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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts


Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Holtry 1Elizabeth Holtry, Mount Professor of Visual Art, will be featured in the periodical, New American Paintings. They will be featuring her recent series of paintings, Salt, which explores the beauty and underlying fragility of the Bonneville Salt Flats in remote Northwestern Utah. The Bonneville Salt Flats are a 30,000 acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah. The Salt Flats may be best known for the professional and amateur teams from around the world who come there to compete for land speed records, and for the many automobile advertisements and motion pictures that have been filmed there. But this remnant of an ancient saline lake, and one of the flattest places on earth, is being imperiled by motor racing, nearby potash mining, and climate change.
 
Holtry 2Natural processes continually transform the landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats. When rain covers the ground, it causes the ground and the sky to visually merge. As temperatures rise, the water evaporates and reveals a glittery salt crust. Erosion carves new textures and alters the terrain. Prof. Holtry’s paintings focus on the landscape’s ethereal visual effects. Some paintings juxtapose patterns in the crust with reflections of the sky in standing water. Other pieces depict cracks in the parched earth, halite formations, or unsightly tire tracks. To emphasize the mystery of the place, she excludes the sky and mountains. Prof. Holtry’s aim is to foster environmental awareness and express her fascination with a landscape that is harsh, beautiful, and vulnerable.Holtry 3
 
Holtry 4Prof. Holtry has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Maryland. She’s been teaching at the Mount since August 2001. To view more of Prof. Holtry’s works, visit her site at www.elizabethholtry.com.
 
 
 
June M"If you are not a part of the solution, then you're a part of the problem."  2018 Mount graduate June Mugo remembers reading that quote from political activist Eldridge Cleaver as she was writing a paper for a sociology class. She knew even then that she needed to be a part of the solution.  “While being at the Mount,” she reflected, “you learn a lot academically but also about yourself. One thing I learned about myself is, I want to take time out and do something that is bigger than myself, which is helping others, especially those in need.” 
 
June is putting those values into action just days after her May 2018 graduation by being chosen to serve as the Mount’s first AmeriCorps VISTA representative for a new program developed by Dr. Layton Field, assistant professor of sociology.  The new program is called CARiTAS (Community Advancement Resources in Training, Assessment, and Service).  Drawing on the Mount’s mission, Dr. Field initiated CARiTAS with a generous grant from Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic. The Latin word caritas, which may be defined as “love for humankind” is based on the Christian virtue of charity--of wanting all good things for others. 
 
June hails from Jersey City, New Jersey, and majored in sociology with a minor in psychology. Upon being selected for the position, she immediately began to establish a set of goals, one of which is to create a strong foundation for the CARiTAS program by building a strong support system with the local community and the Mount family.
 
AVistaThe CARiTAS program will put the resources of the Mount at the disposal of local organizations to help meet challenges found in rural areas around campus.  Mount CARiTAS will focus on training, assessment and service in support of the good work already being done by the Thurmont Ministerium and Emmitsburg’s Seton Center, Inc.  The AmeriCorps VISTA grant has enabled the Mount to recruit a national representative to coordinate the Mount CARiTAS program under Dr. Field’s supervision. 
 
Reflecting on her application and selection, June said, “The process of being brought into the program was well structured and exciting. It entailed a thorough application, a couple of interviews, and conferences with other VISTAS from other parts of the country. I am excited to be a part of this program and cannot wait to be a part of its evolution.  Prior to applying for the CCMA AmeriCorps position, I actually did not know much about it. So after a million questions and research, I grew a robust interest for it. As a VISTA you get the opportunity to help others and also develop great skills.”  
 
L. FieldDr. Field has proposed three objectives for the first year of the grant (which is renewable up to three years).  Working with the Seton Center and the Thurmont Ministerium, CARiTAS hopes to increase the number of student volunteers for both organizations, to develop and offer workshops to serve the needs of Seton Center clients, and to lay the foundation for a community needs assessment.   Both the Seton Center and the Thurmont Ministerium are actively engaged in serving the needs of the local community.   Dr. Field says he would like “to empower those organizations to enhance and prolong the incredible work they already do.”
 
Congratulations and thanks to June Mugo and Dr. Layton Field for bringing the mission of Mount St. Mary’s to our local community!
 
 
 
Victoria 1In April, the editorial staff of Lighted Corners was notified that Leah Hamel’s poem, “7 Things I Don’t Have the Chance to Tell You,” was selected for publication in plain china: National Anthology of the Best Undergraduate Writing (plainchina.vcu.edu). The Lighter Corners’ editorial staff was pleased to be notified once more by plain china. This time, informing them that artwork by Victoria Barry, C’17, will be featured in the upcoming plain china publication as well. Victoria’s artwork was featured in the same Lighted Corners issue as Leah’s poem, the 2016 volume, Vol. 36.
 
