San Jacinto College history alumnus Tyler white.

Tyler White, San Jacinto College alumnus, was raised to revere history, sparking a lifelong fascination.

“Tyler’s appetite for history began with growing up in Deer Park, so close to so much Texas history,” said John White, Tyler’s dad and criminal justice professor at the Central Campus. “He took an interest in history and archeology at a very young age. He was also blessed with grandparents who would often share stories with him on ancestral and historical events.”

After graduating from Deer Park High School as a dual credit student in 2012, White joined the Texas Army National Guard while continuing his studies at San Jac. But becoming a young dad meant all bets were off.

Choosing a practical path

Balancing National Guard duties, college, family, and work proved overwhelming. White took a break from college and found industry work as a boilermaker and pipefitter.

He eventually returned to San Jac and completed the engineering design graphics certificate of technology in 2015.

“It’s OK to try things until you figure out your path,” he said. “Engineering design graphics just wasn’t the field for me. I got laid off twice, and then it was back to the drawing board. The experience was valuable.”

The rest is history

San Jacinto College history alumnus Tyler white

Photo courtesy of Tyler White

Done with the concept of “just having a job,” White decided to pursue a career as a history teacher.

Professor Marcus Turner’s honors Texas history class was the challenge he needed. The course’s main project was a comprehensive research paper, and he wrote about Deer Park. During the process, he interviewed Wayne Riddle, former Deer Park mayor; Barbara Weidig, city historian; and Lisa Struthers, San Jacinto Museum and Battlefield librarian.

History professor Joseph Stromberg helped White edit and submit his paper to a Texas State Historical Association writing contest. The paper won second place in the Caldwell Memorial Award for Excellence in History lower division. He continued to present his research at conferences, where he crossed paths with Dr. Abbie Grubb and Dr. Eddie Weller from San Jac’s honors program — both of whom he considered “a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.” Grubb gave him an opportunity to study abroad.

“I went from being unsure I had the drive to pursue anything to finding myself in Europe studying World War I, my favorite historical topic,” White said.

He graduated from San Jac with a social and behavioral science degree in 2018, then transferred to the University of Houston-Clear Lake the same year.

White completed an internship at Santa Fe High School in fall 2020, trying to learn the traditional ropes while the classroom was transitioning to an online format.

“Life went from doing lots of cool stuff, conferences, Europe — then suddenly I’m a professional in the school district in the pandemic era,” he said.

He graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification in history and taught Advanced Placement history at Santa Fe High School from 2020 until fall 2023.

From San Jacinto College to monument

Although not planning to leave teaching, White started exploring new opportunities.

“I’d bonded with the kids and liked what I was doing,” he said. “I just thought it wasn’t bad to start looking beyond.”

When he found a position open at the San Jacinto Museum and Battlefield, his inner voice said to take the leap. His diversity of experience made him an ideal candidate. In January 2024, he accepted the position as assistant site manager — now assistant museum director — at the San Jacinto Museum and Battlefield with the Texas Historical Commission.

He manages the public service staff, assists guests, and oversees the gift shop. He loves chatting with guests about Texas history and museum artifacts.

His job duties don’t end there.

“Not every day is the same,” he said. “One day I’m thinking of maps and T-shirt designs, drawing up concepts. Another day I’ll be firing cannons and muskets and helping out with event tours.”

White finally feels settled. He enjoys his work, spending time with family, and strumming his guitars.

“I hope my story shows students hard work does pay off, and it’s possible to find an enjoyable career,” he said. “I owe a lot of my success to San Jac.”  

By Neesha Hosein