MUW historians, political scientists hit road

February 28, 2009



Dr. Erin Kempker, an Indiana native and new history professor at Mississippi University for Women, is going to get acquainted with her new state very quickly.  


As part of a program sponsored by the Department of History, Political Science and Geography, Kempker will travel throughout the state to present a lecture to high school students on "Malls, McDonalds and McCarthyism in the 1950s." Some of the lectures have also been sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council.  


The trip is part of an effort by MUW''s Department of History, Political Science and Geography to bring the college experience to high school students. Dr. Brian Anderson, professor of political science, is a veteran of the program.  


"I''ve spoken to both auditoriums full of students and to small classrooms. (The talks allow) high school students to work with the type of ... themes and questions that are standard in the college classroom," Anderson said. "Many students seem excited about moving on to college, and I think we encourage them to consider the intellectual challenges that await them." 


In addition to lectures on political science or history, the program offers a presentation that directly addresses the college experience.  


Dr. Thomas Velek, professor of history presents his lecture, "Do I Really Want to Do This? Why Devote Another Four Years of Your Life to Higher Education." Due to the enthusiastic response to this element of the program, it was featured in January as part of the GEAR UP Mississippi program. The GEAR UP program actively encourages students to set high academic expectations, stay in school, study hard and take courses that will prepare them to enter and succeed in college.  


"We''re really happy that this experience has been rewarding for Mississippi high school students and their teachers. And delivering these lectures has been rewarding for us, too," said Dr. Michael Burger, chair of the History, Political Science and Geography department. "It''s exhausting, but it''s worth it." 


To find out how to bring a lecturer to your school, contact Burger at 662-329-7386 or e-mail [email protected]