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UA and 100 Years of Arizona Statehood
In Martha Few's course, History 396, UA students have been researching and will present on UA people, achievements and traditions during 100 years of Arizona statehood.
What do UFOs, the Pride of Arizona marching band and Edward Abbey have in common?
Each is part of University of Arizona history during the first 100 years of Arizona's statehood.
As Arizona prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2012, UA students have scoured the Special Collections holdings to learn the stories behind some of the UA's major accomplishments and feats since 1912.
"We have such great resources on campus," said Martha Few, an associate professor of history and the department's graduate studies director. "This is a way to showcase both the University Libraries' Special Collections as well as our students' research."
The students will present their work Dec. 1 during the 2011 Student Research Symposium. The event, which will be held 4-6 p.m. in Special Collections at the Main Library, is free and open to the public.
The symposium is co-sponsored by the history department and Special Collections, marking an ongoing collaboration between the two. The symposium includes an open reception, poster session and student talks.
"They are bringing to light some of those nuggets you can't really find until you look closely," said Verónica Reyes-Escudero, an associate librarian for the UA Libraries and Special Collections.
Each student in the class will present during a poster session, with four students selected to present their papers. Those students are:
- UA Honors College student Alex Nuñez, "A Greater Arizona: James McKale's Early Career and the Ascension of Arizona Athletics, 1914-1925"
- Kevin Jung, "The Emergence of Astronomy at the University of Arizona: A. E. Douglass and the Steward Observatory, 1906-1923"
- Adam Krone, "The Streak: University of Arizona Basketball Under Coach Fred Enke, 1946-1951"
- Michelle Smith, "Edward Abbey: An Anarchist and Activist at the University of Arizona, 1981-1989"
For the last several years, Few has involved her students in research on the history of UA, utilizing Special Collections' holdings. Her course, History 396, is the capstone research class for UA history majors.
"The goal is for undergraduate majors to use all of their research skills, writing and critical thinking skills to determine research questions and find answers to those questions," Few said, adding that students also gain oral presentation skills.
For their research, students studied photographs, scrapbooks, memos, news clippings and other resources.
"We rely on Special Collections to be a core aspect of university life," Few said, adding that the collaboration is a "strategic priority that is important for our university and our students."
Joe Pacini, a UA senior, investigated the service of Jack K. Lee, the band director known for composing "Bear Down Arizona" and several other prominent band ensembles for the University.
Lee served as the marching band director at the UA for a period that spanned 1952 to 1980 and also wrote works for the orchestra, choir and concert band.
Pacini's project centered on Lee's "hard work, talent and fountain of new ideas." Above all, he attempted to understand how Lee transformed the marching band and created a specialized style and method of marching that has since been popularized across the nation.
"It really felt like an adventure, and I loved every moment of it," Pacini said, adding that he had to also rely heavily on personal journals and also documents from community members and the marching band fraternity and sorority."One of the main things I enjoyed the most about studying my project is the fact that I had a general idea of my project and who Jack Lee was, but as I really started to research I was able to learn so many things about Jack Lee," he said.
That is what he especially enjoyed about Few's course.
"I was able to learn so many things about the university and its history through other people's projects, it is really a great experience," Pacini said. "The class also really makes me feel accomplished, putting to use skills I have learned throughout my college career to a final history project."
Others students chose to investigate UA's history on topics that include UFO investigation at the University, the building of Arizona Stadium in 1929 on the eve of the Depression, how World War II affected the institution, the formation of the UA's marching band, the ascension of Arizona Athletics and the development of solar energy research, among other topics.
Reyes-Escudero said not only is the collaboration encouraging, but so is the continued enthusiasm and work of the students.
"To me, what's really important is that we have an opportunity to show what comes out of these classes," Reyes-Escudero said.
"It's not just about a visit or tour to Special Collections, but that there are learning outcomes that are being attained," she said. "In the end, it's not just a class. It's about being able to show their work and being able to articulate the research process."