2023-2024 Student Fellows


Dimitri Bartels-Bray

“The Political Affects and Contexts of Guatemalan and Guatemalan-American Literature”

Too often, the American humanities, specifically literature, pursue a Eurocentric approach, discarding cultures such as those of Latin America’s Guatemala. This ongoing erasure results in ignorance, producing prejudiced and discriminatory mindsets. My project, focusing on Guatemalan literature, offers a space to study literary approaches uncommonly discussed within American academia. Specifically, it will center on the relationship between Guatemalan and Guatemalan-American literature and Guatemala’s political developments, both how literature encompasses political strife and how it exacts political change. My project will examine this relationship with particular attention to Indigenous groups and events related to the Guatemalan Civil War.

Faculty Mentor: Susan Méndez, PhD

Dimitri is an English and Political Science major, Class of 2024


Gabrielle Bingener

“The Impacts of Empathy on Medically Underserved Communities Through Patient-Centered Storytelling”

Medicine is a highly scientific field that often disregards perspectives related to the humanities. Research into areas of empathy and patient care, the history of medical and academic treatment of others, and the current responses and responsibilities of health care systems in the United States, can illuminate areas of disciplinary underrepresentation in medicine. Combining both scientific and humanistic perspectives with storytelling allows for a unique way to gather patient-centered experiences and translate them into solutions for future health care practices. This project will utilize podcasting as a medium to relay experiences of medically and narratively underrepresented patients. Drawing on both interviews and surveys of people sharing their experiences as patients, I will identify core themes related to empathy for further analysis in an interdisciplinary essay representing health humanities research.

Faculty Mentor: Billie Tadros, PhD

Gabrielle is a Neuroscience major, Class of 2024


Thomas Elias

“Christian Resistance in Palestine and Faith-Based Social Movements”

The primary goal of this project is to investigate different forms of Palestinian Christian resistance to Israeli occupation of Palestine. The second goal is to examine the role of faith in the struggle for justice. Palestinian Christians live, work, and worship in a context of military occupation, limited social, political, and economic liberties, and separation and apartheid. Researching the reality of Palestinian Christians will offer a deeper understanding of faith and justice. The investigation will follow the responses of Palestinian Christians to the pervasive effects of the Israel-Palestine conflict in civil organizations, popular acts of resistance, and in worship practices, all of which support the survival of the Palestinian Christian culture.

Faculty Mentor: Michael Azar, PhD

Thomas is a Theology/Religious Studies major with a concentration in Peace and Justice Studies, Class of 2024


Faith Montagnino

“Mad Women: Feminine Rage in Dramatic Literature”

“Anger is the demand of accountability. It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It's a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose." These words, taken from Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, encapsulate perfectly the aims of this research project: to examine, analyze, and emphasize the power of women’s rage. Whether it’s participants of the Women’s March in Washington D.C. calling for the protection of abortion rights, women of the “Revolución diamantina” leading the outcry along Mexico City’s “Paseo de la Reforma” against the femicide of Mexican women, or members of “Grève feministe” raising their fists in front of Paris’ “Palais de justice” demanding equal pay to their male counterparts, the positive impact of women who choose to be openly rageful in their fight to be heard is undeniable. Through this project, I will explore this phenomenon by researching depictions of feminine rage in dramatic literature. I will further supplement this primary source research with several theoretical readings that investigate the independent notion of feminine rage, all in an effort to better understand the importance, relevance, and impact of feminine rage within dramatic literature.

Faculty Mentor: Hank Willenbrink, PhD

Faith is an English major, Class of 2026


Alison Samudio

“Culture Shock and Awe: The Ramifications of Culture Ignorance in the United States Military”

Focusing primarily on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, this project will analyze the insufficient education about the country and its people that was offered to American troops before their deployment, and will show how this lack of cultural knowledge led to the most violent actions in U.S. military history, such as the My Lai massacre. Towards this end, I will examine the failures of the Strategic Hamlet Program and the Hamlet Evaluation System in Vietnam, among other military programs from the latter half of the twentieth century. I will also explore the military’s modern attempts to develop a better understanding of native cultures - learning, in part from previous failures - through programs such as the Human Terrain System in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Faculty Mentor: Susan Poulson

Alison is a History major, Class of 2025


Jamie Santiago-Gonzalez

“On the Question of Remembrance in order to Facilitate Healing”

Humans have cultivated a multitude of languages across different geographical spaces and across time itself. As generations receive the frameworks of their ancestral speech and adopt culture, language evolves. In this project, I will explore whether there is some universality underlying linguistic and cultural diversity. I will root my exploration in the issue of remembrance, which will be considered through an interdisciplinary (philosophical, literary, and religious) lens. In particular, I will examine the implications of remembrance in three languages and then show how, in each language, remembrance points to something universal.

Faculty Mentor: Andrew LaZella, PhD

Jamie is a International-French Business and Philosophy major, Class of 2024


Maria Stephen

“The Relation Between Natural Law and Free Will in the U.S. Supreme Court”

The purpose of this research is to explore the relationship between natural law, free will, and select U.S. Supreme Court cases so as to seek an understanding of the use of these concepts in the current political era. Through an examination of their written opinions, I will explore whether Supreme Court Justices rely on the concepts of natural law and free will when deciding social justice cases, and then analyze whether the use of natural law theory (if it is found) is grounded in either a philosophical or theological understanding of the concept.

Faculty Mentors: Jean Harris, PhD and Patrick Tully, PhD

Maria is a Political Science, Philosophy, and History major with a concentration in Legal Studies, Class of 2025


Shelby Traver

“Tracing the Roots of Individual Rights: An Analysis of the Human Rights in Early Modern Philosophy"

In this project, I will outline the origins and evolution of the idea of human rights in early modern philosophy. After a thorough analysis of the period’s political philosophy, I will explore some of the literature that references the various declarations of the rights of citizens and consider the context of each publication to fully understand the intent of these texts. Drawing on various historical documents - such as the English Bill of Rights 1689, the American Declaration of Independence, and the French Déclaration des droits de l'Homme – and then on contemporary documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I will explore changes between the early declarations and these more modern statements of rights. My research will trace the threads of early modern political thought throughout these documents and determine how much of the language surrounding contemporary rights is influenced by these early modern thinkers.

Faculty Mentor: Christopher Fremaux, PhD

Shelby is an International Business and Philosophy major, Class of 2024