Non-traditional student proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams

BOONE - Marty Tschetter is proof that it is never too late to follow your dreams. He was raised in an academic family in Greenville, NC which developed within him a passion for libraries, archives and local history. However, not until his late thirties, after moving around the country and exploring different careers, that he decided to pursue a degree in library science.

Marty decided to return to his home state and began taking classes in library science while volunteering in a special collections archive. By 2010, he graduated with a library science degree from North Carolina Central University and was able to secure an internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Despite this excellent opportunity, Marty knew he needed more work experience and education.

At the age of 41, Marty began a master's degree in Public History at Appalachian State University. The program was challenging for someone who had been out of school for awhile, but it gave him the intellectual challenge he needed. "In order to succeed, I had to be disciplined to stay up with the reading assignments, formulate my own thoughts, and learn to think critically," says Marty.

Appalachian's public history program provided Marty the archival exposure he wanted, but also stressed understanding historiography, and a better understanding of how scholars piece together research. As a student he acquired an internship at the Wilkes Heritage Museum in Wilkesboro that afforded him practical work experience helping with fundraising events, public programs, creating new exhibits, museum operations, and engaging with the public.

Marty believes it was his professors that really made the difference in his experience. "On a daily basis, I use teachings from Dr. Neva Specht to explore history as "removing layers," and using old ledgers and letters to complement a narrative. Dr. Bruce Stewart challenged me to delve deeper into understanding context and culture. Trent Margrif exposed me to cultural landscape."

Marty graduated in 2013 and immediately began working as the local history librarian at the Wayne County Public Library. Since arriving in Goldsboro he developed several ambitious public history projects that include Wayne County Baseball Heritage. Another project, developed in partnership with the local Cooperative Extension is called "Harvesting Our History: Wayne County Agriculture." Both projects included developing an archive and engaging public programs. One of Marty's long-term goals is to begin scholarly research projects that explore Wayne County growth, development, and local culture.

Whether just beginning to consider a career path or changing careers after significant work experience, Marty Tschetter proves you can make it happen.


Image above: Marty Tschetter (Right) and North Carolina Poet Laurette Shelby Stephenson 

Published: Jan 12, 2016 10:43am