News from The Mahurin Honors College
George "Trip" Carpenter Spotlight
- Sydney Windhorst
- Friday, October 7th, 2022
Academic opportunities can come in many forms, and The Mahurin Honors College (MHC) works to make sure each scholar is surrounded by diverse research opportunities that perfectly match their passions. To promote this goal, MHC scholars have the option to pursue a Capstone Experience/Thesis (CE/T) during their undergrad years. Supported by MHC faculty and staff, scholars like Trip Carpenter (MHC ‘14) embrace this opportunity to complete a CE/T and develop professionally and socially impactful research projects during their undergraduate careers.
During his time on the Hill, Trip served as a Spirit Master, an H4 counselor, and a member of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity. When looking back on his experience, Trip thinks fondly of his time abroad studying at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.
“I truly cherish my study abroad experience and the lessons it taught me. Practically, traveling without your parents helps you pick up useful life skills such as problem solving. Studying abroad also pushed me to explore new research topics that I hadn't thought of before. Specifically for me, I developed a desire to study some English history that I wasn't necessarily as familiar with as before I went abroad.”
It wasn’t until his junior year that Trip began seriously considering and developing his CE/T. Scholars stumble upon their CE/T ideas in various ways, but for Trip, it was a class celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
“I took a class with Professor Patti Minter that discussed Jonesville. I remember looking at the civil and human rights issues in Kentucky, and that's where the topic idea and passion came to me. I ended up working with Professor Minter for the next year to develop the idea and give structure to the paper.”
Trip decided to center his CE/T around the history of Jonesville. In the mid-1900’s, Jonesville was an African-American community that was destroyed using Urban Renewal Legislation in the 1950s and 1960s for the expansion of WKU’s campus.
“Part of my thesis was not just documenting that process, but also trying to connect what happened to the larger trends of residential racial discrimination in the larger Bowling Green community. That led to involvement with the Warren County Courthouse, where I studied property deeds. Many racially discriminatory residential practices were enforced through things called covenants, which are just restrictions on deeds that say that certain people, particularly black people, cannot buy this property. Although at the time they were not legally enforceable, they did have a cultural impact. If realtors noticed a restriction on a deed of that sort, they would target different buyers. My CE/T tried to connect those larger trends of residential racial discrimination to the Jonesville story.”
For his exceptional research and its social impact, Trip was awarded “CE/T of the Year” in 2014.
“I think the black community in Bowling Green already knew about Jonesville, but much of the white community was not aware. For me, to present this story was just a way to ensure that more people knew about it. That was the role that I thought my thesis was playing…making sure that people knew about this community.”
Some scholars often question if a CE/T project is a good fit for them. The amount of work, time and commitment can seem laborious and daunting. Trip, however, believes that a CE/T will work with any scholar and will be infinitely beneficial.
“I think everyone should do a CE/T. First, it just teaches you how to manage a long-term project which, regardless of the type of work you're going to pursue for your career, that's a valuable skill to have… It also gives you an opportunity to really dive deeply and become an expert in something that interests you, which I believe is a truly valuable aspect. CE/T’s are flexible, so approach your project in any way that feels comfortable to you. Also, you have an advisor who is there to help walk you through the process.”
Equipped with his Hilltopper education, Trip graduated from WKU and pursued a master’s degree in human rights at Columbia University in New York. He then got a job at the City of New York’s Mayor’s Office of Contract Services where he served as a Minority and Women Owned Business Program Senior Analyst. Following his role with the Mayor’s Office, Trip then decided to enroll in law school at New York University and will be graduating in May 2022!
Trip, we love cheering you on as we watch your journey continue to unfold! Your work from Bowling Green to New York inspires all people, and we are so proud of all you continue to accomplish!