English Department Student Researchers Shine Nationally

Four English Majors attend National Undergraduate Literature Conference

| Author: Robert Fanning | Media Contact: Robert Fanning

Central Michigan University English majors Lydia Taylor, Lucas Ashby, Jessica Bertolini, and Jonathon Hughes traveled to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, last month to attend the National Undergraduate Literature Conference.

The students shared their research in the company of other great scholars and writers from universities nationwide and enjoyed a keynote address by 2020 Nobel Laureate Louise Glück.

English faculty member Mark Freed understands how much work and professionalism is involved in preparing for these conferences.

“We met in an informal seminar over the course of a few months to refine research projects, fine tune arguments, and practice presentations,” Freed said.

That hard work culminated in four papers:

  • "Self-Silencing and Deauthorization in Foe by J.M Coetzee,” by Lucas Ashby;
  • "Albert Camus's Judge-Penitence and the Inescapable” by Jessica Bertolini;
  • "From Western Orientalism to Uncontainable Identity” by Lydia Taylor; and
  • "Let's Make This Hallucination Real!: Examining Utopia in Aldous Huxley's Island” by Jonathan Hughes.

Hughes enjoyed attending the conference and getting an opportunity to meet other students working in his field.

“It provided an opportunity to engage with peers outside of a regularly scheduled and overseen curriculum, allowing everyone involved to share a diverse range of personal literary interests," Hughes said.

Lydia Taylor was moved by seeing Louise Glück, a poet she’d just learned of this semester.

“As an aspiring writer, hearing her perspective on life and writing was an extraordinary experience I won’t forget,” Taylor said.

The Department of English Language and Literature, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies provided support through generous travel grants for the students.

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