Student Senior Thesis Published!

lizturnerLiz Turner, an outstanding recent graduate of the UCCS History Department, is having her Senior Thesis published in IEEE A & E Systems Magazine. The thesis is entitled “Women Air Force Service Pilots: An Army Air Corps Experiment.” Turner’s work made the cover, and they are running it as a two-part series in the January and February issues. Congratulations to Ms. Turner, and to her Senior Thesis supervisor, Barbara Headle.

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Preserving Colorado Springs Memories

Today features another great piece about the work of History Department Instructor Leah Davis-Witherow, whose “day job” is to be curator at the Pioneers Museum. Leah is involved in preserving the history and memories of each neighborhood in Colorado Springs, and this piece describes her work in more detail. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Every one of us, every house, every street, every neighborhood is an important part of our collective story,” she said.

Of course, I completely understand. I’ve spent most of the last 35 years telling the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Typically, many can’t fathom why I want to meet them and tell their stories.

Anyway, in response to that column, readers started sending in their photos and histories. And Witherow hopes readers will send more.

“I was gone over Christmas and when I came back I started getting all these photos. It’s like I received a Christmas present with these photographs.”

For example, she was tickled to learn of efforts in Ivywild by Linda Johnson and Molly Merry to collect old photos, take contemporary photos, record oral histories of longtime residents and write a history book of the neighborhood south of downtown Colorado Springs.

And she’s equally enthused about other folks who responded to her request.

“We are getting fantastic images of distinct neighborhoods,” she said. “We’re thrilled.”

She especially likes the before-and-after photos some have sent.

“Historians and geographers are always interested in showing change over time,” she said, noting that in 50 years, all the photos of current life will be historic. “Over time, the change can be dramatic. It’s terribly exciting to see. We’d really like before-and-after photos.

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UCCS History Alumni News: New Books, Publications, and Radio Broadcasts

Happy 2015 from the UCCS History Department.

We wanted to start out this year by noting some recent accomplishments of a couple of our recent graduates.

Kyle Miller was a student in our BA and MA programs, and now teaches middle school locally. He has recently authored the book Cnut: Rise of a Viking WArriorWe asked Kyle to describe his book, and here’s what he sent back:

My book is entitled Cnut: Rise of a Viking Warrior. It is about a teenager who grew up in Wessex, but was of Viking descent. Once he reconnected with his people, he learns their culture and it replaces his own. As he learns, he joins them in raids and in adventures across the sea.

 The inspiration for this book was my middle school students. They enjoyed the stories I told in class and they thought I should do an historical fiction work. I decided on the Vikings because of their current popularity because of the television series, as well as the popularity of the lessons I teach on Vikings among my students. While the main character is fictional, some of the people are historical figures, and several of the events are actual events. The research process for the book was a great experience; however, the editing and publishing process was definitely tedious and time consuming. In the end, everything was worth it once the final product was in my hand. I am currently working on the second book in the four part series and still loving the research and the writing!
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Ludlow minersSecondly, our M.A. graduate Captain Adam Morgan was recently appointed as the official historian of the Colorado National Guard. Morgan has been involved in a number of projects with his new assignment, including dealing with two of the most difficult issues of Colorado history, the Sand Creek Massacre and the Ludlow Massacre (1864 and 1914).

Morgan recently appeared on the special one-hour documentary on the  Ludlow Massacre which aired on the excellent locally-produced KRCC program Wish We Were Here. The program, entitled “Ludlow and Its Legacy,” is a moving portrait of the events at Ludlow and their aftermath, featuring voices of major historians such as Thomas Andrews, poets such as Dave Mason, and our own Captain Morgan. Morgan has also recently authored a searching and sensitive essay about Sand Creek and Ludlow and their relationship to the Colorado National Guard. See “Ludlow, Sand Creek: Could They Happen Again?

Congratulations to Kyle and Adam for their accomplishments in presenting history, in a variety of formats and genres, to broad public audiences.

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Wunderli Scholarships: Now Open for Application In Your Student Portal

The History Department is delighted to announce a NEW scholarship program for all undergraduate History majors, and graduate students: The Wunderli scholarships. Applications are NOW OPEN to apply for this scholarship, through your student portal. The deadline for the application is March 1. Scholarships will be given in amounts UP TO $5000 for the next school year. Please see the information below, or go here to the UCCS scholarship page for more information.

