Summer fellowship moves research beyond the library
There’s so much more to history than you can learn in class.
Can you imagine getting to spend your summer break attending and taking part in re-enacting and living history and getting paid to do it? Patrick Kinghan, a third-year history student who participated in a summer fellowship with Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning (CURL) this past summer did just that.
With funding from CURL, Patrick spent part of his summer researching historical re-enactment and its value for historical education. He participated in experiential research opportunities, attended historical re-enactments as both an observer and a participant—including joining the artillery crew!—and had the opportunity to meet with and interview the re-enactors themselves.
When asked about the greatest take away from his CURL experience, Patrick reflected that he was able to recognize and appreciate the variety of ways in which people engage with history. “There’s so much more to history than you can learn in class,” he explained.
CURL projects are designed to enrich students’ undergraduate career by providing immersive research experiences. When asked how his CURL fellowship has helped his undergrad degree, Patrick explained how the mentorship aspect of the fellowship—working with Dr. Tim Compeau (Department of History)—made the experience feel like a real life academic situation.
“CURL projects teach you extensive research and critical thinking through giving you a new environment where these skills are rigorously honed,” he says, “often in undergrad you don’t have the opportunity to do research outside of the library.” The trust that the CURL staff puts in students to conduct meaningful research is beyond compare. With a laugh, Patrick says, “I’m in second year. I should not be able to do this kind of research.”
The friendships and community formed from his CURL fellowship were what stood out for Patrick upon being asked whether his CURL summer fellowship will continue to serve him after university. CURL is also a strong springboard for other research opportunities later on in life, especially with the accommodation and the support of the CURL staff. “CURL is really kind and flexible” explains Patrick, “It was a really good system to go through for my first research project.”