Three Questions with Sarah Vegerano

Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and external patrons derive from using the Portal to Texas History at UNT Libraries.

1. How important is the Portal in your teaching, learning or research?

The Portal has offered a convenient location to find large quantities of data and evidence for my research. The availability of historical evidence and easy search queries greatly aided my dissertation research on race and its relationship with educational development in Texas during the nineteenth century. The Portal has allowed me to confirm and connect the correlation between policies and laws and their effect on Institutional development. It has been instrumental in my research’s development. Though Newspapers were my main focus, the historical images and maps have been invaluable in aiding my overall understanding of how and why education grew the way it did at a local and state level. In addition, accessing a digital archive allows for a more thorough understanding of historical events and societal patterns.

2. How has the Portal changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?

The Portal challenged me to develop new search terms and narrow them down as the research progressed. As a result, I became more enveloped in Texas’s geography, railroad development, and migration patterns, allowing for a more holistic approach to my research question. While the Portal does not allow every digitized book to be downloaded as one file, I learned to be more adaptable to search within the confines of what is allowed on the platform.

3. What do you want others to know about your research, teaching or learning?

The newspapers within the Portal furthered my understanding of how personal beliefs influence educational development and the inequalities found in early institutional development, embedding race into the institution. The newspapers’ articles make clear personal sentiments of Black, White, and Hispanic education, discrepancies in funding, policy development, and thoughts of community leaders and how Texas education developed to support White education. All others were an afterthought to government leaders and white community members.

Sarah Vegerano is a Ph.D. student studying the development of education and its relationship with race in Texas at Texas A&M University, and she has a certificate in Digital Humanities. Her research focuses on census data, local newspapers, communities identifying as White, Black, and Hispanic with the highest enrollments through the last half of the nineteenth century, and textbooks used in the classroom. In addition, she has published and created over five historical maps identifying schoolhouses along with demographic data that has not been previously developed into visual data. She’s the mother of three small children, two dogs, a Basset Hound, and Staffordshire, and she loves to visit historical sites across Texas.