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Indiana Teen Inspired by Local “Rosies”

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Elizabeth Collier of Nashville, Indiana won the right to represent her state at the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. As part of her honor, she contributed a photo essay on the Rosies of Indiana and her work appeared in an exhibition that was on display during the month of January. In her post below, Elizabeth describes the steps that she took to create an award-winning documentary on female workers during World War II and the thrill of winning an award at the National History Day Contest.

Elizabeth Collier with Mary Louise (center) and Fran Carter (right)

June 14, 2012. The day that I made that coveted run to the awards stage for the first time. I was overjoyed that my documentary was taking me back to the museum where I had first started all of my research to share the story of the WWII Rosie the Riveter.

I created an Individual Senior documentary about the incredible works of the WWII Rosie the Riveters entitled, “The Will Behind The Drill: The Revolution and Reforms of the WWII Rosie the Riveter.” My research had taken me to The National WWII Museum’s website, and I had found that they were more than willing to help students from around the country. As my parents and I made the trip to New Orleans, I met and researched with Museum curator, Kimberly Guise. As I learned about the women workers at the Higgins Plant in New Orleans, I also was blessed with the chance to interview the ladies of the National Rosie the Riveter Association in Birmingham, AL. Fran Carter, founder of the Association, told me so many stories of her days as a Riveter and how she continues to work with others like me to heed and remember their lessons. I was also able to interview several Riveters in my home state. Mary Harris from Nashville, In. greatly influenced me and my research, and shared stories of her past that she hadn’t thought of in years that brought a smile to her face. Dr. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize laureate of Economics, also added insight to my documentary and shared her love of the work done by the WWII era women workers.

This project changed my life in so many ways, and helped me to realize and better appreciate the work that these women did, and the extreme sacrifices they made for our country. I was so honored to be apart of the grand opening of the new Boeing Freedom Center and to have the stories of the Rosies I know in the museum, to be shared with everyone who comes along. I dedicate my documentary and works to Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Ostrom, as they passed away this past summer. Let us all heed their lessons, and share their knowledge for generations to come.

The National WWII Museum is the Louisiana sponsor for National History Day and encourages students across the state to participate in this program that not only inspires students but is also shown to increase academic achievement across a range of subjects. The Museum thanks CenturyLink for their generous support of the students who traveled to New Orleans for the opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

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