WWII studies grad turns childhood memories into new career path


Photo of Susan Gayle Moster

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Susan Gayle Moster’s interest in WWII history long preceded her acceptance into the World War II Studies online master’s degree at ASU. 

Growing up in Muenster, Texas, Moster’s grandparents were local farmers near Camp Howze, a U.S. Army infantry training camp and internment German POW camp.

“I loved exploring the old, broken-down Jeeps, the remains of the barracks and the guard towers,” Moster says on her website. 

After going to college for medicine and becoming a practicing gastroenterologist, Moster still couldn’t shake a strong calling to write and delve deeper into the WWII history that enveloped her youth.

She earned an MFA from Southern Methodist University in creative writing and wrote her first novel, "The Caves of San Pietro." It was while she was doing research at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans that she learned about the WWII Studies master’s degree, a partnership between the museum and the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at ASU. 

Here she talks about her time in the program. 

Question: What's something you learned while at ASU (in the classroom or otherwise) that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: The vast amount of resources to research a historical or political event and how to find them.

Q: Which professor taught you one of the most important lessons you've learned at ASU? What was the lesson?

A: Professor Jacob Flaws and Ambassador Edward O'Donnell — both are very knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects they taught. The lesson I learned was you can really love what you do with your career by working with a passion that you have. If you have a passion for your career, it makes you interested in researching and learning all you can about the subject or the degree or the career you are wanting to do.

Q: If someone gave you $40 billion to solve one problem on our planet, what would you do?

A: Implement programs to combat genocide, promote human rights, equality and women's rights.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you'd give to other students?

A: Study what you are interested in. Integrate your passion with your career.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Move to Washington D.C. and get involved with human rights advocacy.

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