Paula Santiago Ch'ulel
Download Image: Web
On April 9, 10, and 11, Lycoming College students Esmeralda Luna ’21, Valeria Rivera ’22, and Kellie Mooney ’21 presented talks at the SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium. The event gathered nearly one hundred student speakers from across the northeast to share achievements in undergraduate research.
Luna, a Spanish and political science major with a minor in Latin American studies, presented her talk on “Erasure as Resistance: Ana Teresa Fernandez’s Borrando la frontera.” Business and commercial design major Rivera, with a minor in art history, presented “Paula Santiago: Body and Memory.” Mooney, a senior dual-majoring in art history and medieval studies and minoring in archaeology, gave her talk on “Biblical Stories Through Anglo-Saxon Eyes: A Study of the Junius Manuscript and the Old English Hexateuch.”
Although held virtually this year, the SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium has offered scholars a platform to showcase their work since 2018. According to the Symposium’s mission statement, it exists “to provide an inviting, nurturing, and inclusive space for undergraduates to give their first professional talks as well as develop increased self-confidence.” Mooney, Luna, and Rivera represented Lycoming alongside many other prestigious schools across the region, including Ivy League universities.
In the fall semester of 2020, Luna and Rivera took a course on “Art & Politics in Latin America,” taught by Erin McCutcheon, Ph.D, assistant professor of art history at Lycoming.. They transformed their final papers on Mexican women artists into talks for the Symposium. Although neither are art history majors, both students have excelled in the discipline. “I feel their work demonstrates just how interdisciplinary the field of art history is!” said McCutcheon, speaking to the possibilities that exist in a robust liberal arts education.
Experiences such as this provide Lycoming’s students with not just avenues for interdisciplinary applications, but valuable opportunities beyond the classroom that help prepare students for graduate studies as well as careers.
“Participating in the Art and Politics Symposium went beyond what people would usually think of a conference. It was open to students of all majors, so it was great to see how many students could talk about something that wasn't necessarily related to their field. As a political science and Spanish major, my specific artwork was related to my interests, so it was great getting to share that with others,” said Luna. “The experience made me reflect on my education at Lycoming and how I've been able to connect my knowledge across different areas, like politics, language, history, and sociology. Overall, being part of the symposium proved my ability to share knowledge that might not be related to my field, and I think that's a skill that will contribute a lot to my future after Lycoming.”
These students’ research has already reached beyond the classroom and the Symposium. Luna and Rivera worked alongside McCutcheon on a small team of student researchers to add biographies of five Mexican women artists to the virtual archive of Archives of Women Artists, Research, and Exhibitions (AWARE). This international non-profit focuses on gender issues and the place of women in the arts. McCutcheon’s team was part of an initiative to expand AWARE’s archives to include artists outside of the European and American majority. Luna and Rivera’s work will be published on the archive’s website later this spring, along with text by fellow Lycoming students Julissa Aguilar ’22, film and video arts major and political science and gender, sexuality and women’s studies minor.
To support academics at Lycoming College, please visit https://campaign.lycoming.edu/give-now/ to make a gift to the Lycoming Fund.