Academic Profile: Teddy Roosevelt’s America

Hi everyone! March seemed to fly by this year, as it usually does, and this week I wanted to profile one of my favorite classes. Teddy Roosevelt’s America is my 110 level history course that is all first year students and taught by one of my favorite professors, Prof. Ed O’Donnell. We examine the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the lens of Roosevelt’s complex and sometimes controversial presidency while learning important reading and writing skills.

Each class, we usually talk as a full group and then meet in smaller groups to discuss the readings or viewings for that particular class. It is extra helpful to first be able to bounce ideas or interpretations off peers rather than in front of the whole class right away! Then we reconvene as a class and one or two people will share some of the best ideas we had in our group. We’re about halfway through the semester, but I can already tell my oral presentation skills have improved!

We also have a couple semester-long projects, including a podcast project, in which two students choose an event from 1870-1920 (roughly TR’s period of relevance) and produce a 7-10 minute podcast about it. There is a lot of research involved in not only the history aspect (mine is about the Flu Epidemic of 1918) but also on how to write and deliver an effective podcast, including narrative storytelling and background music and sounds! We will even get to record them in a soundbooth on campus before the end of the semester! Part of our homework for each class is listening to history podcasts to learn not only about the history itself but also how the narrators style and craft the podcast itself.

We also have two debates throughout the semester. The debate takes a full class period and each group member has either a major speaking role or writing role. We take a step away from our era in history to discuss modern topics, like DACA and gun control.  I am looking forward to mine in April!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s profile on one of my favorite classes, Teddy Roosevelt’s America! Check back in soon to hear more updates from the hill!


Spring Break Immersion: Glasgow, VA

Hi everyone! I hope you all survived the snow and enjoyed a restful spring break (if you had one!). As I mentioned last time, I spent my spring break in Glasgow, VA immersing myself in their culture and values–and had a great time!

The trip was interesting to say the least. Most days were spent doing service work for the community, like cleaning and doing yard work for elderly citizens and painting the community center. We were also invited to a variety of church services and meals, which gave us an opportunity to interact with members of the community and hear their stories. Like all groups on SBIP, we all participated in reflection at the end of every day to help process what we had seen and heard and help find meaning in what we were doing.

My group and I were graciously welcomed at the local Episcopal church for dinner one evening.

While in Glasgow, we were housed in a local community center (which we eventually helped paint) and slept on cots. We cooked some of our own meals and were generously fed by members of the community for others. A big part of Appa specifically is “roughing it,” or not totally knowing what we are going to do next, but it makes the trip exciting and fun!

In addition to meeting a great community, my group from Holy Cross was able to bond and now we are all great friends! I loved getting to know upperclassmen whom I may not have met otherwise. Our bond is definitely unique, as we spent a whole week living, working and learning about this great community together.

My group and I right before we left Glasgow at the end of the week!

For now, I will just have my souvenirs to remind me of my great week as I adjust back to reality and prepare for midterms and papers. Check back in soon to hear about more happenings on the Hill!