Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2010 (July 2010)

Step Up to the Podium

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July 2010

Since the first Student Symposium debuted in 1976, Beloit students have had the chance to present original research to peers and mentors on one special spring day. Last April, 65 students made 64 presentations on an astonishing array of topics at the 34th Student Symposium Day, ranging from abstract mathematics to Haitian literature and everything in between. A small sampling of their work follows: 

Russian Poster“Educating through Propaganda: The Soviet Poster Collection at the Wright Museum of Art”

Anna Bryan’10

Major: Russian

Anna Bryan discovered her interest in Soviet propaganda during a semester in Moscow, where she was enrolled in Moscow in Transition, a course that focuses on aspects of change in urban environments abroad. Returning to campus, she learned about the Wright Museum of Art’s Soviet Poster Collection, which includes 16 originals and 36 reproductions of the once ubiquitous posters. Out of the collection, she curated a public exhibit and created an accompanying catalog last fall. Her Symposium presentation discussed some of the styles, representative periods, and messages in the posters, ranging from just after the Russian Revolution to the waning days of the Soviet Union.

“From Curfew Restrictions to Patriotic Duty: Women at Beloit College During World War II”

Allison Wells’10

Majors: History and Political Science Rooted in research in the College Archives, Allison Wells’ presentation looked at shifting gender dynamics at Beloit College during World War II. She considered how campus social structures, like dances and pinning ceremonies that encouraged public courtships, began to decline as male students left to serve in the military. As the war further changed campus demographics, women moved into leadership roles, while a different group of males—cadets in training—took up residence at Beloit. Wells also discussed differences in the ways the cadets and Beloit College women interacted socially.

“Glass Cases and Preservation Practices: The Culture of Purity within Museums”

Alyssa Boge’10

Major: Anthropology

Alyssa Boge wore metal-framed earrings covered with tiny type during her Symposium presentation. The repurposed jewelry, crafted from tags that formerly identified objects in the Logan Museum of Anthropology’s collection, demonstrated one of her points: Non-archival tags like these could potentially rub rust onto artifacts and inadvertently degrade them. Boge’s discussion looked at the ways museums continually improve storage and preservation methods and explored the tension between preserving and using museum objects, the very reason for the preservation efforts. Drawing from fieldwork in the Logan and her internship at a small county museum, Boge discussed levels of purity in different types of museums and among collections.

“Sexual Assault Policy and the Beloit College Campus”

Abigail Burnham’12

Major: Anthropology Her role as resident assistant and Sexual Assault Recovery Program advocate gave Abigail Burnham a unique perspective from which to research this issue. “Reporting (of incidences of sexual assault) is often at a minimum,” she said. “Also, there is stigma to reporting.” After comparing Beloit’s sexual assault policy to those of other schools, Burnham recommended that the college clarify the wording in its policy, and said that, while comprehensive, such clarifications could clear up any “gray areas” regarding consent and punishments.

“Boundary Crossings”

Keara Sommer-Grohens’10

Majors: Dance and Education In preparing for her symposium, Sommer-Grohens focused on four of her own experiences, encapsulated in one question: “How does a young teacher negotiate the boundaries between the personal issues in and out of the classroom, given the interactions that take place between teachers and students?” Having taught for two semesters in an alternative high school, it was a question she grappled with first-hand, which encompassed the importance of personal boundaries, both for herself and her students.

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