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November 25, 2009

ULM Social Science Research Lab students present findings in Lafayette

Students and faculty from the University of Louisiana at Monroe Honors Program and the Social Science Research Lab (SSRL) presented research findings at a program sponsored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in November.

At the ULL-sponsored program, ULM students presented their findings on the documentary “Stay Brady Stay.” The film highlights Louisiana’s so-called “brain drain” and features former ULM student Brady Middleton as he struggles with whether to remain in Louisiana following graduation.

“Stay Brady Stay” was funded through a University of Louisiana System service-learning grant and produced by SSRL students.

Junior Lynette Gregory, a political science major from Bastrop, covered her role in the pre-production phase of the documentary. She coordinated evaluations with six other students concerning the social-economic-political conditions in northeast Louisiana. Her research and that of the other students provided the basis for how the film was structured in terms of interviews and content.

Glen Yacher, a junior mass communications major from New Orleans, provided photography for the project, capturing places and people across north Louisiana during the production phase. Yacher’s 3,000-plus pictures in both color and black and white assisted the film crew in their decisions about where and what film footage to shoot.

As the film wrapped and was screened for audiences, additional students provided their marketing skills during the post-production phase.

“This research conference gave me a great chance to share ideas, information, and techniques of marketing a documentary film with students and faculty from all over the state, “ said Charles Strauss, a junior political science major from Sulphur. “It was awesome to be have the opportunity to represent ULM and show other schools what we're producing up here."

"Most people only see the finished project, a 30-minute film, but the work that these students did behind the scenes and after the film’s completion was the real project,” said Dr. John W. Sutherlin, the film’s director and writer. “Without their efforts, there was no way we could have completed it.”

The program was held Nov. 13-16 and featured students from ULM, ULL, Southern University and Nicholls State University. Dr. Kevin Unter, department head of Gerontology, Sociology and Political Science, joined Dr. Sutherlin as a faculty representative from ULM.

Unter remarked on the benefits of ULM students presenting their research around the state and nation. “… Students see how well they can compete with anyone for jobs or in graduate programs or law schools,” he said.

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