Meet Tara Cajacob, Historian

TaraCajacobMeet Tara Cajacob, Historian

Tara Cajacob fell in love with history at the tender age of 7, and she now is founder and lead Historical Research Consultant of the online company with The Historium. She is also the Secretary of the NextGen Genealogy Network and writes a local history column in central Minnesota for which she was awarded 1st Place in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors’ Excellence-In-Writing Competition in 2013. (Scroll down for links to these articles.)

Tara currently lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota, but will be moving to Schaumburg, Illinois, this winter. When she isn’t working she spends her time with her husband perusing antique shops, knitting, reading and visiting local vineyards. An online student in history at UIS, she received a scholarship this year provided by the UIS Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship Fund.

How did you come to enroll at UIS?

Because I am a non-traditional student, a working adult learner, I needed the flexibility of an online program, but I didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of my education. When I found the UIS Online History program, I knew instantly that it was the one for me. It is competitive and has an excellent reputation and I knew I would be proud to be a student here.

Why a degree in history?

A degree in history will broaden the professional opportunities available to me, allowing me to work in other aspects of history such as museum work and academia. I am extremely passionate about history and my mission is to help inspire that passion in others. I feel like the facets to help accomplish my mission will be much more attainable with the proper credentials; credentials which a degree from UIS would certainly provide.

Tell us about your work at The Historium.

Currently, I am operating my own history consulting business called The Historium. I specialize in doing historical research, like genealogy or house histories, as well as oral history interviews. Using the information I find, I create an engaging narrative and publish it in an heirloom quality book that can be handed down for generations. I have been contracted by individuals, businesses, historical societies and even a newspaper to complete these kinds of projects and others.

This fall I released my first book, The Purposeful Family Historian: A Guide for Researchers. I also launched a new product line to assist amateur history researchers with their project.

Who has supported your efforts to obtain your degree?

I have an extremely supportive circle of family and friends.  Education was always very important in my family. Due to a congenital birth defect that caused ongoing health issues for me, I wasn’t able to enroll in college right after high school like most of my friends. But after an incredible, life-saving surgery, I am now feeling better than ever and I decided it was time I pursue my passion for history by getting my degree.

Through it all, my husband has been a saint. Getting my degree while working full time has required long nights at the computer and few free days to spend together, but he is incredibly understanding and encouraging.

Three  good things about UIS online: 

(1)  You get the backing of an reputable and distinguished University with an excellent faculty from anywhere in the world. Whether I move or go on a business trip, I know that I have access to my classes and my professors anywhere I can connect to wi-fi— what a wonderful thing!

(2) The people here have been such a testament to the quality and character of UIS. I learn from not only my professors, but also my classmates, which is one of the advantages to participating in a program that is selective and cultivates passion among its students.

(3) The variety of classes available online is impressive compared to other universities and colleges. I had no trouble finding classes which covered topics that are interesting and exciting to me, and there are so many others I am excited to take in the coming semesters.

Three tips for other students:

(1) Find a good scheduling system and use it regularly. I love Franklin-Covey. Without my planner I think I would forget my own birthday some days.

(2)  If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The mild ego hit or embarrassment of asking will go away when you see an improvement or understand something you didn’t before.

(3) Take it one day at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Being an online student can be challenging because we are usually balancing so many other responsibilities in addition to classes. If you think about everything all at once it can be very daunting, so just focus on what you have to get done today and celebrate the little victories.

Tara’s Two Award-Winning Articles

  1. Curator in the Community: Sylvester Gleisner’s Uniform
  2. Heroes of the Past: W.R. Lovell