Wunderli Scholarship

Description

The Wunderli Scholarships, named after the Department’s esteemed Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, provides support for undergraduate History majors and graduate students in our M.A. program. It is funded by a generous bequest from Judith Price (1944-2012), a long-time Instructor in Asian History in the Department. We seek especially to assist students whose financial burdens may interfere with the pursuit of a degree in history, as well as students with a record of extraordinary accomplishment. Awards may vary from $1,000 to $5,000 for the academic year. Student must demonstrate financial need by competing the FAFSA no later than March 1.

Application Requirements

The following requirements must be submitted via the UCCS Scholarship Application in the portal.

  • Special Essay

Special Essay Topic

Address each topic below in less than 1,000 words total:

  • Describe where you are at in your History program, what courses you have taken in the History Department, and when you plan to graduate.
  • Describe your current total financial picture in terms of paying for your college education/graduate degree. Please list all sources of support û from parents, family, significant other, other scholarships and fellowships you may be receiving, student grants and loans, and any other financial means of support that you currently rely on to pay for your education. Preference for this scholarship is for students with limited sources of external support.
  • Describe your career to date at UCCS; why you are a History major or pursuing a graduate degree in History?
  • How would being a recipient of this scholarship assist you in achieving your goals in our program?
  • How would being a scholarship recipient alleviate you from other financial burdens û student loans, long work hours, etc. û that might hinder you from achieving your goals as a History student?
  • If you are a graduate student, please indicate what you hope to accomplish with your M.A. degree.

Award Status

Applicants will be notified of scholarship results in the beginning of May.

Application Procedures

If you think you are eligible for this scholarship and would like to apply, log in to the UCCS Scholarship Application.

Deadline

03/01/2015

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Habits of Mind

Paul Harvey

I have just completed another Senior Thesis course with a group of 16 very game and able students who produced some wonderful works of history based on original research. Sometimes other department heads and people at other institutions have asked me, “why do you make all your majors do a SEnior Thesis? Shouldn’t that be for the Honors students”?

The answer, I think, is beautifully explained in this piece by renowned historians James Grossman and Anthony Grafton, entitled “Habits of Mind: Why College Students Who Do Serious Historical Research Become Independent, Analytical Thinkers.”  Here is a brief excerpt, which I hope will entice you to read all of it. And this is a good place to send anyone to who questions the values of work that we do in the Humanities, and specifically in History:

Why do we teach these students—fresh, bright young undergraduates—to do research? Why take people who are forming themselves, who should be thinking about life, death, and the universe, and send them off to an archive full of dusty documents and ask them to tell us something new about the impact of the Civil War in a country town in Pennsylvania or Virginia, or the formation of Anglo-Norman kingship, or the situation of slaves in the Old South?

The answer is so simple that we sometimes forget to give it, but it matters. We teach students to do research because it’s one powerful way to teach them to understand and appreciate the past on its own terms, while at the same time finding meaning in the past that is rooted in the student’s own intellect and perspective. Classrooms and assigned readings are necessary to provide context: everyone needs to have an outline in mind, if only to have something to take apart; and everyone needs to know how to create those outlines and query them constructively. Reading monographs and articles is vital, too. To get past the big, generalized stories, you have to see how professional scholars have formed arguments, debated one another, and refined theories in light of the evidence.

But the most direct and powerful way to grasp the value of historical thinking is through engagement with the archive—or its equivalent in an era when oral history and documentary photography can create new sources, and digital databases can make them available to anyone with a computer. The nature of archives varies as widely as the world itself. They can be collections of documents or data sets, maps or charts, books with marginal notes scrawled in them that let you look over the shoulders of dead readers, or a diary that lets you look over the shoulder of a dead midwife. What matters is that the student develops a question and then identifies the particular archive, the set of sources, where it can be answered.

Why do this? Partly because it’s the only way for a student to get past being a passive consumer and critic and to become a creator, someone who reads other historians in the light of having tried to do what they do. Partly because it’s the way that historians help students master skills that are not specific to history. When students do research, they learn to think through problems, weigh evidence, construct arguments, and then criticize those arguments and strip them down and make them better—and finally to write them up in cogent, forceful prose, using the evidence deftly and economically to make their arguments and push them home.

