“Hiram takes pride in promoting faculty-guided research activities with our undergraduate students. [Such activities] provide students with an opportunity to experience the kind of scholarly pursuits that professionals in their discipline undertake,” says Lisa Safford, Ph.D., professor of art history and chair of Hiram’s Art Department.
In step with this tradition, Alaina Seguin, a senior double majoring in communication and marketing and minoring in art history, co-authored with Safford “Eyes of the Storm: Kamakura Sculptural Embedded Crystals Expressive of an Age of Anxiety.” Seguin presented the paper at the Asian Studies Development Program annual meeting in Portland, Ore. earlier this month. The conference brought together scholars from various disciplines — religious studies, philosophy, sociology, history, the arts, literature, politics and economics, among others — to look at ways of understanding Asian culture past and present.
“Her topic, interpreting the meaning of changes in the nature of sculptural production over seven centuries ago in Japan during a period of political and social upheaval, was very apt,” describes Safford, adding that Seguin was the only undergraduate student who presented at the conference.
Junior biochemistry major Hallie Chavez will present her paper “Romantic Era Repurposing of Enlightened Science” at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, beginning March 30. Chavez prepared her paper as part of her fall 3-week Bohemians and Rebels interdisciplinary course team-taught by Safford and Paul Gaffney, Ph.D., associate professor of English.
“Hallie’s paper showcases the best qualities of a Hiram education at an undergraduate research conference devoted to literature … Hallie’s theme is a perfect example of the interdisciplinary nature of a Hiram education,” explains Safford. “It links her devotion to science, with aspects of art history and literature produced during the Romantic era …”
Safford says both students gained valuable exposure to scholar professionals and other undergraduate students who conduct high-level research and writing. She adds that such opportunities provide students “a great learning experience, an encouragement for them to continue academic pursuits beyond the undergraduate level and, immeasurably, confidence-building.”
Chavez sums it up: “Presenting my work at conference is incredible because I have the chance to talk about something important and interesting to me, and people listen,” she says. “It is also an opportunity to refine my work and meet people who are as excited about writing as I am.”
Student attendance at the conferences was funded by a Hiram grant from the Mellon Foundation to support faculty-directed research in the humanities.