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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Tahreem FayizHi! My name is Tahreem Fayiz and I am currently a junior studying International Studies and Music. I like to chase trains and jump on clouds in my free time. On a serious note however, much of my free time is split between work for the Admissions Office and practicing music.
On any big Admissions day, you will probably catch me early in the morning with set-up or late in the day with clean-up. I am one of three current coordinators for the Ambassador program on campus, which is our tour guide program. It has been so much fun working with everyone in the office from Trina Crum at the front desk to our newest Assistant Director, Lara Truitt.
"Tahreem is such a joy to have in class. She is always engaged and eager to help other students learn." -Dr. William Collinge, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology
TF AdmissHowever, most people know me because of music – from playing flute for the Chapel Choir to percussion in the Wind Ensemble to flute/piccolo in the Pep Band to percussion in the Percussion Ensemble. You will probably catch me in the context of music on any given day. Even though I am not the world’s greatest musician – although I wish I was – I can still show the versatility of the musical abilities I have. The Mount has helped me greatly in cultivating my versatility. The music program is one thing I absolutely love about the Mount.
M CarlsonMuch of the cultivation of my musical versatility can and should be credited to one of my advisors, Dr. Mark Carlson in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. The entire department, but especially Dr. Carlson, has been incredibly helpful and supportive of me since the day I stepped foot on this campus. He understood from the start that I am not the best percussionist, and he encouraged me to still try anyway. Who knew trying would lead to improvement? Dr. Carlson has also been supportive of any type of activity I do regardless of whether or not if it is music-related. I honestly would not be a student leader, an improving musician, or even be asked to write this Spotlight if it were not for his encouragement and support.
"Tahreem is simply one of the most exceptional individuals I have ever met. She is a visionary leader who contributes to everyone she interacts with."
-Dr. Mark Carlson, Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts
TF FriendsI am still unsure exactly of where I am heading, but I do know that in the immediate future I want to work in Higher Education Student Affairs. My experience with the faculty and the staff at the Mount pushes me to be a better person and encourages me to continue whatever strange endeavor I seek out to do. I want to return this favor to students and help them also shape themselves and their characters in the same way the Mount has shaped me.
Fr. Jim, PopeEvery six years, members of the Congregation of the Resurrection gather in Rome at our General Chapter for several weeks. The work of the General Chapter is to review our community life and ministry, and to make plans for the next six years. This past summer, 28 Resurrectionists from the U.S.A., Canada, Poland, Brazil, Bolivia, Bermuda, Australia, Germany, Italy, and Tanzania gathered for three weeks at our Motherhouse in Rome. The meetings are usually punctuated with a special Mass in the Catacombs of St. Sabastian, where our founders pronounced their first vows, or a tour of the papal gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica. But, this summer we had an incredible experience because we were told just before the Chapter began that we might have a private audience with Pope Francis.
It was not until the day before our meeting with Pope Francis that we were sure that we would actually meet on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Even then, we were not sure whether we would meet him with other religious communities, or whether we would meet him by ourselves. After walking through different halls and up several staircases of the Vatican, we entered a beautiful room that had about 40 chairs set out—that is when we realized that he would meet us alone!
Swiss GuardOne of the Swiss Guards gave us some instructions. After our newly elected Superior General made some opening remarks, Pope Francis would address us, and then each of us would have an opportunity to approach the Holy Father. We were instructed not to bow before him, ask him to bless anything, or to embrace him. Our Superior General, Fr. