VERNAL, Utah — Utah State University Uintah Basin is pleased to welcome Amanda Katz to the campus as an assistant professor of history in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Katz joined the campus faculty on Aug. 1.
“Dr. Katz is going to be an outstanding addition to the faculty in the Uintah Basin,” said James Y. Taylor, senior associate vice president for USU Uintah Basin. “Her passion, energy and captivating engagement will benefit our students and the campus, and her ongoing research is relevant to the region. We are thrilled that she made the Basin her academic home.”
Katz joins USU Uintah Basin after working as a graduate program coordinator in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, from 2021-2023. Katz also served as a lecturer for three summer semesters at Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar. While teaching at Carnegie Mellon, Katz earned the 2022 Goldman Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“I am really excited to be here and look forward to working with faculty, students, staff and the larger Basin community,” Katz said. “There are such amazing historical sights, many cultural heritages, and several important ecosystems here in the Basin, that being an historian of the American West who studies natural and built environments, well, this is just the best possible place for me to be.”
Katz holds a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University in history as well as three master’s degrees: a master’s degree in history from Carnegie Mellon University (2015), a master’s degree in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University (2014), and a master’s degree in Secondary Education/English from Eastern Connecticut State University (2008).
Katz specializes in the history of the American West, infrastructure and technology, and environmental, urban and public/applied history. She is of the opinion that studying and learning history offers students many other transferable skills.
“Learning history is a fantastic opportunity to discover stories that help us put today’s world into a much larger and longer historical context,” Katz said. “Sometimes this can feel challenging, but, ultimately, I think grappling with these stories and their complexities reminds us all of our humanity — and how fragile and complex it is.”
Katz hopes to help instill in students a love of history, especially of the history that surrounds students in the Uinta Basin itself. She hopes to show students how special the place they live in and study actually is.
“I think we have an amazing and unique opportunity here, because of our location and USU’s extensive environmental and scientific research, to study environmental history, the regional history of the Intermountain West, as well as the broader American West,” she said. “I’d also like to offer more community and public-facing history courses and experiences to anyone interested in learning more about history or historical methods.”
Prior to earning a history degree, Katz worked as a professor in the English departments at both Assumption College and Anna Maria College in Massachusetts, as well as Worcester State University. In 2014, she began studying history and became a history teaching assistant at Carnegie Mellon.
In addition to her love of history and literature, Katz loves hiking, road trips and being outdoors.
Operating campuses in Vernal and Roosevelt for more than 50 years, Utah State University Uintah Basin gives students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university, all in the backdrop of the outdoor oasis that is the Uinta Mountains and Ashley National Forest. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees and more than 125 programs available, as well as access to the renowned Bingham Research Center, USU Uintah Basin offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at uintahbasin.usu.edu.
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