Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

Grad Blog by H.K. Kopesky, Master of Arts in Social Sciences student

Every family seems to have at least one story about the past that gets told often. In my family, the story is about my Great-Grandfather walking over twenty-five miles from the country (from a potato farm) into the City of Flint (along the railroad tracks). This happened somewhere around 1920, give or take a few years.  He walked all those miles until he reached another distant relative’s residence, where he then lived for many years before going on to later start a successful business and raise his family. Of course, my Great-Grandfather is no longer with us, but when I was younger, he would tell us his story.

What I never fully understood was that Great-Grandpa had walked to a place of opportunity, a home located in a Flint neighborhood that likely housed boarders who worked at GM. Today I know that the house is no longer standing, and sadly, I do not have any photos of it- but a visit to the Library’s Historical Collection to try to find one is on my future agenda.

The course that I am taking now, Cities and Society (AKA ANT/SOC 544), led by the impressive and knowledgeable Professor Jacob Lederman, has really enlightened my thinking about this family story. I have learned about the historical neighborhoods and the social geography of Flint. This course is

not strictly a history course, but I have come to the realization that understanding those histories is essential to contextualizing my understanding and interpretation of the lives of those who lived in the City before I was born. This course has also provided me with new ways of thinking about things that are happening now, things that could happen in the future, and last but certainly not least, how all of these things could affect the lives of those that live in or near the City in the future. I love the class – and I am so very glad that I have had the opportunity to be a part of it. This class is awesome, and I always look forward to meeting twice per week!

One exciting highlight from ANT/SOC 544 was a Skype call (with an accomplished historian and author) facilitated by Professor Jacob. To talk to experts, learn from their lessons, methods, experiences, and examples, and to collaborate with my cohorts is the most amazing experience. Thank you, to the Dean, Dr. Lutzker, and everyone at UM-Flint for providing this opportunity. The best institution to learn about Flint certainly must be The University of Michigan-Flint! We students who have and who are currently enrolled are surely fortunate. I do not believe this environmental educational experience could be found anywhere else!

Social Sciences grad student, Holly Kopesky