By combining a history major and two seemingly disparate minors, senior Doug Bachman aims to fashion a career from his academic work and an internship at Fort Ontario, all while competing in NCAA cross-country and track.

Where were you born and raised? 

I was born in Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital and raised in Barker, New York. It's very rural. I went to Barker High school -- it had a total of 250-some students, and I graduated with 78. I lived a half-mile from town, but as soon as you get outside of town, it's farm country.

When did you become interested in history as a potential path?

History has always been one of the things that really intrigued me -- like wars. A lot of games are created off of wars, and that piqued my interest. Even board games like Risk have a war theme. I came to Oswego as a chemistry major, because I didn't think history would be a viable career path. But a year into college, I knew I didn't want to be a chemist, so I switched to history.

How do your two minor areas of study help fashion a career path for you?

When I switched over to history, I realized I wanted to work in a museum. So I picked up a museum studies minor. I added a sports studies minor, because I have been playing sports for as long as I could remember, so leaving sports completely out of my career path would kind of be sad. So I picked up that minor in hopes of working in something like a sports history museum or even working somehow in the line of sports. Professors have told me that history majors are very heavily sought after, especially by the government, because of how they process information.

What kinds of history classes have really captured your attention?

I've taken a course on modern Japan, an African studies class, Ottoman history, Native American history -- that one was really cool. I do enjoy learning about World War I and II. I really like ancient Roman and Greek mythology; Nordic history is also really cool.

What do you think about the professors you've had?

Dr. (Chris) Mack, I've had him a few times. He's my on-campus mentor for the internship I'm doing at Fort Ontario. I remember the first time I ever had his class: He walked in and had the most excited, jubilant mannerisms. The pace of his class is very upbeat. He likes to walk around very vigorously -- a very excited professor, which is cool. In my Ottoman history class, that professor (Murat Yasar) was just so personable -- we had a lot of common interests. He was a big nerd just like me. (Laughs.) "Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter" -- anything you could think of that was really nerdy, he was into. Dr. (Kenneth) Marshall -- I had him for a "Slavery in America" class. He was very real about slavery. It's a very hard topic to learn about, almost hard to sit through. But he made it bearable, because he was so adamant on speaking the truth about it. A lot of my professors have been really cool.

How did you learn of the Fort Ontario internship opportunity?

In one of Dr. Mack's classes, a former Oswego student (Jon Zella, class of 2012, with a 2014 master's degree) came in to talk about how he started off getting an internship at the fort, and how working in a museum helped him get into a museum out of college.

What are your duties at the fort?

It's a long list, but mainly I'm going to be taking the new items that have been brought in for potential donation and I'm going to be researching them, writing them up -- basically vetting them to see if they fit the guidelines to be in the museum. So far, I'm researching a military coat from World War II. Fort Ontario was used for military training early in the war. Each of the coat's patches has a significance. This coat has five overseas service bars -- each bar represents six months that he (a soldier from the Delaware National Guard) was overseas. He got his 14th Company patch, the private's chevron, the Asiatic Pacific Theater bar, a Bronze Service Star and an arrowhead that indicates he was in the first wave of an attack. It's cool going in depth about every aspect of the uniform. I'm also really excited to see if I'll have to dress up for an event in an old uniform.

What are your other activities on campus?

I've been running cross-country since seventh grade. At SUNY Oswego, I've been on the team since I was a freshman. I also do indoor and outdoor track. That takes up a lot of time. We get a week or two to reset from cross-country, then go into indoor track. We get about a week between indoor and outdoor track, depending on how the season goes.

What's your proudest moment in cross-country here?

I'd have to say when we got third place two years ago in SUNYACs (the SUNY Athletic Conference Championships), which was the highest placing ever for our team. Last year, one of our teammates actually made it to nationals as an individual qualifier. This season, I'm just happy with how it's going. I've been very consistent, and have run very well in all three races.

What is it about cross-country, or running in general, that appeals to you?

I've always loved the team atmosphere. It's like a family -- more than a family. In high school, we just all clicked, we were all just really good friends. I played baseball, but there wasn't always the bonding, never really a family atmosphere. As a freshman here, within that first week of (cross-country) practice you're going to be assimilated in -- it's so open and nobody really tries to one-up anybody. Naturally, the speed is different, ability is different, but people work hard and you see that. 

Have you done any community service while at the college?

Our cross-country and track teams do leaf raking every fall. We go to some (city) neighborhoods and rake leaves for people -- the whole athletic department does it. We do several community service events through the year. 

What do you like to do in your down time? 

Play video games with friends, just hang out with friends. My housemates and I watch TV shows or movies together. Teammates of mine and I moved off campus to a house this fall. Sometimes the five of us are all in the kitchen cooking and just having a fun time with it. When I'm home, usually every Thursday night there's a youth group that I go to. It's really great, because I get to see the friends I don't get to see at school.

What can you tell us about your family?

My mom and dad, Jim and Paula, were high school sweethearts and went to Brockport. My mom is a high school-middle school teacher for math. My dad is a factory worker. My younger sister went to Buffalo State and played softball there for a year, then transferred to Fashion Institute of Technology.

Is there anything about you that most people don't know?

It's the name thing. Doug's not my first name. I like to keep my name a secret for as long as possible. (Laughs.) Usually when it comes out, they look at me and go, "You're lying." Or they just give me the most astonished reaction. I'm called Doug because that's my intended name. My grandfather died before I was born, so my parents decided to change it from Douglas James Bachman to James Douglas Bachman III. My grandmother told me that plenty of my family members down the line have also been called by middle names.

Is there anything else you'd like to see in your Spotlight?

On my drive up to school (as a freshman), I had this moment where I felt, "Oh, no, I'm terrified." I was here for almost a week for cross-country, and having that small time got me used to it. I really enjoyed it. Living on campus (for three years) was such a great experience. You're not ever going to get this experience anywhere else in your life. Living in a building with hundreds of kids your age that go through a lot of the same things you do -- it's been really cool.