The Carleton Career Center offers a variety of externship opportunities to students. These opportunities are made possible by alumni volunteers, such as Jeff Appelquist ’80. Jeff’s program, the Carleton Blue Knight History Scholarship, allows two Carleton history majors per year to participate in a battlefield seminar, a leadership and development program that Jeff leads for corporate executives. (To learn more about Jeff’s Blue Knight Battlefield Seminars, visit www.blueknightseminars.com or contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
About the Program: A Note from Host Jeff Appelquist ’80
I love history. I am also an entrepreneur at heart. I combined my passions by developing a business that uses battlefields as classrooms for corporate leaders. Since the fall of 2007 I have taken 12 groups of approximately 180 executives to the Gettysburg and Little Bighorn national parks. We have had incredible experiences together while studying these momentous events through the lens of individual leadership and team dynamics. I am continually struck by the power of history to teach and its relevance to today's world.
I wanted to share this experience with Carleton history students as a way of both enriching my program and giving something back to Carleton. This past June Jillian Larson ’09 and Keith Carr-Lee ’09 joined a group of executives at Gettysburg. It was a terrific opportunity for Jillian and Keith to learn, grow, and network with a great group of leaders from business and academia. Just as importantly, it was also an opportunity for the elder members of the team to learn from Jillian and Keith. Their enthusiastic participation and keen insights made the experience better and richer for everyone.
Experiencing the Program: A Reflection from Participant Jillian Larson ’09
A few weeks prior to finding myself discussing General Robert E. Lee’s orders on Cemetery Hill with business leaders from various Fortune 500s and successful organizations, I had received an e-mail from the Carleton Career Center announcing this unique opportunity to all history majors. In my study of history at Carleton, I have been struck with the idea that no famous decision in history was inevitable at its implementation. Many decisions are famous precisely because they were radical and unexpected, and this is very apparent in a study of leadership decisions at Gettysburg, a battle where the outcome was anything but inevitable.
The highlight of this experience for me was the camaraderie of our group. We continued our great conversations into the evening over fantastic meals at historic restaurants, and I prodded the other seminar participants for stories of their career paths and personal decisions. I was especially struck by their fearlessness in changing careers, and I hope to never lose my own fearlessness. From seeing Jeff’s fantastic seminar in action to having professionals ready to answer all of my questions, I look back at this seminar as a springboard for many personal discoveries. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.