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Professor shares love for history with students

Courtesy Photo

Nathan Tye, assistant professor in the Department of History, is a historian at UNK. His knowledge of history tends to amaze students and the community. 

Tye was born and raised in Kearney, Nebraska. Growing up, he was constantly surrounded by history. 

“I have always really liked Nebraska history,” Tye said. “My grandfather was an amateur historian so we grew up learning about family history. We would sit around the kitchen table and he would tell me about my great-grandfather. History was always a living experience for me.”

Tye completed his undergraduate at Creighton University in 2011 and continued his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received his Ph.D. in 2019.

He has been teaching courses at UNK since 2019 including: HIST 111: Nebraska in the World, HIST 251: United States History since 1865 and HIST 466: Museums and Archives. He also gives public lectures at the Kearney Public Library. 

In between the time of his undergraduate degree and Ph.D., Tye worked at a homeless shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is where he found his interest in the history of homeless people.
“Our guests had stories and no one was listening to them because they were unhoused folks,” Tye said. “After that, I went to graduate school and decided to study the history of homelessness. I began to do research and was confronted with the challenge that no one keeps records of the homeless.”

Tye said he started to look into homeless people who didn’t have case files. His research over homelessness is what has inspired him to write his first book about homeless people. 

He has also impacted students throughout their academic careers. Tatiana Moore, a graduate assistant in the Department of History, said Tye has taught her one important lesson.

“One lesson I’ve learned from Dr. Tye is to not be afraid to do the research that you want to do,” Moore said. “He has helped me to be a forward thinker. With the guidance he has provided in my various research projects, I have learned to start thinking about end goals at the beginning stages of my research. He is a great mentor and I am thankful for every opportunity I have had to work and learn from him.”

Broc Anderson, a graduate from the history master’s program at UNK, had the chance to work closely with Tye. 

“Nathan is a professor that leads his students in these community-oriented history projects to further our own understanding of the past,” Anderson said. “He has shown me and all of his students how to share our passion for history through storytelling. Although I have finished my degree and have my own area of expertise, I continue to look for Nathan’s guidance and knowledge as a colleague and friend.”

The number one piece of advice Tye would give individuals who are aspiring historians is to start asking questions, reach out to faculty members who are knowledgeable and go to local museums. 

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Gisell Torres
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