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Bonnie Mahar

William & Mary Parking and Transportation Services


Bonnie Mahar outside of the W&M Parking and Transportation office

B: Bonnie 
M: Michelle, Interviewer

M: Can you tell me about what you do on campus?

B: I work in Parking Services, I do a lot of administrative work, a lot of billing and processing permit applications. So when students or faculty or staff, or even anybody who comes here on campus at all, even visitors need parking passes, I’m one of the two front-line people who distribute those.

M: What brought you here to William & Mary and this job?

B: Well, I was a ticket writer for almost two years in Memphis, where I’m from and then my husband was accepted to the University of New Hampshire to their Physics degree program, which has him doing his research at Jefferson Lab down in Newport News. So that, of course, brings me along and I looked in areas surrounding Newport News for parking jobs or any other thing like that, and they were hiring here.

M: So, what is your opinion of this place? How do you like it here?

B: I really love where we live down in Newport News, because where we were, in New Hampshire, was isolated and there was nothing for miles, they were all tiny towns. Where we are in Newport News is near everything; we’re within walking distance of all sorts of crazy stuff. And Williamsburg, as a History major and my Masters in Education, being so close to Colonial Williamsburg and a historic campus is really neat for me.

M: Can you tell me more about what you studied?

B: History, focusing on Early Modern Europe and Ancient Near East, and then my Masters is in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, which is really just the teaching degree for secondary education, for high schoolers and middle schoolers.

Bonnie Mahar outside of the W&M Parking and Transportation Services office Bonnie Mahar at the W&M Parking and Transportation Services office

M: What led you to choose that path of study?

B: What I found is that most people hated their high school history classes, and it drives me crazy because History was the best thing for me--I was always interested in it for my entire life, even as a fifth grader. And I thought, I would like to teach this and get people interested in this. My license to teach is in Tennessee, which would have been fine in New Hampshire, but not fine in Virginia. So don’t get anything that requires licensure that’s state by state specific!

M: Do you feel like your education in History has followed you to today?

B: Only in that I’m constantly giving tiny history lessons to people. Even at my orientation here, the person giving the tour did not know the significance behind the people William and Mary, the King and Queen, and I kind of piped in a little bit. That space wasn't really for my voice, but I could not stop myself from being, ‘Well, actually.’ She did not know why you always refer to them as William and Mary rather than just King William or Queen Mary. I told her why they had to be together and the whole Civil War around that. It was brief but it kind of gets under your skin when it’s your thing.

M: So, what you study and what you’re doing today are so different. Do you have anything to say about that?

B: I’m an easy going person, so I’m pretty happy. Most people don’t have a career in their major. Even when I was within my major, I asked the people who were history majors what they were doing and it was never within their field. I kind of always had an inkling that I probably wouldn't be in my field. For people who expect to find a career in their field, don’t think of your education as rote training, your education is so much more. To be an educated person is so much more than just having a vocation. It’s wonderful to find a job in your field, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t, especially if you can find meaningful employment, like I did!