Previously published in the 2018 Ouachitonian yearbook
Many students had the chance to travel to unique and interesting places to help further their academic career in their time on campus. One of those students was Sarah Ashley Bryant, a junior psychology major from Fayetteville, Ark. She used her time at Ouachita developing close relationships with fellow students and professors on campus, which opened up opportunities for her. During her freshman year, she was invited to go on a research trip to California the following summer.
“That’s not the kind of thing that happens really at any other school,” said Bryant.
As the school year came to a close, Bryant and several other students were packing their bags and looking forward to an academically-enriching experience. The day of the trip finally arrived and a minivan full of research trip recruits left to travel across the country.
They started in Arkadelphia and made it all the way to California to study the cause of religion not having a stronghold in the golden state as it did in the rest of the U.S. The three-week-long trip involved going to different Catholic missions and looking at their records, photographing the layout of the buildings and figuring out how many people attended the churches.
The crew also got to venture to ghost towns of different sizes including Bodie, Calif., the biggest ghost town in existence. They would scope out churches using geotags to create a map that showed where these places were. The two elements that played the biggest part in the trip were the missions and the ghost towns visited.
“It felt like I was going back in time as we had to look back at the history of so many different people and speculate what it might have been like when they were alive. It was so cool to experience that,” said Bryant.
It was a fast-paced trip, with lots of driving to new places and often no stops in between.
“My mind was blown by all the trip had to offer and all the information my team and I gathered,” she said.
Bryant spent the entirety of the trip studying under two professors with PhDs, which provided her with the experience of doing research first-hand.
“It’s a memory I’m going to treasure forever,” she said.
By McKenna Stephens
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