Recently, Dr. Rai Peterson and several students who participated in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library immersive learning project had the opportunity to travel to Germany on a lecture tour and “talk about Vonnegut’s most famous novel, Slaughterhouse Five, the impetus for which was the fire-bombing of Dresden in February of 1945.” Check out Dr. Peterson’s travel blog, Feeding the Turtle, where you can read more about the trip. You can also check out Gail Werner’s blog post for tons of photos from the trip.
I have—like I’m sure many Ball State English department students have—dabbled in more financially reliable and business-oriented classes. I tried to count the bones in the human body and follow supply and demand analysis, but the thought of expanding economic and science courses into a major quickly became mind-numbing for me. “I just want to go back to my books,” I remember sulking. I was forced to realize that a struggling liberal arts major was what I was destined to be. Perhaps I would be homeless and live in a cardboard box, but I knew I’d be the best critically thinking hobo there ever was. However, I’ve just graduated, and I’m pleasantly surprised about the number of opportunities opening to me—life in squalor might have to wait.
My path in English Literature as a student, while different than the one I could have expected outside the Department of English, was still made with a lot of hard work. My professors expected a high level of critical thinking and writing, good analysis, teamwork, and communication skills from me. I enjoyed learning these skills that were attributes I could take and apply to a number of career paths, not just things that were specifically “test-taught.”
Last summer, English professor Dr. Rai Peterson headed an immersive learning internship with several Ball State undergraduate students. The seminar, which spanned two semesters, focused on building a 5-year marketing plan for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis. The students worked on a number of areas for the Library including archival research, film, and design. This past fall semester, Dr. Peterson and seminar-student Andrew Neylon took a trip to New York City in order to gain an in-depth perspective about Kurt Vonnegut’s life according to his closest family and friends. Continue reading below where Andrew chronicles his New York trip and discusses the opportunities he was afforded by the internship.
This past July, Dr. Rai Peterson and her student from the KVML immersive learning project, sophomore Andrew Neylon, took a trip to New York City in order to gain an in-depth perspective about Kurt Vonnegut’s life according to his closest family and friends. Be sure to continue below to see photos taken by Dr. Peterson and Andrew Neylon during their research trip in NYC where they interviewed comedian Lewis Black, who has largely been inspired by Vonnegut, as well as Vonnegut’s family, friends, and fans. They shot photographs of his New York habitat, and images from this trip are incorporated into the Film Archive and the manuscript archive that have been donated to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library as of July 19, 2012 after seven months of work.
The KVML project has also garnered local and national attention. Check out three features below from the Indianapolis Star, the Ball State Alumnus Magazine, and the Ball State Marketing and Communications website.
Indianapolis Star Article:
Ball State University Marketing and Communications Features:
Ball State University, Alumnus Magazine (page 22):