October 28, 2015, 35 freshman Eberly Connections students, as well as professors
Joe Rosendale and Elizabeth Ricketts, traveled to Pittsburgh for a
fun and informative journey through the city's history.
Connections is a pair of courses linking American History (HIST 196) and
Introduction to Business (MGMT 105) for freshman undecided business majors.
During this trip, the students and professors visited a number of locations
that were rich in Pittsburgh history and business. The group’s first
destination was the Pittsburgh Pump House in Homestead, where they were
joined by Charles McCollestar, a former IUP Labor and Industrial Relations
professor of 22 years, who served as their tour guide.
their HIST 196 course, the students learned that Homestead was the scene of the
1892 Homestead Steel Strike, which resulted from a dispute between the
Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and the Carnegie Steel
Company. The strike was the second-largest serious labor dispute in U.S.
history, and it lead to several casualties and wounds on both sides of the dispute.
we learned about the Homestead Steel Strike in class, Dr. Ricketts used pictures
in her PowerPoints,” said student Aubriana Henry. “When we were outside the
steel mill I was thinking about her pictures and trying to reimagine what
happened that day.”
also at the Pump House, the students heard from John Lepley and Lisa Jordan, who
provided them with a session on Labor Education. During their presentation, the
students gained knowledge about unions from the past and present day, and also insight into the current state of the economy.
Weaver, an Eberly Connections student, said she now has a better understanding
“Going into the day, I had a vague understanding as to how unions
worked,” she said. “After learning about them throughout the day, I learned
that in many occupations, unions can be the difference between making a living
and working for not nearly enough compensation.”
Good also benefited from Lepley and Jordan’s session.
session was very educational and beneficial,” she said. “It gave me a good
outlook on what the economy is like and how to understand what is going on
around the world.”
spent the second half of the Eberly Connections trip at the Braddock Carnegie
Library, where they received a tour of the facility and met with Mike Stout and
Steffi Domike. The library was the first Carnegie Library in the United States.
During its time of operation, the library offered several facilities that are
usually not included within a library, such as a theater, gymnasium, indoor
swimming pool and billiard tables. Today, the library consists of only library
services for adults and children, and the bathhouse is now a pottery studio
which produces water filters in order to improve public health in third-world
a tour of the library, the group listened to Mike Stout, a local Pittsburgh
musician and former steel worker, share his experience in working in the steel
mill. He sang a few of his songs that were related to the Pittsburgh steel
industry and Pittsburgh as a whole.
was an interesting way for him to portray Pittsburgh as a city and its steel
workers through music,” said Rachel Snow. “His music shows that he is very
passionate about Pittsburgh and the steel workers’ union.”
Domike, former president of the Pennsylvania Labor History Society and labor
historians, provided the group with a deeper understanding of the working
conditions in the 1800s by showing the group her documentary, “Women in Steel.”
video she played really got my attention because, not only did it talk about
women working in the mills, but it also mentioned my hometown, Monessen,” said
Taylor Guzzie. “It was interesting to learn that it was once a booming town for
the students and professors had an enjoyable day learning about Pittsburgh’s
was a great trip and learning experience,” said Tyler Speis. “The trip
definitely made it easier to understand the life of the steel workers in the
1800s and to paint a picture in my mind as we learn more about it in the
— Bethany Barefoot