The Summer Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (SURI) program recently launched at Longwood has found six coordinated projects to fund among students and faculty in History and Political Science. For these students, this is an exceptionally focused and supported opportunity since they will be dedicating themselves wholly to their research, thanks to a $3500 stipend and room/board provided by the program.
In Political Science, Dr. Scott Cole will be pursuing research into the ever-changing parameters of US and Venezuelan foreign policies even as he mentors student Katie Kinsey's own study of how social media has affected political participation by millennials in the US. In particular, Cole will be looking at how the Organization of American States (OAS), which should otherwise be in a perfect position to mediate misunderstandings between the US and Venezuela, has been shunned by Venezuela as being too much a tool of American policies. On Kinsey's side, her project will look at case studies, with the recent election as the most obvious vein to mine, of how the up-and-coming generation's relationship to all the outlets of social media is affecting their relationship with traditional political processes.
In the concentration of Public History, Prof. Deborah Welch and student Amanda Duncan are going to research the changing effects of Type 2 Diabetes (once known as "adult onset" but now appearing at an average age of 8 years old). Their particular contribution, however, will be to show the impact on American Indian populations by exploring diet, nutrition, and food preparation of Indians in the era of first European contact. Pictorial evidence indicates there was an absence of diabetes. Welch and Duncan will study the pre-contact diets, the indigenous foods that were available, plus the habits of cooking without metal implements. Where possible, they will update these traditional recipes and methods so as to benefit today's Indian communities in Virginia.
In European History, Dr. James Munson and Honors College history major Mary Zell Galen are going to coordinate their studies of the English economy during the era of the French Revolution. Munson will be pushing his prior research to tackle new questions: in this case, how the French looked at the English economy and drew certain conclusions about perceived advantages and disadvantages held by their perennial foes/competitors. In conjunction with Munson's focus, Galen will study the controversy that roiled England in 1797-1821 as the nation debated whether and how to leave the gold standard.