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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Victoria 1In April, the editorial staff of Lighted Corners was notified that Leah Hamel’s poem, “7 Things I Don’t Have the Chance to Tell You,” was selected for publication in plain china: National Anthology of the Best Undergraduate Writing ( The Lighter Corners’ editorial staff was pleased to be notified once more by plain china. This time, informing them that artwork by Victoria Barry, C’17, will be featured in the upcoming plain china publication as well. Victoria’s artwork was featured in the same Lighted Corners issue as Leah’s poem, the 2016 volume, Vol. 36.
Devil's ClawTwo of Victoria’s pieces will be featured in plain china: “Devil’s Claw” and “Perch.” “My inspiration for ‘Devil’s Claw’ was a nature study of a dried Devil’s Claw plant that Prof. Elizabeth Holtry provided,” said Victoria. “I chose the composition because it was a difficult angle to paint from life, and it provided more texture since I was practicing the technique of sgraffito. The contrast of the yellow and deep plum paint emphasizes this technique.”
PerchVictoria said, “‘Perch’ is a digital photograph that was captured in Frederick, MD during twilight. I was struck by how many birds were on the wires, and now as a single image in time, it creates an uneasy feeling in the viewer. It also evokes a sense of anticipation with the two or three birds that are taking flight. We all are familiar with the wonder of seeing a large flock of birds in the sky at sunset, and this image is unique because they are all linear and stationary.”
Victoria 2Victoria graduated last year with a double major in Communication and Fine Arts. She is currently working as a Video Creator ( When asked what she found most rewarding about her experience at the Mount, Victoria replied, “The amount of opportunities I had access to outside of the Mount’s classrooms was astonishing. Not only did I receive a holistic liberal arts education, I was also involved in multiple activities and internships all throughout my years at the Mount. I am incredibly thankful for these opportunities and the mentors I gained along the way. I graduated confident in what I can achieve based on what I’ve already accomplished.”
Congratulations to Victoria for her published artwork and promising future!
ECAThree undergraduate students from the Mount presented their research at the 2018 Eastern Communication Association (ECA) Conference held in Pittsburgh from Wednesday, April 25 to Sunday, April 29: Megan Schultz, Jordan Rodriguez, and Ellen Salvatore.
Megan was from the Learning to Write/Writing to Learn class of Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor from the Department of Communication, while Jordan Rodriguez and Ellen Salvatore were from the Writing for Catholic Media class of Brian Gilchrist, Ph.D., Assistant Professor from the Department of Communication.
These students had their research papers accepted by the Undergraduate Scholars Conference at ECA. What's even more inspiring is that the Mount represented three of the 105 accepted research papers. Rodriguez and Salvatore presented at their second consecutive ECA Conference.
Papers Presented:
Jordan Rodriguez - “Crisis of Our Time: The Communication Ethics of the Catholic Church’s Response to the European Refugee Crisis”
Ellen Salvatore - “The Movement is Brotherhood: A Communication Ethics Analysis of Saint Francis of Assisi”
Megan Schultz - “Redefining Masculinity in One Night Stands”
Congratulations to these students for their exceptional work in writing and communication!
Lighted Corners, is the Mount’s student literary magazine devoted to art, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography. In September 2017, the editorial staff for Lighted Corners received an invitation to submit the magazine for possible inclusion in plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing, the only national undergraduate literary anthology ( This year’s editor for Lighted Corners, Kaela Curcillo, C’18, and Dr. Thomas Bligh, Associate Professor and editorial advisor, mailed copies of the most recent issue to plain china.Leah Hammel
In April, plain china contacted the Lighted Corners’ editorial staff with news that Leah LC1Hamel’s poem, “7 Things I Don’t Have the Chance to Tell You,” was selected for publication in their anthology. Leah is a member of the Class of 2018. She is an Elementary and Special Education major with a minor in English. Her poem was the only poem chosen from the 100-page 2016 volume of Lighted Corners. Dr. Bligh reflects, “I am delighted to have witnessed the process –watching Leah develop her poem in my fall creative writing class, working with the magazine’s staff on layout and design later that spring, and now celebrating this impressive recognition.” Leah wrote the poem for, and was inspired by, her previous advisor, Dr. Sean Gordon Lewis, Assistant Professor of English.  
