My Connection to the Research

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Wayne Duerkes

My decision to research the market in the DeKalb-LaSalle region of Northern Illinois during the mid-nineteenth century is threefold.  The particular focus of my research will broaden my knowledge in my chosen field of study, which in turn, will make me a more viable candidate for graduate school and allow me to contribute to the historic knowledge base of my hometown area.

As a student of history, my central focus is the United States of the nineteenth century. My first independent research project, which I completed last year, related to the Civil War; and the Civil War remains one of my major areas of scholarly interest.  However, discussions with my mentor and other history professors have led me to broaden my focus to other facets of U.S history during this era; and this project will allow me to refine what I have learned about this period. Thus far, the work has helped me significantly in developing a sharper picture of American society in the nineteenth century.

During my time at NIU, I have designed my academic experience to prepare me for graduate study.  To be successful in this competitive graduate admission process, a candidate’s application must stand out. With the assistance of the University Honors Summer Scholars Program, I have been able to devote special effort in completing an exceptional senior honors thesis that hopefully will demonstrate both my cumulative skills, ability to conduct scholarly research  and understanding of the discipline, thereby affording me an edge in the selection process.

Finally, I have lived most of my life in the DeKalb region and I have always enjoyed local history immensely, but the one era in local history that has been the least studied and least understood is the one I chose to study.  If through my research and writing, I can add to the knowledge of my hometown area for others to enjoy like I have, then I can think of no better capstone to my undergraduate experience at NIU.

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