Skip to Main Content

Student Bloggers

Conversations of Consequence

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

When I was in elementary school, anyone who wanted to sound particularly erudite might drop the line, “Four score and seven years ago…”. Much like the Scarecrow mis-stating the Pythagorean Theorem at the end of The Wizard of Oz, none of us knew what a “score” was and only the real smart-alecks knew this phrase was the beginning of the Gettysburg Address.

            The ten-sentence address, delivered four and a half months after the bloody battle at the dedication of a military cemetery, left an impact on American culture as enduring as the cannonballs still embedded in Fort Sumter's walls. Even elementary school kids can recite the opening lines. Running only two minutes, the Gettysburg Address is one of the shortest presidential speeches in history – and many of the 15,000 people who witnessed its delivery didn't even hear it! A photographer setting up his camera distracted many of the audience members, and they missed one of the most cherished moments in American history.

            Just because they missed out on a great moment, doesn’t mean you have to. Applications are currently being accepted for a non-credit seminar taught by our very own college president Dr. DeRionne Pollard. In the course, Conversations of Consequence: U.S. Presidential Speeches that Changed History, students will examine various U.S. Presidential speeches and discuss the impact of these speeches on American society and history.

We know that the delivery of the Gettysburg Address was less than a Braveheart moment, and left little immediate impact on the audience members cleaning their ears and murmuring in confusion as they watched their president leave the podium. In the time since then, however, the American public has taken cultural ownership of an incredibly brief speech delivered by a president so unpopular that seven states left the union in response to his election. Those ten sentences could have easily sunken into obscurity, but didn’t. Why? All this and more can be discussed with Dr. Pollard in this course!

As a culminating activity, students will take a fieldtrip to Washington, DC to see the inauguration of the next American president and witness history in the making. Space is limited for this unique opportunity to take a class with your college president. Applications are due July 31.

 Don’t be left scratching your head as historical events unfold around you. Apply now! 

Big Brother

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

I have spent numerous blogs bragging about the friends I have made at MC who are close enough to be my sisters and brothers. I have yet to tell you much about a friend of mine at MC who happens to actually be my brother.

                  Allow me to introduce my older brother, Max. Max has been my best friend from the time I was born three years and a week after him. Rather than being jealous of the new baby (as I was when my younger brother showed up) Max – at the age of three – immediately accepted the role of older brother and has always looked out for my younger brother and me. People have always been able to tell that Max and I are siblings due to our similar facial features and annoying habit of always knowing what the other one is thinking. We look so similar, and are so good at reading each other’s minds, that throughout our lives, people have confused us for being twins.

                  On May 18, 2012, here at MC, thousands of people may think Max and I are twins when we have the distinct honor of graduating from MC together.

                  Just as MC and the MC Scholars Program was the perfect place for me to begin my college career, MC has also been a great place for Max. During his senior year of high school, Max decided he needed a slower transition from high school to college. As a commuter school with a lower tuition fee, Montgomery College offered Max the opportunity to slow down the first half of his undergrad degree and pick up some valuable study habits without breaking the bank. MC has opened doors for Max in his chosen field: the video game design industry. Originally learning about an internship at Bethesda Softworks from an MC Professor, Max has spent several semesters working at “Beth Soft”, and thanks to its proximity to MC has been able to go to school at the same time. MC also has an articulation agreement with the University of Baltimore at Shady Grove for the Videogame Design major. Max will be transferring to UB at Shady Grove this fall – at the same time I transfer to Saint Mary’s.

                  Max and I are undoubtedly two drastically different people. Mom says we’ve had distinct personalities from the womb, and of course we will continue to be distinctive for the rest of our lives. Despite our differences and our disagreements, I owe a lot of who I am to Max, who, along with my parents, was my first teacher. He taught me how to play pretend, and how to embrace my uniqueness. He taught me how to blow bubbles in my bubble gum and how to make rude noises with my armpits. He laid the groundwork for my high school theater career by trying out for his school play in sixth grade. There are still things I have to learn from Max, such as how to not go crazy with stress, and how to do nice things for people just because it’s the right thing to do. Max is patient, compassionate, and fun like no one else I know. It has been an honor to walk in his very tall shadow for the past twenty years.

                  Congratulations Max on your graduation! Congratulations to the MC class of 2012!

                  MC, thanks for being there for my big brother and me.  



(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

It well may be that we will never meet again

in this lifetime, so let me say before we part

so much of me is made of what I learned from you.

You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.

And now whatever way our stories end

You know you have re-written mine by being my friend.”

