Katie Yelton, of Rutherford County, North Carolina, is one of several American Studies undergraduate students to receive a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) from the Office of Undergraduate Research for Summer 2015. Yelton chose to use her research grant to explore and document the experiences of women who worked in textile mills and as mothers in Rutherford County, prior to the mill shutdowns at the turn of the 21st century. The Mill Mamas project consisted of oral history interviews conducted by Yelton with six women of different backgrounds, ages, and from different parts of the county. Yelton then created an ethnographic film showcasing clips that highlighted common themes from the interviews. Yelton presented the film at a community event hosted at her alma mater, R-S Central High School in Rutherfordton. Yelton’s hometown newspaper, the Daily Courier, was in attendance, and featured Yelton’s film and event on their front page. You can read the Daily Courier article here. Yelton has dreams for potentially expanding this project in her post-graduate life and hopes to continue to work to benefit the place she calls home.
Congratulations on this huge accomplishment, Katie! We’ll be featuring the work of our other American Studies SURF-grant recipients later this week. Keep checking back for more incredible undergraduate research!