Paul Reeve knows who he is — and what he isn't.

The Hurricane native is a self-identified "southern Utah boy." What he's not, however, is an accountant.

The combination of that identity with that realization may have complicated his career path, but it has served Reeve well. The assistant professor of history at the University of Utah has found success in a field he loves, a greater sense of self-awareness and an understanding of how history can enrich lives.

"I'm just interested in discovering who I am, and a lot of the answers come to me through my religion, but history fills in a lot of the gaps," said Reeve, whose book, "Making Space on the Western Frontier," was recognized by the Mormon History Association at last month's awards banquet in Sacramento, Calif.

Not bad for someone who didn't have much of a plan when he graduated from Brigham Young University in 1992.

Reeve began his college education as an accounting major, but after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Toronto from 1987-89 and returning to the Provo campus, he decided to study history, despite his family's concerns over how he would earn a living.

"I just couldn't see myself being an accountant for the rest of my life," he said. "My heart wasn't in it. I finally decided I was going to do something that I really loved, ... and I just kind of fumbled my way through it."

Reeve admits that after earning his bachelor's degree, he didn't have much of a long-term goal. He dived straight into graduate studies at BYU, and after finishing a master's in history in 1994, Reeve took a break from studies and did some adjunct work at Salt Lake Community College.

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