Sioux Falls middle school students in the National History Day (NHD) program will be able to strengthen their research projects and become familiar with a university library and archives, thanks to an SDSU Connect Challenge Grant awarded to the SDSU Archives and Special Collections and the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum.
About 300 students will visit campus on two occasions in the fall 2023 semester where they will learn about what makes a strong NHD project and how to search databases and library catalogs for electronic and physical resources. They will also be able to devote time to carrying out research for their chosen NHD topics.
A research experience like this is unique for a middle school student. University library electronic resources, such as databases and journals, are typically only accessible to on-campus library patrons or to off-campus users who are SDSU faculty, staff or students.
During their visit, the middle school students will also have a chance to talk with SDSU history faculty and students.
With early exposure to university library resources, it is hoped this project can support the students’ scholarly success throughout their academic career.
“This project is going to introduce middle school students not only to the university, but also to historical research and what a university library looks like,” SDSU archivist Michele Christian said. “The prospective students’ interaction with the library will hopefully encourage them to use the vast number of resources and services available to them when they attend SDSU.”
The project is a pilot program that Christian hopes can be continued in the future.
SDSU Connect is an initiative of intentional engagement between the Sioux Falls community and SDSU. Activities and efforts associated with SDSU Connect will create meaningful connections with individuals, organizations and communities in the state's largest and fastest-growing city.