The best defense for research, however, is that it’s in the archive where one forms a scholarly self—a self that, when all goes well, is intolerant of weak arguments and loose citation and all other forms of shoddy craftsmanship; a self that doesn’t accept a thesis without asking what assumptions and evidence it rests on; a self that doesn’t have a lot of patience with simpleminded formulas and knows an observation from an opinion and an opinion from an argument.

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Cemetery Crawl in Fountain Saturday October 18th!

A Quick Reminder:
This year’s UCCS Cemetery Crawl is Saturday, October 18th.

A group of UCCS history students will join with faculty in October to recreate local history and raise funds to protect a local cemetery.

For the third year, students in Barbara Headle’s “The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries, Memory and American History”course will team with former students and returning volunteers to lead tours of the Fountain Fairview Cemetery, 757 South Santa Fe Ave. After extensive research, students will don period dress and relate the stories of the people buried at the cemetery who settled and developed the Fountain Valley during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This year’s emphasis is on the children who lived in Fountain. UCCS students and volunteers will interpret the children’s life stories.

The tours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 18. The final tour begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students with identification and free for those less than 12 years old. Proceeds from the tour and a concurrent silent auction at the Fountain Public Library will fund the repair of damaged headstones in the cemetery and future installation of a video surveillance system.

This year’s cemetery crawl is dedicated to the memory of Alicia Gutscher, a UCCS graduate with an Anthropology degree. Not long after last year’s event, for which she was a student volunteer, Alicia was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She passed away on February 17, 2014. She was 25 years old.

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October Cemetery Tours — Article from UCCS Communique

History students, faculty to lead October cemetery tours

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A group of UCCS history students will join with faculty in October to recreate local history and raise funds to protect a local cemetery.

For the third year, students in Barbara Headle’s “The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries, Memory and American History”course will team with former students and returning volunteers to lead tours of the Fountain Fairview Cemetery, 757 South Santa Fe Ave. After extensive research, students will don period dress and relate the stories of the people buried at the cemetery who settled and developed the Fountain Valley during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This year’s emphasis is on the children who lived in Fountain. UCCS students and volunteers will interpret the children’s life stories.

The tours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 18. The final tour begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students with identification and free for those less than 12 years old. Proceeds from the tour and a concurrent silent auction at the Fountain Public Library will fund the repair of damaged headstones in the cemetery and future installation of a video surveillance system.

“Children have always been full participants in the unfolding of human history,” Headle said recently. “However, sometimes the vacant chair or the empty child’s bed is all that remains after a child is gone. Their experiences are important. When we exclude them from the historical narrative, we leave a void in our history that is, at best, difficult to recover.”

For example, the students will research and tell the story of a 14-year-old girl buried at Fairview. While her life was short, her story tells the travails of a community ravished by Spanish Influenza, a pandemic of 1918-19. Her father also perished as a result of the illness. That child’s headstone, a 150-pound marble block shaped in the form of a tree stump with an inscription “a life cut short” was recently toppled by vandals.

“Some of the children may have passed away too early to have had a voice from themselves,” Kim Sweetwood, a history graduate student, said. “Students will portray their relatives, or their friends, talking about these children and the general context of history in Fountain when they were living and when they passed away.”

In addition to her history studies, Sweetwood is also a sign language interpreter at many UCCS events and works as a student assistant in the Department of History.

This week, Sweetwood presented invitations to the Oct. 18 cemetery tour to members of the Fountain City Council. The council recently authorized additional funding for a video surveillance system, an issue that Headle and her students brought forward when they began the project three years ago. In the past three years, the faculty and student-led project has raised about $5,500.

For Headle, the cemetery tours bring together the research and presentation skills necessary for academic and career success. Cemeteries offer a unique peek into a community’s past, she says, becoming mirrors of the living community by reflecting group cultural values. Making community history more realistic by focusing on an individual, and for the benefit of a near-to-campus community, are added benefits.

For more information about the event, contact Sweetwood, 433-4597, orksignsasl@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/FFFCemetery

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