Alumnus: ‘NDSU had everything I could have hoped for to prepare for my career’

An NDSU alumnus has an up-close look as history is made in Washington, D.C.

John Wells, BS’ 16, public history, is a National Park Service guide with the National Mall and Memorial Parks Division of Interpretation and Education. 

“I really like history, so this was a perfect fit for me,” said Wells, who is currently assigned to the Washington Monument.

During his time as a ranger, he has served in the Ozarks, Abraham Lincoln’s house, and now at the National Mall.

Wells became interested in the National Park Service as a child, traveling with his family to places like South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. His career goals solidified at NDSU when he heard an NPS staff member speak during his Introduction to Public History course taught by Angela Smith, associate professor of history.

“Going to NDSU was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he said. “NDSU had everything I could have hoped for to prepare for my career with the NPS. The public history major was amazing – basically every experience I had with classes I’ve been able to apply to my work, whether that be working for an event like the inauguration or 4th of July, giving talks to people at campgrounds, writing posts for National Mall social media or researching materials to find answers to visitor questions.”

He enthusiastically suggests NDSU to prospective students who are considering earning a degree. 

“I would 1,000 percent recommend NDSU to prospective students There is a boatload of opportunities at NDSU,” he said. “NDSU has a major for basically every career field you can think of, there’s tons of opportunities to present your research at conferences and you have a great location being right in the heart of the Fargo-Moorhead area.”

Wells lives in Greenbelt, Maryland.