Museum Studies Blog

Posted on April 23rd, 2024 in Student Work by jachigg | Tags: ,

By Jacob Higgins

Congratulations to Museum Studies certificate undergraduate student Camryn Bembry for earning the inaugural Undergraduate Scholar Award recent award at Temple University’s Barnes Conference!

Camryn’s winning work examined the intersection of tribal identity and interracial conflict in the Choctaw Nation. It grew out of research she conducted as part of Dr. Holly Cusack-McVeigh’s Indigenous Cultural Heritage course this past fall. Reflecting on her project, Camryn said, “It was very important to me to be able to share this research I created around the story of my great-great-grandmother who was a Mississippian Choctaw native and honor her memory.”

Camryn traveled to Philadelphia for the conference at Temple University with support from the Larry J. Zimmerman Fund for Student Research Support, which is available to undergraduate or graduate students who are studying Anthropology, Museum Studies, or American Indian Studies within the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and are conducting research in anthropology, museum studies, indigenous studies, or cultural heritage studies.

The fund is able to cover expenses for fieldwork or presentation at conferences, and for Camryn, the fund was able to cover her travel and housing. She wants other students who are considering applying to the support fund to know that “If you are given the opportunity to travel for fieldwork or present at a conference, do all that you can to get there. Apply for the Zimmerman fund and go experience the working world.”

Poster on the history of interracial conflict in the Choctaw Nation

This award is a huge accomplishment! Camryn explained:

“Being at the Temple Conference was an experience that has left me hungry for more. Occupying spaces with other professionals and students who also chose to do history reminded me of why I am so passionate about protecting and preserving the past. I learned so much about history through the eyes of other people and began to learn new things about myself in the process as well.”

This conference isn’t even scratching the surface of Camryn’s work though, who has also worked on projects such as the interactive map of Frederick Douglass’ influence across America. When asked what the future of her work looks like, Camryn said that, “I want to continue building on the research I shared at Temple University, and one day use my research to create a historical fiction novel surrounding the story of my great-great-grandmother to effectively bring history to the masses in a manner that can be digested.”

As the inaugural winner of the Undergraduate Scholar Award, Camryn has led the way for future undergraduate students to showcase their hard work in Temple University’s Barnes Conference. She has also made the programs at IUPUI that she is a part of proud to have her as a student and colleague.

Congratulations, Camryn!

Camryn Bembry is an undergraduate junior in the Museum Studies and History programs.

Jacob Higgins (he/him) is a second-year graduate student in the Museum Studies Program at IUPUI.