With a passion for world traveling, a father who’s a Roman Catholic priest and a weakness for Netflix movies, history professor Rebecca Livingstone is anything but ordinary.
Livingstone came to Simpson only a year and a half ago, searching for her dream job within a small liberal arts school in the Midwest. She found that job at Simpson.
“Here at Simpson, I can deal with the discipline that I love and share it with others,” Livingstone said. “I truly enjoy sparking appreciation for the subject within my students.”
A California native, Livingstone found herself drawn to the Midwest to pursue a degree in history from Lawrence University in Wisconsin. From there, she went on to achieve her Ph.D. in British history from Tulane University in New Orleans.
Livingstone had been attending graduate school in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. Having to suspend schooling for the remainder of the semester and the loss of her car were the extent of damages she personally encountered.
Her love of history and travel has sent Livingstone everywhere from England to Italy. After landing her job at Simpson, Livingstone took a month in the summer to explore five different countries in Europe where she could also spend more time on another favorite hobby of photography.
This journey of Livingstone’s life was always intended to bring her to teaching. With a desire to interact with students and the drive to not only teach, but to learn as well, Livingstone knew that this was the profession meant for her.
“Students come at things from a completely different angle,” Livingstone said. “As scholars, we are sometimes stuck in a certain way of doing things, but the students are continually challenging us. For me, teaching isn’t just about communicating knowledge, it’s about a conversation of learning.”
It is the personal interaction with students that Livingstone thoroughly enjoys about being a professor at Simpson. The small classroom atmosphere allows her to get to know her students as human beings and for them to know her on that level as well.
When asked to give a piece of advice to other aspiring history majors, Livingstone took a moment to decide, and then concluded that having intellectual curiosity for the subject was the only way to succeed.
“History isn’t about memorizing facts and events,” Livingstone said. “It’s about trying to understand humanity and society as a whole. To do that, you have to be curious.”