This is part of our WOU graduate profile series where we’re featuring students who have been making incredible contributions to the WOU community
Senior Max Norr is the creator of “The Record Keeper,” an exhibit and website based on books belonging to Sister Genevieve “Birdie” Lantz. She was a nurse with the American Red Cross during World War I, and she used journals to collect jokes, illustrations, stories and autographs from her patients.
Norr did extensive preservation and research work during the project, using online tools to track down information about both Lantz and many of the soldiers who wrote in the record books. The blog chronicles the fascinating stories of many journal entries, each accompanied by detailed information that obviously resulted from extended research by Norr.
The two-term project culminated in the Hamersly Library exhibit, which involved assistance from Archivist Jerrie Lee Parpart. History Professor Kim Jensen served as Norr’s adviser and mentor throughout the project.
As the school year has drawn to a close, the exhibit will be removed from the library and the record books returned to their owner. However, the blog will remain available to anyone who is interested in history and appreciating Norr’s efforts. In the meantime, here’s an opportunity to get to know Norr on the eve of graduation.
What are you getting a degree(s) in?
Social science with a history focus.
Did you minor in anything?
Visual Communication Design
What’s your hometown?
Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU because it was small and inexpensive. When I came here to visit, I got a great vibe from the campus and the people I talked to.
What do you love most about WOU?
I love the small-town community and the great professors. Everyone is so kind and helpful, and the programs are so great.
What do you know now that you wish you had when you started at WOU?
I wish I had known about all of the opportunities for involvement and engagement in student government and clubs.
What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?
I think this research project has been my biggest achievement. I am also graduating summa cum laude with a 3.9 GPA.
What was your biggest challenge in school/at WOU?
My biggest challenge was dealing with my transfer credits, but my adviser was so helpful and really worked with me to get it figured out so I could graduate on time.
What change do you hope to inspire in the world?
I hope to inspire people to engage in their community, and, of course, become passionate about learning!
Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you?
Dr. Kim Jensen has been such a supportive, kind professor and adviser to me as a student and a great mentor as a person. She is so passionate about her field of study, and she wants all of her students to succeed inside the classroom and in their own lives. She truly cares about all of her students and advisees.
Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?
I was involved in ASWOU as the Director of Equity and the co-chair of the Oregon Student Equal Rights Alliance with OSA (Oregon Student Association), working to engage students within marginalized communities on campus and in Oregon as a whole, creating resources for them on campus and raising awareness. I was also in the Triangle Alliance’s annual Drag Show, in which I danced in the chorus and had the time of my life!
What was your favorite campus event or activity?
My favorite event was the Drag Show itself; I gained so much confidence in myself and made so many friends.
What will you miss most about college?
I will miss my friends and all of the opportunities to learn new things with great professors.
Do you have plans after graduation?
My plan after graduation is to work with museums, particularly at a historical research and preservation institute in Medford, which is where my family lives. I also hope to work as a freelance graphic designer in that area.
What was the hardest class assignment you had?
The most challenging assignment was in this term’s Intermediate 3-D Design class taught by Prof. Sung Park in the art department. I had never really worked with sculpture before, and there were a lot of unfamiliar materials. However, I had a great time making this project throughout the term and I’m really happy with the result.
Where is your favorite spot in town to grab a bite?
Burgerville! Their cheeseburgers are the best, second only to In-N-Out Burger.
Do you have a favorite study spot on campus?
I usually find a nice quiet corner of the library to plug in my laptop, pile books around me and get some serious studying done.
What advice do you have to current and future WOU students?
Get as involved as you can. Set limits for yourself and take time for your own personal pursuits. Take advantage of free services such as the health and counseling center. Remember to take a step back once in a while and keep perspective.
Find a video about Norr’s exhibit here.