After graduation, Leah will be attending George Washington University to pursue her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology. She has a passion to serve children with hearing loss, and she is interested in cochlear implants and aural rehabilitation. She hopes to work in a clinic or hospital to serve those with speech therapy needs, and some day, to open her own clinic.
LC2Leah says, “The Mount has given me the confidence I need to pursue my passion, and has given me an incredibly strong liberal arts foundation. I personally feel that the Mount is one big family.”
The most recent publication of Lighted Corners, Vol. 37 (2018), has  just been published and is available on campus. 

Julia RThis semester, Julia Reilly-Edwards, C '18, and Dr. Amanda Beal, Department Chair of the Political Science Department, carried out a research project with co-authors from the University of North Alabama. The project included statistical analysis of survey research on rising feelings of economic and political alienation in Europe and how this is affecting vote choice. Julia - a Math major, Data Science and Political Science minor – presented the results at the national Midwest Political Science Association conference on the weekend of April 5 through 8 with one of her co-authors from the University of North Alabama. The panel also included presentations from graduate students and professors, so this is an impressive achievement. Julia has been accepted with funding for a M.A. in Computer Science at William & Mary. She plans to turn this research project into a publication and submit it over the summer, at which point she will also be moving to Williamsburg, VA for her graduate studies in Operational Research.

Beth C.Additionally, Bethany Carter, C '18, researched the relationship between the rise in nationalist party voting and the refugee crisis in Europe. The project included original statistical analysis using the University of Maryland Terrorism Database, European Union data on asylum applications, and political party data from the Party Manifesto Project. Bethany – a Political Science, German, and International Studies triple major – presented her research at the Pennsylvania Political Science Association Conference on April 13 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bethany presented her research while on an International Relations panel with students from Shippensburg University, University of Scranton, Rosemont College, Muhlenberg College, and Wilkes University. Bethany has been accepted with funding for a Ph.D. in Political Development at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Next year, she will continue her studies as a graduate student who will be specializing in development economics.

Congratulations, Julia and Bethany, on the exceptional work you have done with your research. Thank you for representing the Mount with such academic professionalism!

AH1Last month, Sr. Anne Higgins, English Department Lecturer, attended an international retreat in Paris with her religious order, the Daughters of Charity. She took the time to share with us some of her thoughts and reflections on the amazing experience she had with her sisters:
I was privileged to participate in the 2018 International Retreat at our Motherhouse at 140 rue du bac, in Paris.
This was an eight-day silent retreat, from March 7th through the 15th. I was one of 65 Daughters of Charity making this retreat. We were grouped into eight language groups: French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Polish, Slovenian, Czech, Vietnamese. However, we were from many more than eight countries! For example, in the English language group, we were eighteen sisters, but only six of us were native English speakers. The other sisters were from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Kenya, the Philippines, India, Germany, and Kosovo. English was their second or third language!
AH2Why did language groups matter, when we were in a silent retreat? We met for Lauds and Rosary each day in our language groups. We had Mass each day with the whole group, and it was in French. Our Retreat Master was a Polish Vincentian priest who gave his daily conference in French. So, how did this go? We met for our daily retreat conference, and for Mass, in the Assembly/conference room. This is the large room where our Sisters meet for General Chapter every six years, and where other international meetings take place. It is equipped with headphones and handheld devices (“just turn the dial to #5 for English!”) so all the conferences and Masses came to us via Sister translators. It worked very well!
