Author: csflood

Sharing Research about Women Who Fish Through a StoryMap

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Savannah Obert-Pfeiffer is a soon-to-be third year student majoring in Sustainability Science and Society. The following blog was written as part of the Department of Social Sciences’ Undergraduate Program for Exploration and Research in Social Sciences (UPERSS) at Michigan Tech University.

What was your UPERSS project?

For my project I created a StoryMap website to represent a Social Sciences Department graduate student project titled, “Connections: Stories from Women Who Fish”. 

Why did you use StoryMap rather than creating a “regular” website? 

StoryMap is a platform that can be used in many different ways, including creating a web page designed around a specific map, it can be used like I did with more of a website but fun and interactive pieces, as well as making it a guided tour of the webpage. StoryMap is a good platform to use to portray information in a very personal way, rather than just scrolling through a one dimensional website StoryMap can take the reader with the creator on the journey of what the website has to offer. It is easy to work and play around to add fun experiences like moving text while the pictures stay until the next paragraph is ready. I would highly recommend StoryMaps because I have worked with many website platforms but nothing as creatively independent as StoryMap.

For the purpose of this particular project I used StoryMap to share background on the project, information about what Photovoice methodology is, and display women’s fishing stories and images (combined as “photostories”) in an interactive map showing some of these anglers fishing spots. I used the information that Erin Burkett (PhD, Environmental and Energy Policy, ‘19) had compiled for her graduate research and condensed it with the information she felt was most important to have on the website. Rather than focusing on women’s fishing participation rates or large-scale patterns among recreational anglers, I focused on sharing information produced by 15 women who participated in the photovoice project. The emphasis is on their unique experiences and perspectives. There were a lot of photos that anglers gave to Erin and I wanted to show off as many as possible while still keeping it interactive, which is why I made the map. For me this was the highlight of being creative with the website because it gave me the opportunity to see what I could create and I really enjoyed the process. 

Why did you want to work on this project? 

At a young age I would always go fishing with my mom and grandparents on their pontoon, as well as with my dad at our family friends’ pond. My life was highly influenced by these trips and as I got older I slowly stopped, which makes me sad. When I saw this project on the UPERSS project page I knew I wanted to do something, It had such a meaning to me that I honestly did not realize I missed it. This project was something that seemed like a really fun activity to do and I was right. 

Also, it is exciting to think about having a website that can bring joy to people that were involved. Other people that saw the process of Erin’s project, even some of my friends, wanted to look at it because they were so impressed by the fish these women caught. 

What was challenging?

I remember when I was starting out I was so scared of making something for someone that compiles a lot of what their graduate project contained. I was also very nervous to step out of my comfort zone with getting involved and meeting with her, but it was amazing in every way. I highly recommend any undergraduates that have the opportunity to start on a project that they feel passionate about, because if you are interested in the topic it makes discussing it that much easier. Also being proud of the end product helps to gain a strong support system, by growing better relationships with professors and others who can help out later in my career.  A challenge I had with the actual process of the website was at one point the map I created would not show up anymore, so I had to recreate it. It is not hard work but it was frustrating to know that the part I spent the most time on was gone. A personal struggle I have was tracking my time, I found it somewhat like a stress reliever to work on after or before I finished my other homework, so I would just start working on it and 20 actions and changes on the site later I would realize I had no idea when I started. So, for anyone that is looking to do this type of project and needs to track hours put a text in at the top of the site so that when you start working on it you will see that note and just look at the time, then delete it before publishing. 

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What did you learn through the course of this project (knowledge, skills, etc..)? 

Some of the key points that I learned from this project are how to use story maps, I have never used this before so I had a lot of fun. I also learned about working with people and trying to collaborate, it was a very good learning curve.                                                                          

How will you apply what you have learned in the future? 

This process will definitely benefit me because of how I learned how maneuvering different platforms for creating content can be very beneficial, as well as knowing more people, and just getting my name on something that I can show people. I would highly recommend undergraduates to participate in UPERSS personally, I know I will be in the future so this was a fantastic starting point. 

Storying a Tribal Landscape System – Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Graduate student Larissa Juip has a unique opportunity for a student to work with her on “Applying an Indigenous Methodology: Storying a Tribal Landscape System.” Indigenous storywork, as described by Jo-ann Archibald (2008), combines traditional and life-experience stories to produce a holistic narrative by building “on the storywork teachings of respect, reverence, responsibility, reciprocity, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy.”

These stories recognize different ways of knowing, such as those present in Indigenous communities and they often reflect a great emphasis on place-based knowledge and relationships. This storywork project is designed to complement a National Science Foundation research project (Tribal Landscape Systems) being conducted in partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), Keweenaw Bay Natural Resources, Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), and Michigan Tech researchers.

Storywork has great potential to serve as an important method and pedagogy to reflect on responsibilities of Indigenous-University partnerships. Students will assist her in producing stories shared by partners in this project that reflect place-based connections and relationships as they form or are strengthened through research. The collection of stories shared by partners will become an iterative process that sheds light on the importance of place-based knowledge within the research project.

This project is funded through an NSF-CNH2 (Convergence Research: Bridging Knowledge Systems and Expertise for Understanding the Dynamics of a Contaminated Tribal Landscape System) and is part of a larger undergraduate research initiative in Social Sciences, the Undergraduate Program for Exploration and Research in Social Sciences (UPERSS).

