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UCM Faculty Instrumental in Conducting Seminar Teaching Educators How to Document Lives of African American Civil War Veterans

By Jeff Murphy, April 16, 2024


Lauren Hays, associate professor of education technology at the University of Central Missouri, leads a group of middle school and high school educators on a tour of Fort Scott National Cemetery in Fort Scott, Kansas, where they learned about documenting the lives of underrepresented veterans interred at the cemetery.  

WARRENSBURG, MO – An opportunity made possible by collaborative efforts that include the University of Central Missouri, 20 educators who teach grades 7-12 at the area surrounding Fort Scott National Cemetery in Fort Scott, Kansas participated in a professional development seminar on April 4 which enabled them to uncover information to document the life stories of African American Civil War veterans who are interred at the cemetery.

After touring the Natonal Cemetery, the participants returned to Fort Scott Community College where they learned more about how to research the lives of these veterans and how to teach their students to do the same. They also learned more about the Veteran Administration’s Veterans Legacy Memorial program and how to upload biographies of veterans to that platform. The professional development day ended by having participating teachers provide feedback on a draft handbook that the UCM team has developed specifically for 7-12 grade teachers about how to conduct this research and how the research fits within the state standards for teachers.

In August 2023, UCM and its partners received a Veterans Legacy Memorial grant that funded the April 4 professional development event for teachers as part of the Veterans Voices from the Heartland grant. UCM faculty members who participated and presented at the professional development event included Lauren Hays, associate professor of education technology; Sara Sundberg, professor emerita of history; and Jon Taylor, professor of history. Tina Ellsworth, assistant professor of education, Northwest Missouri State University, served as an outside consultant for the grant. Other partners included Katie Kline, director of the Greater Kansas City Writing Project and Katie Smith, director, and Kim Alberg from the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri. UCM History graduate student Emily Hemann and undergraduate students in History, Emma Fischer and Truman Harrow also participated in the event.

The UCM team is now planning for a two-day professional development seminar for 7-12 grade educators that will presented at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville and at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence on June 17-18. For more information or to register for the seminar, please see the information in this link or contact Katie Kline at


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