Dr. Audra Jennings
Director of the Office of Scholar Development and Assistant Professor of Honors Interdisciplinary Studies
My Role in the Honors College
As Director of the Office of Scholar Development, I work with students who are applying for national and international scholarships, graduate and professional school, and national internships and research opportunities. I also teach colloquia that examine U.S. social development through the lenses of disability and medicine, politics and activism, labor and industry, and citizenship and the welfare state.
I earned a Ph.D. in modern U.S. history, with emphases in disability, labor, and women’s history, from Ohio State University in 2008.
Professionally Published Work
I am the author of “‘An Emblem of Distinction’: The Politics of Disability Entitlement, 1940-1950,” in The Politics of Veterans Policy: Federal Policies and Veterans in the Modern US, ed. Stephen R. Ortiz (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, forthcoming) and “‘The Greatest Numbers . . . Will Be Wage Earners’: Organized Labor and Disability Activism, 1945-1953,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas (November 2007). I am also the author of a forthcoming Retrieving the American Past module, “Living and Fighting Polio, 1930-1960,” and numerous entries in the Encyclopedia of American Disability History (New York: Facts on File, 2009). My current book project, Out of the Horrors of War: The Politics of Disability in Post-World War II America, analyzes disability activism and the expansion of federal disability policy in the wake of World War II. Based on extensive archival research, my work elucidates how ability and disability shaped the ways in which Americans defined and codified the rights of citizenship; notions of fitness, dependency, and entitlement; and the responsibilities of the state to its citizens.
Hobbies and Interests
When not teaching, editing, advising, or writing, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our dog—a miniature pinscher.
What Brought Me to the HC
I grew up in western Kentucky, and I remember how profoundly college changed my life. In a sense, it made my world much bigger and richer. I was drawn to the Honors College at WKU and the Office of Scholar Development because of the opportunity to help make that experience a reality for many others.
A Little About Myself
I have to admit that I am a bit of a television junkie. If I could have a superpower, I would want to be a master of time and space like Hiro Nakamura from Heroes. My dog has quite the wardrobe.