Picture of Winston Bowman

Associate Historian at Federal Judicial Center

Can you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

I started out working in the legal field but found there were a lot of frustrations involved in the day-to-day life of a litigator. So, I decided to get a PhD in History, after which I worked for a couple years as a full-time lecturer at Brandeis. Currently, I work at the Federal Judicial Center, an agency in the judicial branch that trains judges and court staff and conducts research for the judiciary. My work as a historian for the FJC involves research and writing on the history of the judicial branch. We also hold an annual institute for teachers around the country who work in conjunction with judges and scholars to learn more about major cases from the past.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

I think teaching at Brandeis--both as a graduate student and a lecturer--helped me to improve my oral presentation skills. Working on my dissertation taught me both better writing skills and a bit of self-discipline. I got my job through my research, which was uniquely suited to working in the federal judiciary. I also made contacts through my time at Brandeis that proved useful in the job market.

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their job search?

If you are interested in a government job in the humanities or social sciences, I would suggest thinking strategically about how your research is aligned with the kind of job or agency you are interested in. Increasingly, these jobs are no longer the sorts of posts people fall into by default; they are jobs that good candidates are actively positioning themselves to move into after receiving advanced degrees. Finding an internship or other research opportunity that helps you build some form of contact with relevant agencies could also be useful.