Nic Jensen: Going to the Source

By Hank McIntire

Nic Jensen

        Nic Jensen, Wood Research Assistant for      the the Quill Project at Utah Valley University.

Nicholas Jensen, of Santaquin, Utah, is a Wood Research Assistant in the Center for Constitutional Studies at Utah Valley University. He has been with the Center since February 2022.

A senior majoring in History at UVU and slated to graduate in May 2023, Nic is a co-team lead on the Quill Project, specifically researching the Illinois constitutional convention under the auspices of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

Nic’s history professors were impressed with his work and recommended that he submit a paper he completed for his History of the American West course to Crescat Scientia, an undergraduate-research journal published on UVU campus.

His article, a study of Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado’s quest to find the seven cities of Cíbola, was accepted and published in 2022.

“Though Coronado’s expedition is generally categorized as the search for gold in these mythical cities, when he and his counterparts did not find treasure they then searched for other symbols of wealth in the form of labor exploitation and slavery,” Nic explained.

“In writing this paper I learned a lot about the scholarship and historiography,” he continued. “You go to the source, what historians call primary sources, to get as unfiltered a view as possible from someone living at the time, such as the letters and journals of the friars from the 1500s, who were contemporaries of Coronado. The mythology of the seven cities seemed to be created as it was happening.”

Nic has plans to attend graduate school, earn a doctorate, and conduct research in a museum or archive setting.

“Much of our work on the Quill Project involves finding and searching archives, and I enjoy the research and can see myself doing similar work when I finish grad school,” Nic said. “I like finding and interpreting the story that these primary sources tell.”