            Listening to two of my best friends sing the above words nearly reduced me to tears. Every year, Montgomery Scholars hosts a brunch to welcome the incoming class of scholars. This weekend at the annual brunch, my friends sang For Good, a duet from the musical Wicked. The song perfectly encapsulates mine and my friends’ feelings of gratitude and love for each other and MC. It also serves as a poignant reminder that too soon we’ll be splitting off in twenty-four different directions.  

            With excitement, I discovered that my friends will be transferring to colleges prestigious as Mount Holyoke, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and University of Maryland College Park. As I myself prepare to become a Saint Mary’s Seahawk (I have a sweatshirt now and everything) I am flooded with the excitement of going someplace new where I will meet new people and be immersed in a unique learning experience.

            By the same token, I have become increasingly aware that my undergraduate experience is halfway done. Sometimes I wish I could freeze the moments when I watched shooting stars in Harpers Ferry, when I expanded my horizons in Core, when I first saw the Library of Congress, and when I basked in a Paris sunset with my friends and picnicked in the shadow of the Eifel Tower.

            I am certain it is not goodbye forever. Even if I never meet these people again, they will always be with me; they are all a part of me, just as the moments I have had with them are forever a part of me. Yet, I know things will never be the same. We will part ways, meet new people, and in some ways, become new people. These two years at MC have been an incredible gift, packed with a lifetime worth of memories. That single moment in which all of our paths converged at MC shines in my heart like the North Star over open seas.

            May it guide me if ever I lose the way. 

Fire and Ice

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

There is a particular genre of fiction I am very interested which welds science fiction to historical fiction. This genre is called “steam punk” and tends to follow a Victorian line of technology where everything is steam powered and full of clunky gears. Although not a Victorian phenomenon, these stories often feature dirigibles or lighter-than-air ships – such as the Hindenburg. My interest in reading and writing “steam punk” drew me to a lecture on the Hindenburg at the Smithsonian on Thursday evening. (I am of the opinion that all great fiction is based on fact.)

            The lecturer, Cheryl Ganz, is the co-curator for an exhibit at the Postal Museum called Fire and Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic. The hundredth anniversary of the Titanic this week has been highly capitalized upon, given the macabre fascination people seem to have with the disaster. Less publicized is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hindenburg explosion, also this year. Because both of these historic disasters took place on mobile post offices, the curators of the Postal Museum decided that an exploration of these two disasters – from the perspective of the mailrooms – would make an exciting exhibit.

            Dr. Ganz is an expert on the Hindenburg, particularly on Hindenburg mail. Much of her lecture focused on the ways she had to analyze primary sources in order to piece together clues about the mailroom. There are no known photographs of the Hindenburg mailroom, nor blueprints of it. By looking at blueprints of the entire ship, Dr. Ganz concluded that the mailroom was a mirror image of the radio room, of which there is an existing photograph. Further, she was able to piece together what the furniture looked like based on invoices and descriptions of it, and was able to reconstruct what the post-mark stamp would have looked like by comparing the burnt remnants of one to a complete one from an earlier Hindenburg voyage. She used a photograph of the Post Master and information about his uniform to know what he might have looked like sitting in the mailroom. From all of this information, she was able to come up with a picture of what the mailroom on the Hindenburg might have looked like.

            From other primary sources, Dr. Ganz was able to reconstruct a mailbox that had been destroyed, as well as discover the exact route the Hindenburg had taken on its last voyage – something that had been previously unknown. (There are no official records of exact Hindenburg routes. As the ship flew, members of the crew posted the daily location of the ship on a large map in one of the public areas. Passengers were given blank maps to document this progress if they so chose. Heirs of a Hindenburg survivor came forth with his documents that had survived the fire in his valise. Among his papers, was one such map meticulously filled out. This is possibly the only surviving record of the Hindenburg’s exact route.)

            I had never really considered how detail-oriented historical research has to be. I also wonder about historians of the future. With so many of our documents existing in only electronic copies, it is possible that we will be leaving behind fewer physical documents than people of the past, especially if something about technology changes in the future, such that our documents become inaccessible. If somehow, most documentation of our own period became inaccessible, it wouldn’t be thee first time in history. After all, we still don’t know for certain how the standing stones of Britain were raised.






Ren Pedroza small


Current Blogger


Katelynn Snyder Display Image


Current Blogger


Lauren Alford Display Image


Current Blogger


Matt Hounsell Profile Pic


Current Blogger


Will Campbell Profile Pic


Current Blogger


Anthony Lloyd Profile Pic


Current Blogger

Montgomery College

Montgomery County, MD


©2015, Montgomery College