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The Professor Podcast in the Library with a Microphone: Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck

The Professor Podcast is a podcast of your professors, their research, and their academic lives here at St. Thomas

Aura Wharton-Beck: Government Girls

Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, discusses her research about African American professional women ('Government Girls') working for the federal government during World War II.  She became interested in this topic as a young girl when she found her mother's yearbook, Whirl-i-gig: A Pictorial Story of Midway Hall for Government Girls 1946 documenting her experience as a Government Girl. 

This was the first time she had seen African American women in professional roles as statisticians, loan analysts, and financial computer analysts, opening her eyes to a greater number of opportunities and career options.  

Her research included interviews with four Government Girls who were then in their 80's and 90's, outreach to local historical societies, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, The National ArchivesLibrary of Congress, and The Minnesota Historical Society.    




Inspired by her mother, Edith Brinn, Indelible Narratives: African American Government Girls of WWII is a documentary film in progress being produced by Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck.  It tells the stories of the African American Government Girls, a remarkable group of young Black women who began working for the United States federal government during and after World War II.  

Learn more about the history of the Government Girls and the film at


Articles by Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck available at the UST Libraries


Wharton-Beck, A. (2022), "Interrupted Labor by Another Name: Resistance." Feminist Review, Issue 132.

Wharton-Beck, A., Chou, C. C., Gilbert, C., Johnson, B., & Beck, M. A. (2022). K-12 school leadership perspectives from the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy Futures in Education

Wharton-Beck, A. (2021), "A Case Study of African American 'Government Girls:' Unspoken Narratives." Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 15, 315-33.

Chou, Chientzu Candace; Chuang, Hsueh-Hua; and Wharton-Beck, Aura N. (2019) "Fostering the Development of Social Capital to Enrich Student Experiences Through After-School Digital Tutoring Programs," Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange (JETDE): Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 1. Available at: