It’s been quite a month for History majors Kelsey Warner ’19 (double-majoring in English) and Emily Lowe ’19 (double-majoring in Secondary Education) (left and right above). First, they won two of the three inaugural Honors Summer Research Fellowships awarded. Having obtained stipends of $4,000 each, they will spend the summer pursuing research projects at the college. Second, they are semi-finalists for the Fr. Bernard Holmes, O.S.B., Scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year. One Thing after Another always stands ready to broadcast the achievements of History majors, and this is no exception. This blog caught up with Warner and Lowe so it could ask them a few questions.
Q: Why did you decide to attend St. Anselm College?
KW: I decided to attend St. Anselm College because of the community here. I had originally intended to go to Saint Michael’s College, but I decided to attend Accepted Students Day at Saint A’s just to make sure I didn’t want to go there. While I enjoyed the various workshops, lessons, and classes, I didn’t feel anything in particular pulling me here. But, my mom and I stopped by Davison for some food before we left, and we ended up sitting with an incredible group of students and professors. In talking with these people and what they liked about the college, they all described the same feeling of being a family member on this campus and that Saint A’s was truly their home. Something clicked while I was talking to them. On the car ride home, I told my mom I wanted to come here, and my mom told me she could already tell.
EL: I was first introduced to Saint Anselm College through one of my closest friends from home. I came up to visit her often, went to various classes, hung out in the CShop, and attended masses here. When it finally came time to apply to colleges, Saint Anselm seemed like a natural fit. I had enjoyed the small classes and the academic rigor, as well as the ways in which the school helps students develop outside of their school work. Throughout my life, I was inspired by the teachers who were instrumental in my development, and I had seen so many adults on campus truly care for their students and take an interest in their lives.
Q: What attracted you to the history major?
KW: I originally came to Saint A’s as a Theology major. However, I filled one of my elective slots with a history class that seemed interesting: New England History with Professor Salerno. Little did I know it was a 300-level class filled with upperclassmen. Once Professor Salerno realized I was a freshman, she offered to let me to drop the class if I desired. Instead, I not only I decided to stay in the class but also participate in extra class sessions as well as an extra research project for the course as an honors-option. By the end of the semester, I had declared a second major in history because I was so intrigued by passion I saw for the subject in my professor and the enthusiasm of my classmates. I have always loved history, and it was so refreshing to be around people with that same level of passion for the subject.
EL: In high school, I really enjoyed my history classes. I had always thought I would become a doctor when I was older, but after taking lots of chemistry and biology classes, I realized I did not love it enough to make a career out of it. I came to college undeclared and realized I had loved history for a long time without even really considering it as a major. In Professor Cronin’s Freshman English class, we read an excerpt about a history class. While I was reading, I distinctly remember putting ideas in the back of my head for when I would teach a similar unit. The next day, I declared a double major in History and Secondary Education. Deep down, I think I always knew I wanted to teach, but it took me a while to actually commit to it.
Q: Why did you decide to accept the invitation to the honors program? What do you like about it?
KW: I decided to accept a spot in the honors program because I thought it would help me stay on track academically in college. However, what I have come to love about the program is that despite the various backgrounds and intellectual interests of its students, we are all connected by a love of learning and a desire to pursue our academic endeavors. I love attending honors events and just listening to like-minded people talk about their interests and sharing my own academic passions.
EL: I spoke with a freshman whom I had met on campus who was an honors student, and she said it was a great program and had some pretty interesting classes that were not open to other students. That was all I really needed to convince me to accept the invitation. I even ended up taking Professor Dubrulle and Masur’s History’s Mysteries with this friend during my freshman year! Overall, the Honors Program has provided me with a lot of opportunities to work closely with professors and get to know other people. I became really good friends with everyone in my Conversatio section, for which I am so grateful. I don’t think I would have met a lot of those friends had it not been for that class, so I always attribute much of my happiness and success to the honors program.
Q: Tell us about your research project for the summer and why you’re interested in doing research in this area. What do you expect to learn from this project?
