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Raymond Franklin (Armstrong 2010) has returned to his alma mater to pursue a Master’s in History. He credits his undergraduate research projects as a history major with influencing his decision to pursue graduate work. He explains, “My first real experience with undergraduate research was during the fall of 2008. I wrote a paper on the origins of Pharaoh Akhenaton and his religious reforms during the 14th dynastic period. Under the advice of Dr. Tatlock, I decided to submit my paper to the Middle-East Student Symposium. It was a fantastic experience and certainly prepared me for graduate school.” Franklin recognizes that his experiences conducting undergraduate research prepared him for graduate school and allowed him to gain real world experience.
Franklin cites History 3500 and History 4500 as key courses that helped him strengthen his research method, from choosing a research topic to gathering sources to writing a polished analysis. Franklin recalls one of his favorite papers about the destruction of Belgium during the First World War, “My research demonstrated that much of the country’s historic libraries and universities, most notably in Louvain, were nearly completely destroyed during Germany’s annexation.”
Interest in history provides Franklin with the drive and discipline required to investigate historical topics and come up with original theses. He credits the research librarians of Lane Library as well as his professors with providing him with the proper tools and resources for investigating historical topics on his own time. He says, “The classes and assignments I had as an undergraduate, in tandem with the guidance of both faculty and staff, allowed me to realize my potential as a serious student of history.”
Franklin graduated with a B.A. in history in December 2010. After graduation he decided that the pursuit of a M.A. in history was the correct choice for him. He attributes his desire to continue studying history to his academic experiences and involvement with undergraduate research. “I couldn’t get enough,” he says. “The desire to conduct historical research and produce a paper worthy of placing my name on became a goal in and of itself.” Franklin served as the Graduate Assistant for Undergraduate Research in the Liberal Arts.
With a Master’s degree, Franklin hopes to become a professor of history. “I’ve realized that history is in my blood. Is there really anything else?”