Exploring the past, educating the present

By Kiara Morris, Staff Writer

On Sept. 25, Armstrong Geography professor, Amy Potter, delivered a lecture on plantations in the American South and how they treat the topic of slavery.
The study focused on four plantations in Louisiana known as the River Road Plantations.

Potter noted that in completing her study she was able to use her prior experience of being a tour guide in Baton Rouge.

“My time as a guide has proved particularly useful to this research project, especially as we were crafting the interview instrument because I had insights to guiding others that my research team simply did not have. It was fun to be on the interviewer side of things, to learn from the guides and compare their experiences to my own,” Potter said.

Dr. Potter’s education heavily influences her work. With a Master’s and PhD in Geography and a B.S. in Journalism, she is able to gather accurate information with her study groups.

“Having a newspaper background gave me the confidence to go on and conduct interviews for academic research. I am never shy when it comes to asking for an interview, even though I would actually consider myself a shy person in other situations. I also think the many years of experience allow me to be more in tune with my research participant’s comfort level because I’ve actually been conducting interviews since high school. That’s really where I had my start as a journalist.”

During her research, Dr. Potter found joy in connecting with her study groups and the great food and culture in Louisiana. In fact, she was able to bring an Armstrong student to participate in the research project with her.

She says, “The weekend our research team conducted interviews with the guides was an intense one, so I don’t really recall a specific fun moment. I do remember eating a really good shrimp po’ boy sandwich. Does that count?”

The research did not stop at collecting data. Dr. Potter and her team were fortunate to return to River Road this past spring. “[We] were able to reconnect with many of the guides we interviewed in June of 2013,” she said.

The Faculty Lecture Series is an enriching chance to see the current, ongoing work of faculty at Armstrong in their respective fields.

“It gives us a chance to hear from the individual faculty members about the research they’re doing. Of course, what the faculty are researching influences what they’re teaching in class, so you get a little deeper into the educational process if you participate in the series,” Political Science Professor, Daniel Skidmore-Hess, said.

Jaimelee Korolovich, a sophomore Biology Major left the lecture with a deeper understanding of history and its connection with tourism.

“The fact that many Southern plantation tours whitewash their scripts really baffles me, especially when they go out of their way to do so in order to please tourists. That’s what I took from it, that many of these plantations wrongfully whitewash a history that is just as African as it is Caucasian,” Korolovich said.

The Faculty lecture series is a great way to discover Research Assistant opportunities, hear insightful discussions and get to know the professors at Armstrong. For future lecture series dates and information visit theinkwellonline.com