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Bonjour la France

“Parlez-vous Francais?” is what one mass communication graduate student will probably be asked a lot this summer.

Stephanie Lindsey, 26, has been awarded a $4,000 scholarship to travel to Normandy, France in June to film her experience traveling to World War II areas.

“I’m very excited!” said Lindsey, a native of Stockton, California. “I’m a little bit nervous.”   

It all happened because of a conversation she had with Nathan Huegen, a New Orleans World War II Museum Educational Travel Director, who came to Grambling State to do a presentation last year.

“…I saw one black girl in the presentation,” said Lindsey. “And I’m like ‘something is wrong here … why are there not more African-Americans involved in this?’ ”

After the presentation she told Huegen, “With as much racial tension and craziness going on in America right now, this could be, if done right, an opportunity for African-Americans to really know what place they have in American history.”

The trip will cost almost $4,000, according to Lindsey.

“That’s a lot of money,” she said.

At this point, Lindsey, who is also a children’s book author, said that she was trying to think of a proposal for a fundraising idea.

She already knew how she would use this experience to benefit the museum and black colleges.

She just needed the funds.

In January of this year, a friend of hers called her and told her that Brian McGowan, a Grambling history professor, was looking for her.

McGowan is good friends with Huegen.

McGowan told her that Huegen wanted her to e-mail him about a scholarship. In the e-mail, Huegen told her to put together a proposal because she had some good ideas from the conversation they previously had.

“He didn’t say anything about the scholarship,” said Lindsey. “He just said put together a proposal of what you want to accomplish on the trip.”

Lindsey said that she wants to use the trip for a promotional tool for the museum and an educational tool for HBCUs.

“I sent in a proposal and a month went by,” said Lindsey.

She eventually got an e-mail saying that she had been awarded the E.J. Ourso Normandy Scholarship.

Although, she hadn’t initially filled out an application for the scholarship, in that e-mail it was requested that she should complete an application, but did not have to fill out any payment information because she had been granted $4,000 for the scholarship.

This trip is primarily for history majors, but with Lindsey being a mass communication major, a position was made for her.

“They call it embedded journalists,” said Lindsey. “…I’m documenting the whole trip.”

Lindsey will be working closely with two French students to get the history of the area.

She will be interviewing all the students, faculty at the museum, the tour guides, and anyone else she or the other students may run into.

After all of her work is done in France, she will present her documentary to the board of the E.J. Ourso Normandy Scholarship.

Furthermore, she will travel to speak at different HBCUs to promote the program.

The 2013 undergrad graduate believes that it was in God’s favor that she received this opportunity because according to her, she wasn’t even supposed to be in school at this time.

Lindsey had plans of returning for graduate school in the fall of 2014, but her plans altered when her sister suddenly passed away on March 21, 2014 due to a brain cyst. Because of her sister’s passing, she ended up returning to school a semester later than she had planned. 

“Faith is a big thing for me and God is huge for me, so I know that if God brought me to it, he’ll see me through it.

Lindsey will start her journey in D-day City on June 18.