Forward-Thinking Research

By Matt Hawkins
December 3, 2013

Students in Bradley’s English department displayed and discussed semester-long research projects at the department’s ninth Semi-Annual Student Research Colloquium. Research offered some a glimpse of the professional world and others a deeper examination of topics.

For students like Stephanie Larson ’14 in the department’s senior project capstone course, research expanded potential career opportunities. Larson investigated the publishing industry in Chicago and realized she was interested in a small segment of a broader field.

“I had no idea about all the different publications there are. It’s not just books and magazines, though those are my interests,” she said. “This gives me direction about what I want to do and opens up opportunities I didn’t know existed.”

Linguistics and anthropology courses set Alexis Noll on a path toward a career in linguistics or English-as-a-second-language options. Like Larson, Noll realized her probable profession was broader than she first thought.

“There’s a big need in America,” she said. “It’s more than just teaching. GAP is looking for linguists to work with ads. It’s broader than you think because language is everything.”

Noll also thought linguistics would allow her to explore the world, particularly South Korea, for a few years before finding a job Stateside.

Beyond career advice, colloquium projects enabled students to dig into topics of interest. Melissa Kriuciunas ’14, a psychology major and English minor, analyzed the psychology of masculinity as portrayed in several 20th Century works.

This project gave her a unique understanding of literature.

“All of a sudden, with my psychology background, I’ll be reading and will notice a psychology concept,” she said. “It’s something unique in the English world because I notice things others wouldn’t. It happens naturally as I read.”

After reading and analyzing Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Cole Stalter ’15 realized the concept of national identity was deeper and more complex than he thought.

“I didn’t realize a nation starting out has to establish an identity,” he said. “We assume we know how to act. We do take it for granted because we do have an established identity.”

The twice-a-year colloquium is designed to strengthen students’ presentation and research skills that will benefit participants in graduate school and the professional world. Students are encouraged to continue research after discussing their projects at the event Forty-nine students presented 46 projects in the fall colloquium.