Journalism students research parish past

May 17, 2012 | General News, Liberal Arts

Eighteen journalism students enrolled in Journalism History and Ethics at Louisiana Tech received hands-on experience in serving the community.
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From left, journalism students Hilary Burgmeier, Molly Bowman and Scott Walkingstick worked on a project about the history of the Chautauqua Movement.

Dr. Elizabeth Christian, an assistant professor of journalism, said for the final project of the class, students focused on Lincoln Parish history. Students conducted research and interviewed individuals knowledgeable about the railroad’s impact on Ruston, the peach industry, and the Chautauqua Movement. “I have wanted to incorporate a service learning project into the classroom for a while, and this course was ideal,” Christian said. “Students researched old newspapers and articles and interviewed historians knowledgeable on the subjects and wrote papers but more importantly created displays to donate to the Lincoln Parish Museum to add to their already amazing collection.” Christian added that the assistance of Lincoln Parish Museum Director Margaret Anne Emory was invaluable to the project. “Tech students spend an average of four years or more in this community, and I think we need to find ways to connect them more with the community,” she said. Emory said she was impressed that the students’ excitement matched Christian’s. “I honestly was so flattered they wanted to come,” Emory said. “(Christian) came first, and I thought, ‘Wow, she is a go-getter.’ The students love her. They said she is such a cool teacher. They must have really enjoyed the class.”
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From left, journalism students Addie Martin, Chad Merritt, Zach Beaird, and Grace Moore gave a presentation about the history of the railroad that goes through Ruston.

Emory added that the students’ work will be on display in the museum, which is located at 609 N. Vienna Street. Addie Martin, a freshman journalism and English major from West Monroe, said this was one of her favorite class projects. “I enjoyed learning about the railroad,” she said. “The railroad is the reason Ruston is here.” Martin also said she enjoyed contributing to a project that gave back to the community. “I’m really big on community service,” she said. “The community helps so much. They contribute to Tech. I don’t think the students know just how much. We need to give back to them.”