The EOP celebrated its 45th anniversary in July at Marquette and was headlined by a dinner and dance, a documentary screening, a block party and a host committee comprised of alumni of the program from the 1970s through the early 2010s. As an alumnus of the program, Professor Lowe has a special connection to the EOP and knows firsthand how important it is to those involved with it. The EOP is "an academic program that motivates and enables low-income and first generation students, whose parents do not have a baccalaureate degree, to enter and succeed in higher education" and consists of three different projects: Upward Bound (UB) and Upward Bound Math & Science (UBMS), Student Support Services and Ronald E. McNair Scholars. All of these programs aim to assist students and prepare them for college life and careers in their fields of choice.
Having gone to a Jesuit high school and now a Jesuit university, I could not be more excited about this project. The Jesuits have always been known for their ability to educate and serve their community, and those are two ideals that I have become drawn to through my academic experience. I had friends in high school whom I would have never met had it not been for programs similar to EOP and the same is true here at Marquette. I believe that these people have amazing stories of success through adversity and those stories should be told and celebrated. With that being said, I have some ideas for how we should go about this project.
We've already established that we want this assignment to end up something like CNN's piece "The Undecided" so now we must fill in the holes. The class discussed profiling a person from each decade of the program, which I think would be a good idea. We want as diverse a population as possible to enable us to tell the most accurate and full story. In addition, I think selecting based on major, race and geographic residence could also add to our story.
Once we have people selected to focus on, we must try to find what makes each person unique on a deeper level. "The Undecided" did a great job of this and took artifacts that told something about the person being profiled, whether it said something about the time period or environment that person grew up in. For our story, I think learning about each person's interests and educational experience would be the best way to go. Finding out who inspired that person to do more, whether it was a professor or a family member; asking about a favorite book or class; or looking at how each person traveled to class, perhaps what their backpack looked like. I also think it would be interesting to ask each person for their favorite Marquette shirt. It would show that yes, times have changed, but we are still one Marquette family. I think asking questions about each person's Marquette experience would also help make our project more marketable from the university's standpoint and engage a larger audience.
From a technical standpoint, I think using every medium to our advantage is a must. Collecting video and photos will be crucial to our projects success. I also believe that using interactive data will be important and can tell a story better than writing in some cases. Showing graphs of diversity at Marquette before and after EOP or looking at the trends in enrollment rates of EOP students over the years could tell a compelling story on its own.
Not everyone was an EOP student, so we must make people see why this is important and draw them in. Students and alumni love to look at the past, either in nostalgic memory or in curiosity of what once was. I think that this project could be a great opportunity both to recognize those who came from difficult situations and were given an opportunity to better themselves and make careers because of EOP and also tell a story of Marquette's history that may be often forgotten.