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Student-faculty collaborative research takes pair of Blugolds around Europe

| Denise Olson

UW-Eau Claire is widely known for excelling in undergraduate collaborative research, and the International Fellows Program stands out nationally as a leader in globalizing this type of research opportunity. The International Fellows Program for Research, Service, and Creative Activity is made possible by a multi-year Blugold Commitment Grant, and supports projects that take faculty and small groups of students abroad to conduct collaborative research combined with a service-learning component. 

One of the recipients of the IFP funding for 2016 was professor of history, Dr. Patricia Turner, and research student Amanda Krueger. The project submission, titled "Why Do Revolutions Fail?: National Identity, Popular Mobilization and Counter-Revolution in Brittany, 1791-1799,"  took the pair to London, Paris, the region of Brittany in France and the Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy.

"It was an amazing trip for both Amanda and myself, and we are currently analyzing the material we found (all 158 gigabytes of it!). Amanda will be presenting the research at CERCA next spring, and I will be contributing portions of our findings to a political biography I am writing about a French aristocrat and military officer who fought FOR the American Revolutionaries and AGAINST the French Revolutionaries," Turner said. 

With a narrative emphasis on the student experience, Krueger submitted the following personal account of her experience:

Collaborating with Dr. Turner was one of the highlights of my undergraduate experience. The research that we conducted was rigorous, and the opportunity to travel to France and England to work in national and municipal archives was the perfect way to end my undergraduate experience with the history department.

I intend to teach secondary social studies, and I plan to use this experience to the benefit of my future students by incorporating more hands-on experiences related to primary sources. An immersion experience that combines research and foreign language skills will also allow me to better advocate for global learning to my future students, and it will help them to consider concrete ways that they are global citizens.

Researching in France also gave me the opportunity to use my foreign language skills in an authentic context. I had always wanted to travel to France, but other study abroad opportunities through the university did not fit well with my dual-degree program. This research really helped my history capstone to feel more real to me, and it gave me hands on experience working professionally in a foreign language. While that work was challenging, navigating my field in this new context allowed me to broaden how I think of myself as a historian, student, and educator.

I also enjoyed being culturally immersed in London and France. I tried new types of cuisine, enjoyed visiting historical sites, and was able to also travel independently following our trip, which gave me a lot of confidence to step out of my comfort zone and find success. This experience has been valuable to me professionally and personally, and I am so grateful for the opportunity and the for the support of the history department, ORSP and Dr. Turner.