the diversity of tasks. It is very satisfying to spark a lively discussion among graduate students about the history of childhood. It is equally as fulfilling as reading Russian lifestyle magazines from the 1920s (my current project is about Russian domestic interiors – what homes looked like and how people thought about them) or putting together an exciting conference or speaker series on the EU. So, in fact, it’s all my favorite.

What do you think students and your fellow faculty/staff should know about your department?

The History Department is a vibrant, positive intellectual community of researchers and teachers. I urge all undergraduates to consider majoring in history: We will teach you not only about the past, but also about how to be critical and analytical thinkers and communicators in the present. I am happy to have a home there.

As for the European Union Center, we do an amazing job at teaching about the EU and reaching out to our community. We have an extensive program with the high schools in Miami-Dade and surrounding counties (the Euro Challenge). We collaborate with both the diplomatic and the business communities and we offer a wide variety of courses and events to our students at FIU. Come visit us in the new SIPA building.

Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

My new office in the SIPA building (SIPA 507). Why? It has four windows.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about FIU?

That we manage to do so much, so well. We are a serious research, doctoral training institution, we host prominent scholars all the time and we also manage to cast a wide net in our interactions with the community.

How is FIU “Worlds Ahead”?

Well, what I am most proud of is how FIU is committed to doing excellent research as well as community outreach. We are able to give so many first-generation college students and first- or second-generation Americans an excellent education at all levels.

Family snapshot:

Jon Mogul, my husband, also works for FIU, at The Wolfsonian-FIU on South Beach. Simon is our eldest in 5th grade, Joseph is in 4th grade and Iris is just about 4 years old.

Word that best describes you: Loyal.

First paying job: Scooping ice cream at Thomas Sweets in Princeton, N.J. I babysat before that, but never liked it and was bad at it (don’t tell my kids).

Favorite TV show: The Wire.

What is playing on your iPod?

Bob Dylan.

Your proudest accomplishment:

At the risk of cliché – our three children, by far.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU?

Mostly, I hang out with the kids and Jon, watch HBO series on DVD since we don’t have HBO. I read novels and do Bikram yoga.

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