This fall marks the beginning of the third year of Academic Journeys, an oral history project that I am coordinating focused on interviews with African American students. I am interested in their evolving experiences – their academic journeys – at the university.
This semester, my student assistant Victoria Lefler has conducted several interviews for the project. So far, she has been most intrigued about “why people have chosen their specific majors/minors, as well as the hobbies they have.”
She was interested in that because “everyone has a unique story behind why they decided to pursue a specific major/minor, and the hobbies people have provided insight into how they see the world around them.”
Interviewing various students has given Victoria an opportunity to think about “my reason for majoring in dance and history, in addition to thinking about how my hobbies and interests affect my daily decisions.” She has also considered, “the different experiences each African American student has had on their academic journey.”
She said that she was surprised to learn “that many of these students share similar experiences and interests, yet each have unique backgrounds,” as that was not something she always thought about when it came to students at SIUE. But conducting interviews as part of the oral history project gave her reason to think about that issue.
Victoria will continue conducting interviews over the next couple of months, and then later, we will report on the observations we have made based on listening to students discuss their academic journeys.Related: