Nine students in the Department of Language and Literature have been named Summer Research Fellows this year, according to Dr. Angela Schwer, chair of the Department. The prestigious fellowships support students for six weeks of literary research during the summer.
“These fellowships allow students to work closely with a faculty member on a project of their own devising for six weeks without having to worry about work. Students learn the methods of literary research and improve both their thinking and writing,” Schwer said. She added, “We are very proud of the topics they have proposed.”
Tamara Boles, a junior from Bridgeport, is working on a project titled, “This Idea of Me: A Study of the Idealization of Female Characters by Male Narrators in Young Adult Literature.”
Boles commented, “Male narrators in young adult literature often present female characters not as individuals with unique thoughts and needs, but as instruments for their own advancement. This project will lead to a better understanding of how idealization affects women both in literature and the world around us.”
A member of the University’s Honors Program, Boles is majoring in English. Dr. Elizabeth Savage, Professor of English, is mentoring Boles.
A native of Martinsburg, Elizabeth Chaney’s project is "'I Myself Have Killed My Son!' The Tragic Motherhood of Garcia Lorca's Rural Trilogy."
“The opportunity to research in conjunction with a professor is one that I feel privileged to accept as an undergraduate looking towards the possibilities of graduate school,”Chaney said.
Chaney is a senior double majoring in History and Spanish as well as a member of the Honors Program. She is being mentored by Dr. Ingrid Bircann-Barkey, Associate Professor of Spanish.
Lishea Eddy, a senior from Parkersburg, is studying the effect of Walt Disney’s productions in a project titled, "Corporatized Storytelling: The Cultural Impact of the Walt Disney Company's Dominion over Entertainment Trends and Expectations."
“I chose this specific topic to address the impact Walt Disney has created in our culture using entertainment and how deep those impacts run into everyday lives,” she said.
Eddy is an English major. Dr. Nathan C. Myers, Associate Professor of English, serves as her mentor.
Bailey McInturff is working on “Vivez Comme un Roman: Bookstore Culture in Paris.” A junior English major with a minor in French, McInturff spent six weeks this summer in Paris where she studied with Dr. Erin Hippolyte, Professor of French.
“My project is crucial to highlight the importance of reading and literature to culture, and the French have preserved independent bookstores in the face of technological advances in e-reading and online shopping because bookstores serve a vital role in shaping the culture of France,” she said.
McInturff is a member of the Honors Program. She is from Beckley.
Melissa Nichols is studying the novels of Willa Cather under Dr. Matthew Hokom, Professor of English. Her project is “The Truths of Outsiders and Immigrants through the Works of Willa Cather.”
“I read Willa Cather for the first time last semester and was very interested in her honest and realistic portrayal of the immigrant experience in America, especially because my great-grandparents were immigrants in the same period,” she said. “I'm excited to look into how the present immigrant situation compares to that of past immigrants through Cather's portrayals, and how public perceptions differ from the reality of what immigrants face.”
Nichols is a senior English major from Morgantown.
A native of Wheeling, Dakota Spielvogel is studying “Giant Snakes and Bird Ladies: Problematic Magic in Modern Fantasy” with Dr. Sarah Rude, Assistant Professor of English.
“I have always enjoyed the fantasy genre, and I believe that there are big issues with the way medieval story are being re-told,” he said. “Being able to do this project will help me hone my skills as a writer, and I hope to learn a lot as I put my current knowledge to the test.”
Spielvogel is a junior English major and a member of the Honors Program.
Sarah Reneau has undertaken a study of "Sex and Gender since Sappho." A senior English major from Grafton, she is being mentored by Dr. Deborah Nestor, Professor of English.
James Stevens is examining the works of George Orwell. His project is “Orwellian Society: Unimaginable in the Past, Constructed in the Future.”
“After reading Orwell's Animal Farm over last winter break I became interested in Orwell's interpretation of totalitarian/socialist society and found it to be dated. This enticed me to reread Orwell's even more famous 1984 and see what it said about post-WWII society,” he said.
“Much of the novel talks about the idea of surveillance and privacy that isn't available and I found parallels to current day spread of information, such as our use of the internet and social media.”
Stevens is a senior English major from Fairmont. He is working with Professor Angela Schwer, Professor of English.
Robert J. Tate, an English major from Gypsy, is writing a novel entitled, "The Prince and the Peasant."
“When I first got to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. As I took General Studies courses, English spoke to me, especially the ways in which authors expressed themselves. Writing my own novel is a chance to see if I can make it doing what those authors did,” he said. “I am excited to see if writing my own story would be as fulfilling as reading the works of other authors. I am very happy having a chance to fulfill one of my dreams.”
Tate is a junior and a member of the Honors Program. His mentor is Dr. J. Robert Baker, Professor of English/Senior Level.
Language and Literature has offered Summer Research Fellowship for three years as part of its commitment to helping students learn to think critically and independently. The Fellows are chosen by a panel of faculty from the Department of Language and Literature. This year, the faculty were Dr. Leland George, Dr. Donna Long, and Dr. Jim Matthews