UH Moment

UH Moment: “UH-SURF/Ronnie Turner”

“Research” may have a scholarly sound to it, but undergraduates at the University of Houston can dip their toe into it as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  One student’s path led to a treasure trove of Houston history.  Hear about it in today’s UH Moment.

Ronnie Turner is a sports fan and a sportswriter, and this year he discovered he also is a researcher.  Turner participated in the University of Houston Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), an intensive, full-time, 10-week summer program designed to cultivate research skills.  He started with a love of history.  He ended up with a passion for it.   

 “You’ve heard of Jesse Jones?  He’s known as ‘Mr. Houston,'” Turner said.  “If you ask 10 people who Quentin Mease is you’ll be lucky if one knows.  He’s the Other Mr. Houston.”

Turner was paired with faculty mentor Professor Orson Cook, who guided Turner’s research process and fueled his research passion. 

UH Office of Undergraduate ResearchMease is a living part of Houston’s history.  He played a critical role in desegregating Houston.  Turner found him in his Third Ward home, and the research began.  He told Ronnie of his role in negotiating African American support that led to the Astrodome’s construction, and of his South Central YMCA, critically important during desegregation. 

“He did a lot of things to push desegregation and to bring together important people in the white community and important people in the black community by using his YMCA to do that.”

As part of the SURF requirements, Turner had to visually compile his information for a special display of undergraduate research.  But Turner says his research won’t stop there because he’s found so much more to tell.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston. 

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