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Southern History of Education Society conference coming to UNG in March

Lauren Bradshaw host of SHOES Conference
Dr. Lauren Bradshaw, assistant professor of teacher education at UNG, is hosting the Southern History of Education Society annual conference March 15-16 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

The Southern History of Education Society (SHOES) annual conference is the kind of place where graduate students and young academic professionals can be mentored by more experienced educators in their field. They exchange ideas and discuss how to implement them.

So it's fitting that Dr. Lauren Bradshaw, assistant professor of teacher education at the University of North Georgia (UNG), is bringing the SHOES conference to UNG's Dahlonega Campus on March 15-16. Bradshaw; Dr. Sheri HardeeUNG College of Education dean; and Dr. Kelly Henderson, assistant professor of teacher education, all cut their teeth at SHOES conferences as they were in graduate school.

The UNG faculty members lauded the welcoming approach of the organization's events.

"It's probably the most laidback conference in academia," Bradshaw said. "The genius of it is, there are still powerhouses in the room who can give you assistance."

Hardee said graduate students, faculty and staff, and community members are all welcome to attend the free event, where no registration is required. Bradshaw said those who show up will reap benefits.

"It's a great opportunity to hear all types of research in the area and receive feedback from people who are well-versed in the subject and meet new people," Bradshaw said.

Marcia Bennett, a graduate student from Omaha, Nebraska, pursuing a degree in history, will present a book chapter she and Bradshaw wrote. Their chapter is "So Firm a Hold: Resiliency at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia, During the Civil War" within the book "Persistence through Peril: Episodes of College Life and Academic Endurance in the Civil War South."

Each chapter in the book is about a different college that remained open during the Civil War. Bennett and Bradshaw's chapter delves into how Wesleyan College, a women's college, faced different challenges than other schools. Bennett said no one could understand why she kept digging around archives in Macon.

"Now I get to stand in front of a room of scholars, and they get it," Bennett said. "They understand. I get to share all this hard work we've done."

The array of topics attracts a wide group, with presentations ranging from history to sociology to the philosophy of education. And it's not limited to those topics in the South. The group's name simply indicates its regional membership.

Six UNG faculty members will share presentations, and Bradshaw will give the opening speech of the conference. Bradshaw expects between 50 and 80 attendees, with the farthest away coming from Portland, Oregon. She has attended all but one of the SHOES conferences since 2012.

Hardee first attended a SHOES conference while in graduate school at the University of South Carolina.

"This conference was one of the most supportive I attended as a graduate student. You need places where you can go where you're lifted up," Hardee said. "This conference seems more like a conversation than a place where people are picking apart your research."

Henderson said it was her first academic conference, and the setup helped alleviate her initial nervousness. She appreciated people sharing their helpful suggestions with colleagues. Henderson is scheduled to speak about an overlooked approach to combating oppression.

"If we're going to move away from oppression, including in schools, we need to have experiences of black and indigenous people front and center in our thinking," said Henderson, who will attend her fifth SHOES conference. "This is especially important in the Southern context."

Hardee said UNG is excited to host SHOES.

"It's a good mix of scholarship," Hardee said. "It's a great conference for generating and expanding ideas."

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