As president of the University of Maryland chapter of the American Association of University Professors, Holly Brewer leads efforts to advocate for the interests of University of Maryland faculty members. She is the Burke Professor of American History and associate professor at the University of Maryland, and a specialist in early American history and the early British empire.
What is the most important thing you do in your job?
Professors wear many hats; of these teaching is the most important, on every level, including not only undergraduates taking survey courses but graduate students and teachers preparing to teach others.
Who was your most significant mentor and what did you learn from that person?
I have been inspired and encouraged by many, and to choose one mentor would be impossible. But my mother, Gwen Whitehead Brewer, would be one. An English professor before it was normal for women to hold such roles, she taught me deep curiosity and respect for others.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I almost became an astronomer. I could have been a science writer (my undergraduate degree was in history and physics).
I could focus mostly on (digital) documentary editing (historical documents). I love carpentry. But now? In all probability, if I were no longer an academic, I’d run for political office, because I have such a keen sense of how policies can impact lives.