During the spring 2020 transition to remote learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Oral History: the Art of the Interview classes were forced to abandon the planned interview projects During the three week interruption before classes resumed online, Associate Professor Erin McCarthy and Archives staff created Capturing Quarantine, a digital oral history project designed to document the student experience during the global pandemic.
The collection documents a frequently overlooked voice, that of the undergraduate student, and will be a valuable source for future study by those interested in learning about daily life during the pandemic from the student perspective.
Students interviewed each other, created biographical and interview abstract statements, and authored reflection pieces on the experience of the abrupt mid-semester switch and overall thoughts about the process and the pandemic.
Other oral history projects conducted by Dr. McCarthy's students in support of archival holdings:
Alexandra Resendez, Ally, a 20-year-old freshman at Columbia College Chicago, was forced to navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic after a few months of moving to the city. Ally grew up in Brownsville, Texas and lived there until she went to college. During her first year, Columbia was forced to shut down and she got kicked out of her dorm mere days after flying home for safety. She had to take a cross country trip to retrieve her Chicago life and trade in for a bedroom at her parent’s house. The stress of not having health insurance has forced Ally to go to Mexico for treatment and puts her in constant fear for her family’s lives. Through a guitar and poetry, she takes each day a step at a time until we see the other side.
Alex Schmelter was born in Lake Forest, Illinois to George Schmelter from Indiana, and Illinois native Kristin MacMurray. Schmelter was raised in Lake Villa, Illinois and was educated at Grayslake North High School. Alex spent summers working at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois and at an Amazon delivery facility. In 2017 Schmelter had an internship at Shalom Television working as a PA/stagehand that offered a valuable experience that now helps him on film sets at Columbia College. Schmelter spent several years volunteering for the St. Vincent DePaul Society at Prince of Peace Catholic Church helping with home visits, food trucks, food pantries. Schmelter also spent a summer assisting in Praying Pelican Missions in Puerto Rico hurricane relief in 2018. This work consisted of building houses, facilities for other volunteers, and helping rebuild and clean other devastated areas. Alex came to Columbia College Chicago in 2018 to study film, but a passion for literature, inspired by former high school teachers as well as his sister, led Schmelter to change his major. He now studies English at Columbia College Chicago and is expected to graduate in 2022.
Amelia Wilson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up in Indianapolis with her mother, father, and sister Emily. Amelia attended Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis, Indiana where she graduated in 2018. After high school, Amelia took a gap year. Amelia works at Target. She has worked for Target since 2017 at various locations in Illinois and Indiana. Amelia began attending Columbia College Chicago in the Fall of 2019. This is also when she moved to Whiting, Indiana. Amelia is a Creative Writing major who is also minoring in marketing. Amelia is in her first year at Columbia College Chicago but is a college sophomore due to credits she earned throughout high school where her many AP classes pushed her forward a grade in college. Her hobbies include reading, writing, poetry, and music. Amelia Wilson is a published author and her poetry book The Lights are on but Nobody’s Home was published April 9th, 2019.
Chan Woo Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea. After a move in 2002 to the Philippines, a 2005 move took him and his parents to Cook County, Illinois, where they settled up to the present day. His high school education at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois proved to be filled with academic, personal, and career-focused success - after realizing his passion for movies, he became a member of his school’s film club, and went on to create his own production company (Kim, Chan Woo Productions) and his own films. At the same time, he worked on projects in collaboration with John Hersey High School. He rounded out his education and graduated as part of the National Honor Society in 2018. During high school, he also participated in summer film programs, at the University of Southern California and Columbia College Chicago, and began his internship for producing, assistant directing, and production assistance with Warner Bros (2017 to present). His interest in film led him to study filmmaking with a focus in directing at Columbia College Chicago, where he’s set to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2022. His goal as a professional filmmaker is to use the films he creates to deliver his message and voice to the audience, and inspire them.