Devil's ClawTwo of Victoria’s pieces will be featured in plain china: “Devil’s Claw” and “Perch.” “My inspiration for ‘Devil’s Claw’ was a nature study of a dried Devil’s Claw plant that Prof. Elizabeth Holtry provided,” said Victoria. “I chose the composition because it was a difficult angle to paint from life, and it provided more texture since I was practicing the technique of sgraffito. The contrast of the yellow and deep plum paint emphasizes this technique.”
 
PerchVictoria said, “‘Perch’ is a digital photograph that was captured in Frederick, MD during twilight. I was struck by how many birds were on the wires, and now as a single image in time, it creates an uneasy feeling in the viewer. It also evokes a sense of anticipation with the two or three birds that are taking flight. We all are familiar with the wonder of seeing a large flock of birds in the sky at sunset, and this image is unique because they are all linear and stationary.”
 
Victoria 2Victoria graduated last year with a double major in Communication and Fine Arts. She is currently working as a Video Creator (www.victoriaabarry.com). When asked what she found most rewarding about her experience at the Mount, Victoria replied, “The amount of opportunities I had access to outside of the Mount’s classrooms was astonishing. Not only did I receive a holistic liberal arts education, I was also involved in multiple activities and internships all throughout my years at the Mount. I am incredibly thankful for these opportunities and the mentors I gained along the way. I graduated confident in what I can achieve based on what I’ve already accomplished.”
 
Congratulations to Victoria for her published artwork and promising future!
 
 
ECAThree undergraduate students from the Mount presented their research at the 2018 Eastern Communication Association (ECA) Conference held in Pittsburgh from Wednesday, April 25 to Sunday, April 29: Megan Schultz, Jordan Rodriguez, and Ellen Salvatore.
 
Megan was from the Learning to Write/Writing to Learn class of Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor from the Department of Communication, while Jordan Rodriguez and Ellen Salvatore were from the Writing for Catholic Media class of Brian Gilchrist, Ph.D., Assistant Professor from the Department of Communication.
 
These students had their research papers accepted by the Undergraduate Scholars Conference at ECA. What's even more inspiring is that the Mount represented three of the 105 accepted research papers. Rodriguez and Salvatore presented at their second consecutive ECA Conference.
 
Papers Presented:
 
Jordan Rodriguez - “Crisis of Our Time: The Communication Ethics of the Catholic Church’s Response to the European Refugee Crisis”
 
Ellen Salvatore - “The Movement is Brotherhood: A Communication Ethics Analysis of Saint Francis of Assisi”
 
Megan Schultz - “Redefining Masculinity in One Night Stands”
 
Congratulations to these students for their exceptional work in writing and communication!
 
 
Lighted Corners, is the Mount’s student literary magazine devoted to art, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography. In September 2017, the editorial staff for Lighted Corners received an invitation to submit the magazine for possible inclusion in plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing, the only national undergraduate literary anthology (plainchina.vcu.edu). This year’s editor for Lighted Corners, Kaela Curcillo, C’18, and Dr. Thomas Bligh, Associate Professor and editorial advisor, mailed copies of the most recent issue to plain china.Leah Hammel
 
In April, plain china contacted the Lighted Corners’ editorial staff with news that Leah LC1Hamel’s poem, “7 Things I Don’t Have the Chance to Tell You,” was selected for publication in their anthology. Leah is a member of the Class of 2018. She is an Elementary and Special Education major with a minor in English. Her poem was the only poem chosen from the 100-page 2016 volume of Lighted Corners. Dr. Bligh reflects, “I am delighted to have witnessed the process –watching Leah develop her poem in my fall creative writing class, working with the magazine’s staff on layout and design later that spring, and now celebrating this impressive recognition.” Leah wrote the poem for, and was inspired by, her previous advisor, Dr. Sean Gordon Lewis, Assistant Professor of English.  
 
After graduation, Leah will be attending George Washington University to pursue her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology. She has a passion to serve children with hearing loss, and she is interested in cochlear implants and aural rehabilitation. She hopes to work in a clinic or hospital to serve those with speech therapy needs, and some day, to open her own clinic.
 
LC2Leah says, “The Mount has given me the confidence I need to pursue my passion, and has given me an incredibly strong liberal arts foundation. I personally feel that the Mount is one big family.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
The most recent publication of Lighted Corners, Vol. 37 (2018), has  just been published and is available on campus. 
 
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