The annual Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at York College of Pennsylvania provided an opportunity for four UMKC students and professor Jane Greer to take learning beyond the classroom.
English majors Abigail Osgood, Kara Lewis, Kynzie Inscho, and Michaela Weihe arrived at the workshop on September 9th excited to develop their research questions alongside published mentors from across the nation. These mentors and speakers shared insight on qualitative and quantitative research, archives, methodology and more as the workshop strived to expand and reinvigorate traditional definitions of research.
Senior Abigail Osgood exemplified this goal with her uniquely personal idea for an honors thesis. Osgood looked to her attic to begin this project, deciding to analyze the letters between her mother and great-grandmother in order to reconstruct a largely silenced family history.
“I thought my family’s history, which involves immigration and refugee experience from the Holocaust, was something I could work with,” Osgood said.
Junior Kynzie Inscho gained ideas to further her archival project based on the diary of a 1970s LGBT feminist activist. For Inscho, the political quickly became the personal.
“I got to learn a lot about her personal life and about the culture of gay people in the early ‘70s–how it wasn’t as widely accepted as it is today,” Inscho said. “It was really interesting to be able to have that experience and to just see some of the things that she had to deal with in her everyday life.”
Faculty mentor and UMKC instructor Jane Greer viewed the three-day workshop experience as a monumental and transformative experience for her students.
“Students become not students anymore, but really scholars and researchers, and that changes their sense of what they can do in the world as human beings,” Greer said.