KW: My project for this summer is investigating how female regional writers are represented through the various historical lenses of literature, primary evidence, and public memory by examining the author Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) as a case study. I’m interested in doing research in this area because I am an English and History double major and Gender Studies Minor. My favorite aspect of history is examining public history and specifically how it remembers women. The purpose of historical research, at its base, is to provide an accurate representation of the past to examine its context, the roles people played, and the implications it has on the world today. However, historical representation in museums has this same motivation but combined with the need to drive tourism and maintain a business. Museums often want to provoke interest in the past and sometimes make historical figures “relatable” or heroic. Thus, the commitment to accuracy of the kind sought by historians may compete with other measures of a good narrative. This same dynamic informs Jewett’s representation of women in her writing, because it is filtered through her creative mindset, and by her hope of publication (and her sensitivity to her critics and readers). I will be comparing letters and diary entries of Sarah Orne Jewett to her literature and compare that to her home-turned-museum in Berwick, Maine, to hopefully learn if female authors are remembered differently in public history, and if so, why they are remembered differently.
EL: This summer, I will be looking at the 5th Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry as a case study in the treatment of battlefield trauma during the Civil War. The regiment suffered more combat fatalities over the course of the war than any other Union regiment, making it a great subject for the study. I am really excited because this project will give me a chance to focus on research in a way that I haven’t been able to in classes thus far. Focusing on this topic for eight weeks will help me to get a firm grasp on the topic and expand my historical reasoning skills. Professor Dubrulle has an extensive knowledge of the 5th New Hampshire, so I am confident he will help my research make a meaningful contribution to Civil War scholarship in general. I wanted to take his Civil War class this semester, but unfortunately could not, so hopefully this research makes up for that missed opportunity.
Q: Both of you are double-majors and honors students. And both of you are extensively involved with a variety of extracurricular activities. Could you tell us something about what those activities are? How do you find the time to do all of this?
KW: I am currently the Director of Costumes and Makeup for the Anselmian Abbey Players as well as an avid member in various productions with the Abbeys. I am also a small group facilitator for the chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success on campus and a New Student Orientation Leader. I’m the Junior Editor of the Yearbook and a research assistant to Professors Smits Keeney and Pilarski. I am the President and a founding member of the True Equality and Dignity Alliance (TEDA), the first Gay-Straight Alliance at Saint Anselm College. Finally, I’ve also worked various off-campus jobs while in college, including a 40-hour-per-week job as a Supervisor at Charlotte Russe last semester.
I don’t really know how I find time to do all of this. I think the reason I can participate in all these activities is because I am passionate about all of them. They all allow me to contribute to the community in some way. They add value to my life by teaching me something and adding to my happiness.
EL: The first organization I joined during my freshman year was the club Rugby Team. I play scrumhalf and wing for the team and will serve as the club president next year. I am also on the Honors Council and work in the ARC as well as the library. I am a leader for Anselmian 360 and an RA. Finally, I am teaching a class of high school students with Professor Greene Henning for Access Academy which has been such an amazing experience. Balancing everything can be difficult at times, so I drink a lot of coffee. I also like to de-stress by listening to music and running. Taking a break from school and just clearing my mind helps me to come back to my schoolwork more focused. In the end, I am involved with all of these clubs and activities because I truly enjoy being a part of them and helping them be successful, so it is worth it. Saint Anselm also has an incredible network of people around me to provide support. My friends along with the faculty and staff here are so supportive that I know I am never alone in my work.
Q: What is your home town? Tell us something about it that most people don’t know.
KW: My hometown in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Although I’ve only lived there for five years, I love it. Something most people don’t know about my town is that John Sullivan, a general in the Revolutionary War and delegate to the Continental Congress, was from Somersworth.
EL: I am proud to call Northborough, Massachusetts my home. Aside from its small-town feel and its amazing people, Northborough has a rich history. Northborough was originally a part of the City of Marlborough, but split off in 1775, following Westborough’s lead. Naturally, all three high schools are fierce rivals, with Algonquin Regional (for residents of Northborough and Southborough) being clearly the superior institution. White Cliffs, which is a function facility near my house, used to be the vacation home of Daniel Wesson who co-founded Smith & Wesson, the famous revolver manufacturer whose business really took off during the Civil War. The official spelling of the town is Northborough, but you can also spell it Northboro depending on your mood.
Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.