What #theFurmanAdvantage Means to Me

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The Communication Studies department featuring my Furman Advantage experience.

This past summer I was originally planning on going back to my hometown, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, for an internship in public relations or marketing. Things took a turn once Dr. John Armstrong introduced me to the opportunity of working under his wing and assisting him with his research on early radio. I was taking a Mass Communications course with him in the Spring and one afternoon I went into his office to ask him questions about an upcoming test. He asked me how I was doing and I told him that I was overwhelmed with trying to find an internship or a job that would allow me to grow in the communication industry and allow me to gain experience over the summer.

Dr. Armstrong told me that he was looking for a student to assist him in his research. I could not pass down the opportunity to work under my favorite professor and receive financial assistance to research, travel, and have free on-campus housing! This experience was tedious spending countless hours going through microfilm, but I learned so much about radio material and about myself. Summer research gave me a better understanding of patience and perseverance. I would not have experienced this wonderful opportunity at any other university or internship.

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Taking a break from our work with Dr. John Armstrong at the Lincoln Memorial.

I had the opportunity to work under Dr. John Armstrong in the Communication Studies department studying the world of early radio in South Carolina. Thanks to #theFurmanAdvantage, my summer entailed intensive research on campus, as well as the opportunity to travel, which incorporated both research and video interviews.

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Research on amateur radio stations at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

The heart of my research was primary sources. I spent my research on campus, specifically looking at Columbia’s The State and the Charleston News & Courier through microfilm. In this period of radio history, radio became highly commercialized.

During my summer research, I noticed that radio did not appear in newspapers, unless it related to the war and transmission from ship to ship. Once World War I came to an end, the emergence of radio began. From wireless telegraphy transmission being used for navigation to pioneering amateurs, radio became a vital tool for direct communication.

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The focus of my research and findings were on South Carolina Radio Stations in the early 1900s. I came across a lot of booklets on commercial and government radio stations of the United States from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The most rewarding aspect of this summer experience was being introduced to a new topic that I never got the chance to learn about in depth. It was such a positive experience and everything went smoothly, including our Charleston interviews and searching through newspapers with microfilm.

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An example of one of the many articles I came across while using microfilm.

On our Charleston trip, we interviewed Osei Chandler, Bill Saunders, and David Mack. The interviews went extremely well! I plan to use the video from the interviews in my research presentations at Furman Engaged and the SCICU conference. After our Charleston trip, we stopped in Columbia on our way back to Furman. We went to the collections section at the University of South Carolina and looked through old records on development of television in South Carolina. I found the collection of records from Walter Brown to be extremely interesting. There were so many boxes! Then, in mid-July we traveled to College Park, Maryland to do research at the National Archives. The focus of our research and findings were on South Carolina Radio Stations in the early 1900s. I came across booklets on commercial and government radio stations of the United States from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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In Charleston, South Carolina interviewing Osei Chandler at his home about his role and experience in the S.C. radio industry.

I enjoyed my research so much that I am currently doing a 2-credit independent study under Dr. Armstrong this coming fall semester to continue my research. The purpose of this two credit independent study is to dive deeper into the depths of early radio in Greenville, South Carolina. I am studying how radio (wireless) evolved over the course of the early twentieth century and how it played a significant role in the development of communication. Examining microfilm of The Greenville News at the time will allow me to understand how radio was utilized by radio operators, whether it be through navy stations or amateurs.

This research experience benefited my studies here at Furman and I am beyond grateful that I was granted this summer research experience!

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Vising the Newseum in the heart of D.C. to learn more about mass mediums and the history of the news.

In February of 2018, I will present my research at SCICU (South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities). In addition, I will have to submit a one page abstract  to the SCICU (South Carolina’s Independent Colleges and Universities). On April 10, 2018, I will present at Furman Engaged through the Communication Studies department.

I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to use Furman’s resources to explore your interests whether it be through research, an internship, or a fellowship.

Be sure to check out the Furman Advantage website for additional information: http://thefurmanadvantage.com/

Don’t forget, #imyourPALauren

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