Hamilton Wasnick, history major and a head counselor for Camp War Eagle
As someone who came to Auburn not knowing anyone, Seattle native Hamilton Wasnick felt that serving as a Camp War Eagle counselor was the best way to welcome new people to campus.
“Being someone’s first connection to Auburn is an amazing opportunity,” Wasnick said. “You have to be 100 percent genuine with your group, and you have to be there for them in case they need you.”
Wasnick, a history major, originally came to Auburn to pursue a degree in computer science. “Within a month, I just knew it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t be stuck in a room communicating with computers, I needed to be communicating with people,” Wasnick said. “History was something I’d always been passionate about, and for me, it was realizing my passion was something that I wanted to study.”
Wasnick talked with his family, whom he says was very supportive of his decision to switch to history. He said his decision was reinforced after talking to faculty.
“I was in World History I with Dr. Eden McLean and I remember walking up to her one day after class and telling her that I wanted to change my major to history. I asked her what she thought and she said, ‘Yes, absolutely. We need people like you.’ I was pretty enthused to have immediate investment from a professor,” Wasnick said.
A guest lecturer further opened up the potential of history for Wasnick.
“Dr. Trevor Albertson is the course director at Air University (at Maxwell Air Force Base) and he talked to us about his career. His experience working in government intelligence piqued my interest, so I approached him after class and got his email address from him.”
Wasnick followed up with Albertson, and the two began talking about career plans.
“My initial email to him was supposed to be about my thesis, but it quickly evolved to me asking him questions about his work as an intelligence analyst.”
Albertson told Wasnick about his military experience and added that obtaining his PhD was the best thing he did for his career.
“He said that analysts are meant to analyze, and getting a PhD helps you figure out how to analyze laws, not just follow them. He told me that getting a doctorate would make me a certified expert on something and that I’d have years of experience analyzing and writing clearly and concisely, and having all of that will set me apart from others.”
Wasnick wanted to find out more about becoming an analyst and did some research into working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“Right there on the CIA website it read that applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a major field of study of philosophy, political science, or history.”
Wasnick is exploring post-graduation options that will allow him to continue pursuing history.
“History has been the strongest driving force to further my education. I absolutely love it and I think history is one of the most important subjects people can learn. You need to understand where you’ve come from to know where you’re going. And Auburn’s history program has been wonderful for me. The professors here genuinely care about their students and genuinely want to see them succeed."
In addition to networking with his professors and serving as a head counselor for Camp War Eagle, Wasnick is also an RA (resident assistant), and is a proud member of Auburn's Ultimate Frisbee team.
"We just finished our national tournament run. We finished 13th in the country."
Wasnick said that he didn't realize how good of a team Auburn had, and that he loves being part of a close-knit team.
"Any year you get to go and compete for a national championship is a blessing. As a school, we're very fortunate to be able to field a team that's not only good enough, but brotherly enough that no matter what happens, we still love and care about each other."
In addition to his Ultimate Frisbee family, Wasnick is excited to welcome his sister to Auburn in the fall. And undoubtedly, he's excited to show her around during Camp War Eagle .
Written by Vicky Santos, director of news and media services for the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.
Last Updated: July 17, 2018