Matt Parbs

Current Location: Clinton, Iowa
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois

UIS Degree: B.A. 2010 (History)
Other Degree: Associate of Arts 2007, Lincoln Land Community College

Current Position
Director of The Sawmill Museum

Career Highlights
“I had dreams of being a history teacher, but after graduating, I toured the National Museum of Surveying and found a new way to teach. I now take great pride in knowing that due to a well-rounded education, I can adequately serve on numerous boards and committees to make whatever place I call home, the best home.”

Memories of SSU/UIS
“My professors never forgot about me. After graduation, a professor followed up multiple times to make sure I attended a career fair. There, I met a retired couple who ‘hounded me’ to attend an American Red Cross volunteer program. At the Red Cross, I met my now wife, Becky. The retired couple claims they knew right away I was meant for Becky. Most of all, the only reason I went into the surveying museum was because they had a NOAA exhibit and I wanted to learn some science for our Red Cross educational programs. If Dr. Cornell would not have reminded me of the career fair, I would never have met my wife and gained another career avenue. It was networking and thinking like a historian and teacher that I gained at UIS that helped me obtain both passions of my life, my wife and museums.”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past. Infinity truly does go up on trial in a museum, and one needs to make sure he or she is never silencing a voice from the past or speaking for it. An artifact has a series of facts about it, but if you can connect that artifact to an experience, to a larger narrative, to larger forces, the guest will bond with past in a personal way. In short, be skeptical of everything and always try to find out how to let the artifact tell its own story or let a historic voice say why it performed some action.”

Connected Forever
“When my sister died in March 2016, UIS provided my family an eternal sense of alumni pride. Immediately, the Chancellor reached out as did other staff. A few former teachers even reached out. My sister was so close to earning her degree, but technically she was still a semester away from obtaining the necessary credits. The provost, criminal justice professors, staff, the chancellor and others all worked together to answer a very gray question. Now, my family can say that my mother, my sister and I all graduated from UIS.”

Posted on July 20, 2017