Senior Symposium on Friday – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Senior Symposium on Friday

More than 70 seniors will showcase their creativity, passion, intellect and academic efforts at the fourth annual Senior Symposium, presented by the Center for Teaching and Learning, on Friday, April 13. Students are presenting a wide range of topics, including the dynamics of male-female relationships in French literature, accents in Disney films, the improvement of downtown Geneva, the city of Juarez, Mexico, women in Japanese narrative art, translations of a Russian novel, Building Bridges, and the subprime mortgage crisis.  

In addition to presenting her idea for ELARA: Environmental Liaison and Automated Recycling Assistant, Marcela Melara ’12 will also participate in a group presentation, titled “Relationships and Power” as part of her French literature class with Professor French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet. “I will show the different male-female dynamics that appear in the texts I analyze, and also other effects of the patriarchal society of 18th century France on womanhood and society as a whole,” explains Melara, a computer science and French double major and physics minor. “The patriarchal systems depicted in the various texts I have analyzed say more about the society and the upcoming French Revolution than might be obvious at first.”

Kevin Matteson ’11, MAT ’12, a Spanish and Hispanic studies major with a double minor in education and public policy, addresses the issues of sports and masculinity in his project, titled “Man Up?: Addressing the Construction of the Masculine Identity through Athletics,” creating a program that outlines salient issues in the world of sports and masculinity for a coach to cover. “Male, high school athletics have to the potential to be a transformative experience in terms of building character and addressing issues of social justice,” explains Matteson. “I’ve created a program of detailed lesson plans that a high school football coach could use, in the course of 10 weeks, that explicitly talks about salient issues in the world of sports and masculinity, with the goal of getting participants to re-think what it means to be a man and what the phrase “man up” means and should mean.”

Melissa Warner ’12, a Russian language and culture major, will showcase the work she has completed for her Honors thesis in translating Tatyana Tolstaya’s “Date with a Bird.” “In undertaking this project, I sought to develop an understanding of the challenges presented by Russian to English literary translation,” says Warner. “In light of literature’s sacred place in the hearts of the Russian people, I strove to create a translation that would fully portray both the author’s style and the intricate plot details of the story.”

In addition to offering the HWS community the opportunity to see the depth and breadth of work that happens at the Colleges, students also benefit by being able to share their works and gain skills as presenters that will aid them in their future endeavors.

“The Senior Symposium is important because it represents the best of the work that faculty, students, and staff do together at the Colleges,” says Susan Pliner, associate dean for teaching, learning, and assessment; director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; and interim director of the Centennial Center for Leadership. “Senior participants get the opportunity to share their work with a broader audience and to give back to the HWS community by serving as role models of the type of work students are engaged in.”

Presentations will be held throughout the day from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Melly Academic Center and the Warren Hunting Smith Library. All are invited and encouraged to attend. Visit the Senior Symposium website for more information.

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