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Undergraduate Research: Real Student Perspectives

Raymond Franklin

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?”

Dashiell Coleman

Dr. Monica Rausch, Assistant Professor of English, organizes summer internships for Armstrong students to hone their job skills and help them apply what they have learned in the classroom. Fittingly, she requires students to do much of the research of finding an internship on their own. She believes, “researching, applying for, and interviewing for an internship are all part of the internship’s learning process.”  She wants students to remember that the skills they use to get an internship are the same ones they will rely on in the future when looking for and applying for a job.  She counsels students not to “find an internship simply to ‘find an internship,’ or to earn course credit.  Interns who have done this in the past report getting very little of use out of the internship and have been miserable while completing it. This internship is your first opportunity to work in your future career field, so make the most of it!”

In 2010, English major, Dashiell Coleman, had an internship with the Savannah Morning News.  He submitted reports for the metro section of the newspaper.  He raved about his experience, “Translating what I saw into print to relay to the general public was nothing short of a wonderful experience. I’m now a more confident writer and I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. I’m excited to have chosen this career path and I can’t wait to get started writing for a living.” Check ourDash's Armstrong Experience for more on his internship work.