AH3The Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity is not only a special place for Daughters of Charity around the world. Our Chapel, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, is a site of prayer and pilgrimage for the whole Church. It was in this Chapel, in 1830, that the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who was a novice in the community at the time. Mary appeared to Catherine several times, and during one of the apparitions, she gave the design of the Miraculous Medal to Catherine, and directed that it should be made and distributed. Most Catholics all around the world know this medal, and many wear it. So people from all walks of life and all nationalities visit this Chapel daily. 
The faith and devotion of the lay people who daily visit the Chapel was overwhelming to me. At least five Masses are celebrated there every day, and they are full. The lay people also stay and pray Vespers with the Sisters each night, all of which is sung in French.
AH4Aside from the entrance and the Chapel, the rest of the Motherhouse is not open to the public. Behind the walls of the Chapel, it is an immense network of buildings. The Daughters of Charity were founded in 1633, and the first Sisters lived with St. Louise de Marillac in her home. As the community grew, it moved and lived in several other houses until the French Revolution, when it was disbanded and the Sisters all sent home. After the Revolution, the Sisters returned to Paris and the community was reassembled. A large mansion, the Hotel Chatillon, had been confiscated by the Revolutionary leaders (and the aristocrats executed!) and in 1810, the government transferred ownership to the Daughters of Charity. AH5The Sisters moved in in 1815, and have been there ever since! Many buildings have been added to the original building, but in places I could see staircases and hallways and courtyards from the original mansion. However, the furniture, facilities, and food are quite stark and simple, considering that so many of our sisters come there from extremely poor areas of the world.
Even though we were largely “in silence,” we sisters communicated with each other through our smiles and eye contact, especially during our meals. For me, it was a tremendous experience of the universal Church, as well as of these wonderful women who have given their total lives to Christ.
This quote from Sister Suzanne Guillemin, one of our past superiors general, was printed on our retreat program, and really expresses the meaning of the retreat:
“God calls each one of us personally to conversion…God asks more of us. God invites us to seek Him unceasingly, to turn to Him more sincerely and more completely. Let us open our hearts that we may hear and recognize God’s voice.”
Mount Ollan 1Every Spring Break, Dr. Diana Rodriguez-Lozano, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, leads a team of Mount students, faculty, and alumni on a cultural/service trip to Perú. Dr. Rodriguez-Lozano has lead the Mount’s trip to Perú since 2001. Dr. Patrice Flynn, Professor of Business, says, “Dr. Rodriguez-Lozano, known fondly on campus as Doctora, knows how to navigate the rugged and dramatic Andes Mountains with its 20,000-feet peaks, glaciated valleys, 2-mile deep canyons, Amazon forest, and ancient Incan stone cities that date back to the 15th-16th centuries. The journey becomes a pilgrimage as you reach the 8th Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu, an unforgettable site!” And Stephen Thompson, C’19 and an International Studies major, reflects, “Walking the same streets as the Incas in a town preserved to look the way it did during the reign of the empire was surreal. Seeing the pristine Sun Gate and Mach Picchu from afar, higher up on the mountain, is a truly spectacular sight!”
OrphanageIn addition to Manchu Picchu, the Mount team visits sites near and around the towns of Ollantaytambo and Cusco. While in Cusco, the Mount team takes time to serve the community there. Dr. Rodriguez-Lozano says, “We help in an orphanage of the Ursuline order of nuns in Cusco. We buy food for the nuns at a wholesale store and bring the food to them. The Hotel of San Agustin in Cusco helps us with anything we need. Besides taking care of the children in the orphanage, the nuns feed more than 150 from poor families. The children of these families go to the orphanage during their lunch after school. For some children, this meal might be the only daily meal they get.”
MP 3The Mount’s annual spring trip to Perú is not only an opportunity for an incredible cultural experience, but an opportunity to serve those most in need. It is certainly a life-changing experience for those who join the trip as they encounter the sites and the people of Perú.
The trip for 2019 is planned for March 1st to March 10th. It is open to all students, faculty, alumni, staff, and their families! For more information on joining the trip next spring, reach out Dr. Rodriguez-Lozano in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
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