Association names Erwin “Graduate Student of the Year”

The Arkansas Museums Association has named a public history graduate student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock its “Graduate Student of the Year.”

Jessica Erwin, a graduate assistant in the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) since fall 2014, has been involved with a variety of projects at the Center.

image of graduate assistant Jessica Erwin who is receiving the Public History Graduate Student of the Year award is with an African penguin on March 15, 2016. She worked at the LR Zoo where she was the project manager for the Public History Seminar course during the fall of 2015 (the class writes a history of a selected institution every other year).

Jessica Erwin

Erwin took the lead on digitizing and creating metadata for the recently discovered Lucious Christopher (L.C.) Bates oral history tapes, which document his years as owner of the Arkansas State Press.

She also collaborated with CAHC staff to create the virtual web exhibit As Much as the Water: How Steamboats Shaped Arkansas, a complex, multifaceted web design project containing several dropdown pages and photographic images.

Additionally, Erwin has spent hours in the CAHC Digital Services Lab familiarizing herself with a variety of digitization equipment including: flatbed scanners, overhead scanners, reel-to-reel tape, audio cassettes, vinyl, 16 mm film, VHS, and DVD systems.

She has archived 15 linear feet of material and processed 13 since beginning her assistantship.

In addition to her assistantship, Erwin co-led the fall 2015 UALR graduate school seminar in Public History, a capstone course led by Dr. Deborah J. Baldwin, associate provost of the UALR Collections and Archives Division. The course requires students to research and create a history of a noted Little Rock institution, in this case the Little Rock Zoo.

Each year the Arkansas Museums Association presents awards to celebrate and encourage excellence within Arkansas museums and cultural institutions.

The Graduate Student of the Year Award is given to a graduate student in the area of museum, public history, archival management or related field who has shown academic excellence with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and has a minimum of 12 hours completed in the program.

The successful nominee demonstrates initiative and leadership skills, has shown a willingness to collaborate with faculty, staff, and other graduate students and is committed to working in the museum, public history, archival management, or related field.

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