One of the objectives of higher education is to help students gain specialized knowledge. Unfortunately, undergraduates have few opportunities to pursue this knowledge through research. The papers written by Ryan Gilbert and Elizabeth Schuelke are examples of what undergraduate students can accomplish when given the chance to be university-based researchers.
The Department of Anthroplogy at UNT believes that research is a necessary and important component of undergraduate learning. Like many of my colleagues, I mentor students like Elizabeth Schuelke through Special Problems courses in order to encourage their research interests. In addition, I create opportunities for undergraduate research through existing anthropology classes such as my course on Latinos in the U.S to give students like Ryan Gilbert the chance to participate in an ongoing research project. Recently, the Anthropology Students Association (ASA) partnered with the Honors College as a co-sponsor of University Scholars Day. Many anthropology students presented papers at this undergraduate conference as well as other national and international professional meetings. Some of their work has been published in previous issues of the The Eagle Feather.
Ryan Gilbert interviewed a Latina college student for the Chicano/a Latino/a Oral History Project (CLAHP). His analysis identifies the experiences of a Germxican with the educational issues addressed in the literature about Chicanas. Elizabeth Schuelke researched the scholarly literature on Whiteness after taking several of my classes. Her research synthesizes the relevant literature and provides suggestions for further analysis that she wants to pursue in the future as a graduate student.
I am delighted that The Eagle Feather is once again publishing the work of anthropology students. The opportunities that we create for undergraduate student researchers are valuable to them and their research benefits us all.