James Smither


Veterans, families, and friends:  To sign up to be interviewed, to recommend a friend or relative to be interviewed, or to find out more about the interview process, please contact Dr. James Smither at Grand Valley State University.  His telephone number is (616) 331-3422 and e-mail address is smitherj@gvsu.edu.  Interviews can be conducted either in a studio setting (which gives us better video quality and creates programming for public access cable television in Kent County) through BCTV in Bryon Center or WKTV in Wyoming/Kentwood, or we will come to your home for the interview. 

GVSU Students, Faculty and Staff

Internships: The GVSU Veterans History Project offers student internships of 1, 2, or 3 credits in History and in Communications.  These internships can often be applied to students' majors in these fields, or can be done as free electives.

History interns' responsibilities may include working with the university archivist to process and archive videos and documents, participating in interview sessions, creating text files (summaries and outlines of interviews) for posting on the archive website, processing interview videos for uploading on the internet, and/or helping to organize and run public events.   Students interested in history internships with the project can contact Dr. Smither (see above). 

Communications interns can participate in various aspects of documentary production, and can also assist in creating edited collections of materials drawn from different interviews for classroom use.  Other projects may include photography and advertising/public relations.  Students interested in communications internships with the project should contact Prof. Frank Boring at the School of Communications.  His telephone number is (616) 331-8097 and e-mail address is boringf@gvsu.edu

The project also offers jobs for student research assistants.  Research assistants are paid (by the hour) and their roles are similar to the interns.  We have a particular need for students interested in viewing the interview videos and creating summaries and outlines to post on the Internet.  We are also interested in hiring students capable of doing transcription work.  Students from all majors are welcome to apply for these positions.  Interested students should contact Dr. Smither (see above) for more information.   

GVSU staff and faculty: You are invited to assist us as interviewers, recruiters, transcribers, and event planners.  They are also invited to use our resources, including materials posted on the website and our full collection of interview videos, in their courses.  Those interested should contact Dr. Smither (see above). 

High Schools: Our Education Committee offers training and support for secondary school teachers interested in having their students conduct interviews for the project.  We can visit your school and meet with teachers and students to explain the process, provide training and guidance for interviewing, provide blank media to record the interviews, and take care of archiving the videos and paperwork.  We will send DVD copies of the interviews directly to the veterans you interview and the original recording will be sent back to the school.  We can help to arrange classrooms visits from local veterans, and assistance with use of project materials.  Teachers and school administrators interested in learning more about the project should contact the Education Committee chair, Mark Weber at markgweber@gmail.com.

Partner Organizations:  We are actively interested in developing partnerships with area museums, historical societies, libraries, veterans' groups, retirement communities, churches, and other organizations.  Partners help us recruit veterans to be interviewed, provide interview venues, and promote the project in their communities.  In return, we assign interviewers to work with them, provide partners with copies of the interviews that we conduct, take care of archiving the interviews, and assist in planning live events featuring area veterans and/or materials (documentaries, etc.) created by the project.  Organizations interested in working with us should contact Dr. Smither (see above). 

Community Volunteers:  We encourage interested individuals from the area to work with us to recruit veterans to be interviewed, conduct interviews for the project, and assist with transcription of individual interviews.  Volunteers can work on their own schedules, and any contribution in these areas, large or small, is most welcome.  Individuals interested in volunteering with the project should contact Dr. Smither (see above). 


Want more information on the Project?

For more information on the Veterans History Project at the national level, visit:










  Last Modified Date: March 11, 2014
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