Rep. Catlin, Others View Students' Research on NC Exports

Monday, April 28, 2014

The UNCW Department of History's Festival of Research happens every April, but this year's event had a few special guests in attendance.

NC Rep. Rick Catlin and John Hayes, executive director of The Foreign Trade Promotion Council, were on hand at the April 25 event to view student posters produced by Professor Mark Spaulding's History 495 seminar class (NC in Global Trade). Catlin is a sponsor of the NC Foreign Trade Promotion Council. Spaulding thought he would be interested to see the work of UNCW students who were writing the histories of several of NC's most important export commodities.

"Rep. Catlin and Mr. Hayes were very gracious in finding some time to meet with our students and discuss their research on the NC export economy," said Spaulding. "I had contacted Rep. Catlin's office about this class some months ago; he was glad to hear that we had a group of students exploring NC's exports."

Spaulding's class was supported by funding through ETEAL, UNCW's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that supports faculty, staff and students' efforts to enhance academic achievement through applied learning.

"ETEAL funding allowed our class to tour the Port of Wilmington, and for students to have some of their research and travel expenses covered. This class could not have taken place as it did without ETEAL funding that helped put students in direct contact with their research materials," said Spaulding.

"Rep. Catlin's and Mr. Hayes' visits are a very nice added bonus to a well-executed history class that ETEAL was more than happy to support," said Jess Boersma, interim director of ETEAL.

UNCW senior Sara Blackman, whose poster was on "NC Aircraft Exports," said it was "exciting to have distinguished guests" at the event and joked that she is "exporting herself to Hawaii" after graduation.

Melissa Williamson, who presented on NC cigarette exports and plans to become a high school social studies teacher after graduating, said she was surprised to learn how many different exports are imperative to NC's economy. "I had no idea that civilian aircraft parts were number one," she said.

Posters from other history classes on subjects ranging from ancient Roman Gaul to contemporary Jewish humor were on display as well. Other guests in attendance included Martin Posey, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Stephen McNamee, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.