This is the end… or is it?

Traditionally, the last blog post of summer research is supposed to sum up the summers work. Content wise, a lot of that has been covered in the past two blog posts. In those posts I discuss the theoretical meat of my project in greater detail. However, I want to take this opportunity to share some of the more personal lessons that I’ve learned working on my project this summer.

1) Be flexible:  Research can take you interesting, but unexpected directions. I feel that his lesson rings especially true when conducting interviews. Sometimes, people have a mind of their own.

2) Enjoy your topic: I kind of imagine that this lesson is a given, but nevertheless, it is important to actually enjoy the topic you are working on. Luckily for me, I enjoyed learning about coal plants and the story of Dendron/Cypress Creek. This ability to appreciate the work I was doing helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel while doing not so fun, but utterly necessary things like transcribing interviews.

3) Having a Mentor/Advisor is invaluable: I’d like to give a shout out to Professor Kaup for his continual advice, assistance and mentorship as I have worked with him on my project. He has helped me strengthen my methodological and sociological thinking, thus giving me intellectual tools to continue on my academic path.

Speaking of academic paths, I have decided to continue my project with Professor Kaup into the newly started semester. Thus is what is in store for us over the upcoming semester:

1) Interviews. Although we think we have a a good picture of the situation surrounding the Cypress Creek, due diligence requires us to continue our interviewing activities. Personally, I am interested in gathering more perspectives on the Cypress Creek debate.

2) Transcriptions: In order to fully data mine and code(e.g. spot trends and themes) the interviews, they must be typed up– that is my job.

3) Paper writing: As a final grade for the independent research, I am required to write and present a final paper on the findings. Professor Kaup and I would like to take this one step further and get a publishable paper written. Frankly, I think that would be wonderful.

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, especially Professor Kaup for his guidance, patience and mentorship. I have had a very interesting, informative and intriguing summer and I look forward to continuing my work during this fall semester.




  1. Since coming to William and Mary, I have become much more aware of the environmental issues effecting this part of Virginia. Coal was definitely one of the hot button issues. It is great to know that you will be moving forward on this project and that you have the support to continue your research this semester.