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Student Involvement

Graduate students were involved in all aspects of the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project. Some conducted interviews, others worked on office systems to manage the large amount of material generated by oral history interviews. Students did research on organizational, legal, compensation and atomic veterans issues thus contributing to the project’s research library. Others assisted in processing interviews for the library archive along with organizing donated manuscript and photographs. Among the areas of strong student interest that resulted in oral histories for the collection were: The history of the peace and anti-nuclear activism (Suzanne Becker, Sociology) and personnel involved in the 1988 U.S./U.S.S.R Joint Verification Experiment (Joan Leavitt, History). Students have presented papers at academic conferences and are using the project archives for individual research projects.

Julia Stetler, project intern and Leisl Carr Childers, graduate assistant and office manager prepare documents for placement in Special Collections, summer 2007.
Julia Stetler, project intern and Leisl Carr Childers, graduate assistant and office manager prepare documents for placement in Special Collections, summer 2007.

Graduate student education was a central mission of the project. More than forty students were involved in all aspects of large-scale oral history research. The funding supported three graduate assistants: Shannon Applegate (History) 2004-2005, Suzanne Becker (Sociology), 2004-2006, and Leisl Carr Carr Childers (History) 2005-2008. Others were involved through oral and public history methods classes, independent studies and internships. Students received training in oral history and public history methods with a strong emphasis on field experience and conducted approximately 50% of the interviews. Students were encouraged to pursue their research interests when working on the project. The archive reflects students’ varying levels of research skill and their individual approaches to test site history.

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