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History students author stories for “Alabama Heritage” blog

Chris McCauley
  • November 18, 2021

Kaye Cochran Nail, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of History, is finding innovative ways for her History of Alabama (HC-116 2C) students to craft and share public history stories with audiences across the state.

student writing on laptopKaye Cochran Nail, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of History, is finding innovative ways for her History of Alabama (HC-116 2C) students to craft and share public history stories with audiences across the state.

Prior to the Fall 2021 semester, Nail connected with Rebecca Minder, director of Alabama Heritage magazine, to co-create a new learning opportunity for undergraduate students at UAB. Minder quickly noted that the magazine—which is officially co-published by UAB, the University of Alabama, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History—has a popular blog that regularly needs well-researched and engaging content. Together, Nail and Minder decided the students were well-positioned to support this valuable storytelling effort.

“It has turned out to be a great way for our UAB students to join with other students to publish blogs on interesting topics related to Alabama history,” said Nail.

So far, her students have published eight blogs on topics including the Tuskegee syphilis study, the Battle of Mobile Bay, and Lewis Smith Lake. Throughout the remainder of the semester, students will continue to author and publish pieces for the website.

"We are honored and excited to be working with the young scholars in Kaye Cochran Nail's Alabama history course this semester,” said Susan E. Reynolds, Ph.D., editor of Alabama Heritage magazine. “Their contributions to our blog have been valuable to our readership, and we think it is wonderful that these students are taking an interest in our state's history. We hope to continue this partnership in the future so that more students will be able to engage in the Alabama history community.”

Moving forward, Nail hopes to deepen the partnership with Alabama Heritage magazine and create more opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experience with public history.

According to Jonathan Wiesen, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History, “It is inspiring to see our students so engaged in Public History with these blog entries. This is exactly the kind of community engagement that I love to see at UAB—students using their knowledge of history in service of educating our fellow Alabamians.”

Read the Alabama Heritage blog.