Hello everyone! My name is Kayla. I am a second year History graduate student at the University of Central Florida. I entered the graduate program in the Fall 2015 semester on the traditional track. My areas of research include the First World War, women, and gender. I am currently finishing course work and will start thesis hours this summer.
While I am on the traditional track, I strive to incorporate public history into my academic career. This semester I am partaking in an internship, which not only includes my research interests, but it is also a public history project.
My internship this term is with the Florida in World War I project that began in my first semester in the graduate program. Dr. Barbara Gannon taught a colloquium course on the First World War and in preparing for the course found little exists on Florida during the First World War. As the centennial of America’s entry into the war is coming up (April 6th!), Dr. Gannon enlisted our class to begin the project by gathering materials on Florida during World War I. The goal is to collect materials that can then be used to create a variety of resources to share with the public about Florida during the First World War. Since that first semester, the project has grown immensely. In collaboration with our department, the faculty, and graduates and undergraduates, we have gathered a substantial amount of materials that have been used to create conference papers and panels, lesson plans, encyclopedia entries, databases and more. One of the goals for my internship this semester is to take all of these resources and put them together on a website that can be accessed by the public. In addition, I will also be creating original content that will be placed on the website as well.
This term I will also be working with two undergraduate courses that will contribute to the project. One assignment for one of the courses will be completing is transcribing World War I service cards that are scanned on Florida Memory (https://www.floridamemory.com). At the start of this project back in Fall 2015, a group of graduate students, including myself, transcribed the city of Orlando into a database. This term, the undergraduate course will work on the city of Tampa. Transcribing the service cards creates a searchable database out of a primary source that has only been partially searchable. Fellow graduate students and I demonstrated how this data can be mapped to show things like birth places, migration patterns after the war, and more. We have presented this aspect of the project a number of times, including at UCF’s Graduate Research forum in April 2016 and at the Florida Historical Society Annual Meeting in May 2016.
I am grateful to have been a part of this project from the beginning and I am looking forward to continuing the project this term. I am excited to be putting together the hub that will make all of the information and materials that have been found accessible to the public.