The sixth annual Undergraduate Literature Conference featured students from Bridgewater State and Stonehill College presenting their work on a wide variety of topics.
From consumption, to religion and politics in Iceland and England, to creative writing, the day-long event showcased the scholarship of more than two dozen undergraduates.
"The students are doing extremely well," said Dr. Molly Robey, assistant professor of English and one of the organizers, during a break in the event. "The papers are really phenomenal this year."
The conference was born after Stonehill's Associate Professor of English Sarah Gracombe, who is faculty advisor to the institution's English Society, was talking to a student and both lamented the fact that students worked hard on their final papers only to see them graded and filed away.
"They didn't have an afterlife," Dr. Gracombe said.
The symposium gives these papers a well-deserved showcase, she added.
"It's wonderful," she said of the event. "It's full of great examples of the sophistication our students are capable of."
Panel themes for this year's symposium also included "Outsiders," "Race in America from Civil War to Civil Rights," and "Sexuality and Sentiment: Pushing Cultural Boundaries," as well seven works of creative writing.
"I love watching our students present their work like this," Dr. Robey said, "they're nervous and shy but they get a real sense of accomplishment. It's a very special day."
The students saw the symposium as a way to share their research, hone their presentation skills and learn from their peers and share in their success.
"This tends to be their best work of the semester and you can see how proud they are," said BSU sophomore Jennifer Kilgallon, who is president of the university's English Society.
Presenting one's work at a symposium also allows students to experience the range of scholarly work, its labors and rewards, said Stonehill's Meredith Kalinski,'13, who presented her paper on Disney's advocacy of human-animal relationships.
"It's the combination of putting it together and presenting it," she said. "It brings the whole process full circle."
Trevor La Torre-Couch '14 (left) wore a traditional Hawaiian outfit to coincide with his paper topic at the symposium.
Other Stonehill presenters included Andrew Norkiewicz '14, Carolyn Meklenburg '14, Jillian Anthony '12, Caitlyn McGoff '12, Liz Cote '12, Amy Flynn '12, Sara Surrette-Fahey '12, Erin Flaherty '12, Emily Palmisano '13, Nick Howard '13, Marisa Martino '12, and Brian Purcell '13.
Story and photo by John Winters, G '11, Bridgewater State University Advancement
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