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Historian (GS-170) Careers With the FWS – Part 2

In part one of this series we introduced the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to include its history and their prominent programs. This article features the historian occupation (GS-0170) and its unique role within the FWS.

This series includes positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform research or other work in the field of history when such work requires a professional knowledge of established methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, or presentation of historical facts.

The federal government employs 765 historians of which 30 work overseas. The Department of the Air Force is the largest employer with 197 civilians followed by the Department of the Interior with 171 and the Department of the Army employs 158. All but two cabinet level agencies employ workers in this group including a few large independent agencies.

Historians in the Federal Government are engaged in one or more of the following major areas:

  • Planning and conducting special historical studies relating to current problems for use by agency officials and others in developing or modifying policies and programs.
  • Planning and conducting continuing or long-range historical studies to record the policies, programs, and operations of their particular agencies.
  • Planning and preparing scholarly narrative or documentary histories for publication.
  • Planning and conducting historical studies in connection with the establishment, conservation, restoration, reconstruction, and interpretation to the public of sites of major significance in the military, political, economic, and cultural history of the United States.

Regardless of the area of endeavor involved, historian positions at full performance levels typically include responsibility for project planning and research and presentation functions

Q&A with Mark Madison

Mark Madison is an historian, (GS-0170) for the FWS and works at the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV.


Mark Madison, Historian with the FWS
Mark Madison, FWS Historian

Why did you want to become a historian?

My father was a historian so I was genetically predisposed. History was my favorite reading material as a child and adult. I actually started as a biologist but got lured back to history through the history of science.

What are the top three most interesting aspects of your job?

  1. We get new historical objects almost every day we just got a 5200-pound printing press.
  2. I have just started social media with a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. It is new and keeps me humble as to my tech abilities.
  3. The FWS has the most interesting history in the federal government ranging from Rachel Carson to Red Wolves.

What is the most interesting historical find you ever came across?

A little mammal and we have a taxidermy black-footed that was rediscovered in 1981 after the species had been declared extinct in 1979. That little ferret helped save a species.

Would you recommend the historian occupation as a good career path?

Any subject you are passionate about is a good career path. I was passionate about history and conservation so being a historian for the FWS was a great choice.

Job Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in History; or related field that included at least 18 semester hours in history.
  • Professional experience that reflects knowledge of history concepts and techniques and available sources.
  • Methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, and presentation of historical facts.
  • Research and write historical materials, and conducting special studies and creating other historical products such as oral histories.
  • Perform research, analysis, evaluates and produces written historical reports about origins, or evolution.
  • Prepare analytical studies of complex program issues, administrative summaries.
  • Provide training publications to employees and the public with a general understanding of the history of an agency and its activities.
  • Plan and execute a historical research program that documents of an agency’s history.
  • Provides guidance and advice to regional offices, divisions, and field stations on completing historical research, studies, and oral histories involving an agency’s history.
  • Plans, reviews, and evaluates projects initiated by other offices.
  • Knowledge of requirements and procedures required to initiate, and monitor contracts for historical research and studies.

In part 3 we will meet Valerie Fellows a public affairs specialist, (GS-1035) for the FWS.


  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

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About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.