Check out the other opportunities that include:

  • Ethnic Organization and Diaspora Engagement in the Keweenaw (Kathryn Hannum, SS)
  • Developing a University Partnership offering Educational / Cultural Outreach to State Prison Inmates housed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Susanna Peters, SS)
  • Food-Based Plants as Living Heritage (Mark Rhodes, SS)
  • Michigan Tech Inventory of Historic Scientific Instruments (IHSI) (Steven Walton, SS)
  • Historic Cemeteries: Mapping, Management, and Memory (Timothy Scarlett, SS)

On the Road

Shan Zhou (SS) presented her paper “The Interplay between Renewable Portfolio Standard and Voluntary Green Power Market in the United States” in the session “Determinants and Challenges of Environmental Policy” at the the 78th Annual Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference, which was held virtually April 14-18.

This paper evaluates the efficacy of utility-based voluntary green power programs implemented in conjunction with government-led (mandatory) renewable energy policies.

2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to all four of the Social Science majors who presented their work in this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium!

Brooke Batterson (History) “Analysis of the Labor Market & Landscape of 1900 Lake Linden French Canadians”

Tim Stone (Sustainability Science and Society): “The Daily Spaces and Environmental Hazards for Youth in the Industrial City”

Alannah Woodring (Sustainability Science and Society): “What Are the Best Practices to Integrate Therapy Gardens into Programs Servings At Risk Populations?”

Ava Miller (Sustainability Science and Society): “Community Response to Renewable Energy Project Siting: A Case Study in L’Anse, MI”

And special congratulations to Ava Miller whose project tied for the second place award as “best undergraduate presentation” among all undergraduate presentations! 

On the Road

Industrial Heritage and Archaeology PhD students, Emma Wuepper (SS) and Kyle Parker-McGlynn (SS) presented posters at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.

Wuepper’s poster explored the material culture of settler colonialism in Copper Harbor and Parker-McGlynn’s asked how space and place could and should be considered within the design of digital heritage.

Mark Rhodes (SS) also organized a poster session on cultural geographies, presented a paper on the living heritage of the Paul Robeson tomato, and sat on an invited panel discussing the role of critical geography at technological institutions.

Social Sciences Undergraduates Join International Geography Honor Society

Five Social Science students joined Michigan Tech’s inaugural chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geography Honor Society.
 
-Nev Indish (History)
-Brooke Batterson (History)
-Cal Quayle (Anthropology)
-Lynette Webber (History)
-Timothy Stone (Sustainability Science and Society)

Organized by Assistant Professor of Geography Dr. Mark Rhodes, the honor society will promote geography-related activities and connect students with opportunities to share research and compete for awards. The five Social Science students join twelve other undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members in founding the Michigan Tech chapter.

Recent Talks

Sarah Scarlett (SS) and Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC) presented two talks this week related to the Trois siècles de migrations francophones en Amérique du Nord (Three Centuries of Francophone Migration in North America) project that studies the French-Canadian migration around the continent.

Scarlett spoke at the Centre De La Francophonie Des Amériques and the Québec Government Offices in Chicago, Boston, and Houston. Her presentation was on the micro-histories of Joseph Grégoire, a prominent Lake Linden resident and founder of Gregoryville. The presentation can be seen here.

Lafreniere spoke at the Centre interuniversitaire d’études québécoises about how to utilizing deep mapping techniques to map migrations. He outlined how the Keweenaw Time Traveler can be used as a model for studying populations around the continent. 

Lafreniere outlined how the Time Traveler is being used in concert with censuses from the US and Canada to uncover the French-Canadian diaspora in the Copper Country and model migration flows.

In Print

Professor Emeritus Barry D. Solomon (SS) and Shan Zhou (SS) published the article “Renewable Portfolio Standards: Do Voluntary Goals vs. Mandatory Standards Make a Difference?” In Review of Policy Research.

This paper investigates whether an obligation to meet a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target in U.S. states affects the policy effectiveness. A voluntary RPS target can serve as a political device for signaling a commitment to certain goals, though there is no penalty if the goal is not met.

Alternatively, mandatory RPS targets have varying stringency and uneven enforcement. Our results indicate that the compulsoriness of a state RPS is an insignificant determinant of RPS‐related renewable electricity capacity additions. Factors other than compulsoriness are more important in influencing renewable electricity development, such as state political ideology, income, electricity price and electric market deregulation status.

Photo Essay: Celebrating Food in the Keweenaw

In collaboration with a class taught by Angie Carter (SS), the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative (WUPFSC) kicked off the Western UP Food Stories Photo Contest last fall.

The students in the course — Communities and Research SS4700 — reached out to local growers, enthusiasts, and anyone who eats to share what local foods in the Keweenaw means to them. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, they encouraged community members to share their experiences in a visual format.

The course, which is based on transdisciplinary research methods, supports students in creating studies driven by needs identified from community members to ensure that their research would directly serve and empower the community.

The class gathered all the photos on Flickr and some of the winning images are gathered on the University research blog, Unscripted. Check them out at mtu.edu/unscripted . (By Allison Mills, University Marketing and Communications)