Aaron Goings with colleagues in Finland

“Outstanding faculty mentored me throughout my career at Saint Martin's, and helped me to develop a strong interest in social justice, work and class struggle.”

Aaron Goings
College of Arts & Sciences Professor of History

For some, the route from student to professor at one’s alma mater is just coming full circle. For Aaron Goings, it was more like returning home.

At Saint Martin’s, Goings majored in political science and thrived under the support and mentorship of his professors, who encouraged him to pursue his passion for workers’ rights and labor unions.

“I am very fortunate to have attended Saint Martin's as an undergraduate, mostly because of the close working relationships I was able to develop with outstanding faculty like Roger Snider, Rex Casillas and David Price,” says Goings. “They mentored me throughout my career at Saint Martin's, and helped me to develop a strong interest in researching and writing about social justice, work and class struggle. My professors were – and, of course, still are – intensely devoted to developing within students important academic skills such as critical thinking, original research and questioning authority.”

Roger Snider, professor of political science, helped Goings apply for the Washington State Legislative Internship and get the most out of the experience. “Throughout Dr. Snider’s career, he has been the key driving force keeping Saint Martin's connected to the legislative internship program,” Going says. “My experiences as a student and legislative intern were certainly enriched by the assistance of Roger, who is an expert on public policy and state and local politics.”

In addition to the state legislature, Goings interned for the AFL-CIO. Goings’ interest in labor unions stems from his childhood in Aberdeen, a Northwest logging town not far from Saint Martin’s. By 2002, Goings’ scholarly research and activism led him to become the first recipient of the University’s Father Jerome Toner Award for outstanding achievement in student activism. He graduated as co-valedictorian and went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Central Washington University and a doctorate in history from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Goings returned to Saint Martin’s, where he teaches courses on labor studies, as well as U.S., women’s, world and Latin American history survey courses. He also directs the University’s Pacific Northwest Social Action Speaker Series, which works to raise awareness of the area’s rich history and social justice movements.

As a student-turned-professor, Goings has continued to garner awards and recognition. Along with fellow labor historian Gary Kaunonen, Goings co-authored the book, “Community in Conflict: A Working-Class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and the Italian Hall Tragedy,” which received a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. He spent the 2014-15 academic year in Finland as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching and conducting research at the University of Jyvaskyla. Saint Martin’s inspired Goings to pursue his research interests and to flourish, first as a student and now as a professor.

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