History is up-close and personal for Busse and Cortright in Washington D.C.

During the summer of 2006, WLC students Claudia Busse and Kendall Cortright, history ’07, traveled to Washington D.C. with their fellow classmates and Professor Patrick Steele to conduct research for their senior projects.

The students divided research time between three locations: National Archives II at the University of Maryland-College Park, the Library of Congress and the National Archive in downtown Washington D.C. Their mission was to conduct primary research, the study of an object through first-hand observation. This kind of research is essential to the creation of great history students, and it creates opportunities for students in the work place and graduate school.

During this trip, Busse worked with the actual telegrams sent to President John F. Kennedy from the U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the Vietnam War, and Cortright examined Civil War battle records for the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.  

“I was able to touch documents handled by presidents,” said Busse. “It was exciting.”

The group did take time out to do some sight-seeing. Students toured national monuments, visited the Capitol building and the White House, and saw the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.

In addition, Cortright visited one of his top choice graduate schools. “During a break from researching, I was able to talk with some of the professors at the university,” said Cortright. 

In 2008, the history department is planning a trip to tour presidential libraries. Stops include the Harry S. Truman Library, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and the Herbert Hoover Library.