Tuesday, November 4, 2014

URSP Student Peter Kleine Researches Sports Effects on Societal Issues in D.C.

The project I am currently working on is an oral history project that looks at racial and other societal issues from the Washington D.C. area and how sports have effected these issues. Originally, when I came to college, I had no idea that Sports History was even a field of study. Sophomore year, I took History 341, History of Sports in the United States with Professor Chris Elzey, to meet one of my history degree requirements. After the first class, I knew I was immediately in love with the subject of Sport History. I ended up taking Professor Elzey’s Basketball and the American Experience class the following semester too. After class one day last spring, I asked Professor Elzey what I could do to learn more and stay involved in the topic. Professor Elzey told me about some of his current research he was working on, and suggested applying to OSCAR to do similar types of research. Luckily, I got accepted into OSCAR’s URSP program, and I am working on alongside Dr. Elzey this semester.

Earlier in the semester, I did a lot of background research on the city, and took notes on how it grew, and how the movements in the city. My notes are from eight different books that Professor Elzey and I picked out before the semester began. Since my reading has been done, I, with help of my mentor, created a list of potential candidates to interview. Thus far, the majority of my time has been surfing the web trying to find contact information for people I want to interview. Honestly, this process has been very frustrating for me, as finding contact information of athletes of old high school athletes, to former professional athletes. One of the things that I’ve definitely learned this week, is that following up with people only once is never enough, and that if you really want something,  you need to follow up with people to the point that you wonder whether or not you are being annoying.

I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after I graduate, but education has always been on the table. One of the reasons I wanted the URSP opportunity desperately was because I wanted to be able to tell some of my students about my experiences doing research in college, and would hopefully be able to help them out progress as a student in their years of education. This project is also unique in the sense it helps me work on my communication skills, and possibly may open the door to a career in reporting or in the media in some way.