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Konni Shier

Grad student to study Brooklyn treasures

by Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-5400

A University of South Carolina graduate student will spend a week studying one of America’s most endangered landmarks.

Konni Shier will study Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge in late June as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities program to enhance the teaching of history, literature and other subjects in the liberal arts.

Each year the NEH selects 300 faculty members to attend one of six Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops. Shier, an adjunct English instructor at Midlands Technical College, is working on her school media and library certificate at USC.

“I chose the Brooklyn workshop because it seemed so edgy and innovative,” Shier said. “Urban studies is an exciting field that encompasses many academic disciplines.”

Shier will be among 50 teachers who will study the Brooklyn Bridge as well as Brooklyn’s naval shipyard, industrial waterfront and Coney Island. The workshop will be directed by New York City College of Technology.

“I’m very excited about studying the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a great source of inspiration to Walt Whitman, and I teach Whitman's poetry in some of my courses," Shier said. "I also love the idea of studying the Coney Island Resort, which naturally made me think of the old Ocean Drive Pavilion in North Myrtle Beach.”

The workshop’s focus on digital storytelling and mapping dovetails with Shier’s research and teaching. In 2011 she won the Two Year College English Association’s Nell Ann Pickett Award for her use of Google Earth in the study of how environmental attitudes have evolved in American literature.

“When I looked at an image of a Brooklyn sugar refinery, I thought instantly of the Adluh Flour mill. When looking at historic Brooklyn sites, I hope to get some hands-on experience and ideas,” Shier said. “I'd like to design some composition and literature assignments about historic Columbia buildings and neighborhoods, or other historic SC communities and neighborhoods.”

NEH summer scholars receive a $1,200 stipend and choose from six workshops. This year’s workshops will include an intensive study of African-American history and culture in Georgia; transcendental and reform movements in Concord, Mass.; Georgia O’Keeffe; Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront; the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes and western territories; and the Plains Native Americans.

Shier completed her master’s in library science from USC in 2011. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Italian from Florida State University and master’s degrees in English and education from The Citadel. This year she was awarded the Nancy Jane Day Scholarship from the S.C. Association of School Librarians and inducted in Beta Phi Mu.

She is part-time librarian at Columbia College and has a forthcoming article in “Library Media Connection.”

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Posted: 04/24/12 @ 10:30 AM | Updated: 05/10/12 @ 2:54 PM | Permalink

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