History Education Helped Alumnus Kevin Caslor Land his Dream Job

February 24, 2017

Arriving at SFU in from Langara College in 2012, alumnus Kevin Caslor was determined to major in history. Guided by the support of history undergraduate advisor Tessa Wright and the Centre for Students with Disabilities’ Suzanne Leach, he was on a solid track to accomplish this goal.

Intentionally taking his time to complete his degree, Caslor canvassed the breadth of SFU history courses. He was able to enroll in a number of professor Allen Seager’s classes and enjoyed Seager’s enthusiastic take on Canadian histories. Professors Sarah Walshaw, Ilya Vinkovetsky, and Doxis Doxiadis enabled him to identify and analyze common themes in world history and see how Canada fits into global historical narratives.

As the result of the enthusiasm and care expressed by his history instructors, Caslor continued to strive for academic excellence, accruing two scholarships and nomination for entry into SFU history’s honours program. Caslor says the small size of the cohort allowed for engrossing discussions and that the guidance of professors Bidisha Ray and Jennifer Spear allowed the group to successfully conduct the “science” of history. “Professor Ray’s lovely sense of humor helped me understand complex theories and at the same time have fun in the process!” Caslor says.

The decision to ask professor Mark Leier to supervise his honours thesis was one of the best decisions Caslor made in his academic career. “We got along famously with our similar sense of humour, which kept what was a challenging process both fun and engaging.” He expresses gratitude for professor Leier’s help, support, and general camaraderie during this time, saying he would not have been as successful without Leier’s famous brand of encouragement and enthusiasm.

Through volunteering with Power To Be Adventure Therapy, Caslor met the CEO of Seaspan Marine Corporation, who learned of Caslor’s passion for marine history and agreed to read his completed honours thesis. Calsor secured an interview with the company in July 2016 that landed him a full time job.

Caslor’s academic training in history prepared him for this line of work and he often uses the methodologies learned in history to critically analyze situations. He sees benefit to understanding the company’s history and past actions and approaches and is excited to be working in the industry he’s so passionate about. “Being able to work this close to (and often onboard tugs) is incredible. The location that Seaspan occupies at the foot of Pemberton Avenue is steeped in history!”

A lifelong learner, Caslor is eager to discover more about the maritime industry, both locally and internationally, and to study connections and relationships in the marine business. The ability to experience new things and perform a variety of tasks each day makes his employment at Seaspan a dream job.

Calsor has been considering publication of a revised version of his honours thesis and returning to university for a master’s degree. He extends a message the SFU history department heartily endorses for all arts students: “I do not have a clear plan for the future, as I have found that amazing opportunities can present themselves when you are open to ideas. For now, I am content to float with the current.”


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