TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway), through the Youth Partnership Program, collaborated with the University of North Alabama (UNA) to create six internship opportunities. Students, under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Elementary Education Dr. Lorie Johnson, are working with the Parkway on digital media products that will highlight the rich natural and cultural history along the Alabama section of the Parkway.
When completed, the project will provide curriculum-based resources for both classroom and place-based instruction. “The Parkway is a national treasure and the opportunity for our UNA students to collaborate and create innovative pathways for students to explore the Parkway has been an invaluable experience. The products they have created are amazing. We can’t wait to share these educational resources with teachers around the nation,” stated Dr. Johnson.
This project has exposed students to diverse experiences in their chosen career fields and encouraged them to rethink the history of their community. “Working with the Natchez Trace Grant Project Team has allowed me to research the lush history of the Parkway, write lesson plans for elementary education teachers, design web pages, and write informative texts for the public,” added Qadirah Monroe, who is an undergraduate in professional writing. Jesse Laster, who is an undergraduate in elementary education continued, “I have learned so much about the Old Natchez Trace and the Parkway while working on this project. I have lived in the Shoals area my entire life. Prior to this opportunity, I did not know much about the history of the Old Natchez Trace other than its connection to the Trail of Tears. From a future educator’s perspective, I truly believe these resources will be beneficial for me and any other teachers who strive to engage students in social studies and science.”
“The Parkway enjoys the opportunity to engage with area students through community partners like the UNA,” stated Superintendent Mary Risser.