A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Turkish Community in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton is notable for its attempt to make itself an “immigrant-friendly city” through the establishment of Welcome Dayton, a policy and organization that tries to boost up the immigrant community while boosting up Dayton itself.

I aim to find ways in which members of the Turkish community have integrated to traditional American culture, as well as ways in which they have maintained traditional Turkish culture. I will also look at how Welcome Dayton has impacted this, either for better or worse.

I am working with Brooke Bryan at Antioch College in my efforts to interview members of the Turkish community, as well as those from various organizations, which will extend into my senior project.

[Editor’s note: This project was created and implemented within one 11 week term at Antioch College (detailed in this post) as an opportunity to learn oral history research methods and tools for digital scholarship at the culmination of the junior year sequence. This IRB-approved project uses an abbreviated life story interview methodology, published with the help of ESRI Story Maps platform (page 2), PopUp Archive (page 3), and SoundCloud to stream the audio. Katie is currently engaged in a second phase of project development for her senior project capstone.]

On August 26, 2015, I interviewed Melissa Bertolo, Welcome Dayton Program Coordinator. We discussed topics such as why Welcome Dayton was created, how it helps immigrants and refugees, how Dayton benefits from the influx of people, and more. Listen to the interview below.

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Katie Zechar graduated in 2016 with a degree in history from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She was born in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. She spent her time at Antioch studying as much history as possible, hoping to find a specific area of interest where she could expand her knowledge. While she has a deep interest in indigenous cultures, especially of Central and South America, she will continue her search for knowledge in any historical area possible. For her senior project at Antioch, she hoped to create a starting point in recording oral history of the Turkish people in the city she calls home.

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