Misericordia University students Amber Kelley of Dallas and Briana Scorey of Wilkes-Barre have been selected to present research posters at the 2017 Pennsylvania History Association (PHA) Annual Meeting being held in Scranton in October.
Kelley will present, "American Lithuanian Immigrants' Response to Soviet Union's Attack on Their Cultural Identity." The research project focuses on Lithuanian immigrants to the anthracite region of Northeastern Pennsylvania and changes to their historically strong cultural identity that took place in response to events happening in their home country under Soviet Union control. Response data was analyzed through brochures, booklets and journals created by Lithuanian organizations in the United States, as well as through letters written by immigrants stating their views on the issues in Lithuania. The senior history major's research also examined specific events that occurred in Lithuania that caused a reaction within the Lithuanian immigrant community in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Kelley's interest in Lithuanian cultural identity was forged during an internship at the Anthracite Heritage Museum (AHM) during the summer, where she assisted museum staff with a collection on Lithuanian immigrants. AHM has a practice of suggesting its interns consider larger research projects related to their collections. Under Dr. Black's direction, Kelley expanded her summer work and developed the cultural identity research project.
Scorey will present, "Shipboard Orientation: A Voyage in International Understanding." The study focuses on the American Friends Service Committee's (AFSC) involvement in the U.S. State Department's Operation Understanding (OU), a program in 1947 in which American students crossed the Atlantic Ocean on two converted warships with the goal to foster cooperation and compassion during a tense period of the Cold War. The OU program was designed to give young people the opportunity to travel to other countries, form bonds with individuals they met, and experience the compassion and connection of understanding people on an intimate level. AFSC provided an onboard orientation for the travelers with activities that ranged from dances and film screenings to language study groups and political discussions designed to help students develop a compassionate form of interaction. The action served as an important layer to creating peace in post-World War II history.
Scorey's interest in the OU topic was sparked by her participation in the Misericordia University public history class, Faith and Activism, taught by Dr. Black and fellow history professor Allan W. Austin, Ph.D. Scorey and her classmates produced, "Ambassadors of Goodwill: The American Friends Service Committee Abroad," a digital history exhibit highlighting the 100th anniversary of AFSC. Under Dr. Black's direction, the junior English and history major tailored her research from the AFSC project for presentation at the PHA conference. The "Ambassadors of Goodwill" exhibit is available online at http://mulocalhistoryprojects.org/afsc.
Misericordia University history professor Jennifer Black, Ph.D., center, is flanked by students Briana Scorey of Wilkes-Barre, left, and Amber Kelley of Dallas, right, who will present research posters at the 2017 Pennsylvania History Association Annual Meeting being held in Scranton in October.