SLA Hosts Regional Medieval & Early Modern Symposium
On Saturday, Feb. 24, the College had the honor of hosting the Fourth Annual Hudson Valley Medieval and Early Modern Undergraduate Symposium. The event provided undergraduates from all over the Hudson River Valley with the opportunity to share their research in medieval history, literature, art, philosophy, and culture.
Led by Associate Professor of History Janine Peterson in collaboration with Dr. Christina Carlson of Iona College and Drs. Cathryn McCarthy and Stephanie Pietros of the College of Mount St. Vincent, this year’s program featured 16 papers by students from 7 schools: the College of Mount St. Vincent, Fordham University, Iona College, Marist College, Mount St. Mary College, the State University of New York-New Paltz, and Vassar College.
The conference, which rotates among regional schools each year, has regularly featured presentations from Marist students in a wide range of majors, including Art History, Communications, and English. This year History major Andrew Leahy ‘20 (above, first from right) and Spanish major Kaleigh Garraffa ’21 (at left) represented Marist. Mr. Leahy presented work developed in collaboration with Dr. Peterson, while Ms. Garraffa's research was begun in a First Year Seminar taught by Dr. Patricia Ferrer (at left).
Other undergraduate contributions included a website exploring how the Middle Ages live on in technology, art, architecture, and other aspects of life in the Hudson River Valley. The program's poster and "Medieval Table Manners" handout were also designed by students. Finally, students from the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society/History Club volunteered at registration.
According to Dr. Peterson, a goal of the conference was to connect the period "firmly to Poughkeepsie and the central Hudson River Valley region.” In keeping with this idea, keynote speaker Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, delivered a talk entitled, “Interpreting Over 300 Years of History at Historic Huguenot Street: A Curatorial and Preservation Perspective.”
Other highlights included the Medieval Banquet Luncheon for all-day participants, created in consultation with Chef Anthony Legname of Marist Dining Services, and the welcoming remarks delivered by Executive Vice President and avid Miltonist Geoffrey Brackett (above, right).
Presenter Andrew Leahy '20 was struck by participants' interest in the visual aspects of his scholarlship: "I did not realize how much images would add to my overall research. Going forward I will incorporate a strong PowerPoint into any type of public presentation.” In addition to developing his skills as a public speaker, Mr. Leahy valued the opportunity to meet with "like-minded people:" "It was an amazing experience to present my ideas in front of a variety of students and professors from schools throughout New York. Hearing fellow students' research gave me insight into the success and creativity of Liberal Arts education."