The History Day Interviews – Part 2

4 Feb

An Interview with Brad Wright.


Welcome to the second part of our History Day series. History Day is on February 25th. Faculty, graduate students, and volunteers all create an exciting day of learning for students throughout Middle Tennessee. This year’s effort is led by Dr. McIntyre and three graduate assistants – Katie Rosta, Brigitte Eubank, and Brad Wright.

MB: Hello Brad.  Thank you for joining me for the second part of the History Day Interviews.  Will you tell us a little bit about your background?
Brad: I grew up in south Arkansas.  I went to undergrad at the University of Arkansas where I majored in philosophy.  Then, I took a bit of a detour and went through a certification process and got licensed to preach in the United Methodist Church.  So, I went to seminary at the time at Phillips Theological in Tulsa and completed 20+ hours of graduate work there.
MB: That’s interesting.  What brought you to Murfreesboro and MTSU?
Brad: My wife got a job in Smyrna, and I thought I better come with her.  I took a couple classes at Vanderbilt Divinity School, but I started working full time in community organizing with Hispanic immigrants.
MB: Can you speak Spanish?  Tell me a bit more about your work.
Brad: Yes I can.  We were constantly advocating some sort of comprehensive immigration reform.  We ended up working on a lot of legal issues and putting people in touch with legal resources.  Helping people with language issues was a constant thing.  Then, it was just listening to the people and letting them articulate the challenges and concerns they were having and how they thought the community could be a better place.  For example, the 2010 flood in Nashville hit the immigrant community particularly hard.  They tend to live in the low lying areas.  That brought up a lot of issues around housing and other things to the surface that people had not worried about before.
MB: What are your academic interests?  Do they tie into your work?
Brad: I’m going to specialize in Latin American history, particularly the relationship between the United States and Mexico.  But I’ve got a wide range of interests, such as race and class.  I’m going to use Spanish to examine primary sources in Latin America, and I will have to spend some time in Mexico (where I can have fun staying with my lovely mother in law).
MB: Before I forget, how do you like working as a graduate assistant for History Day?
Brad: I like it.  The project is quite an undertaking because there are several different categories and so many students involved.  But I am really impressed by some of the entries and topics we’ve gotten so far with this year’s theme of Debate and Diplomacy.  It is exciting to see students learning how to do research and spending extended periods of time working on a project in history.
MB: Before we close, is there anything else you would like to say or that we’ve missed?
Brad: Sí Se Puede!


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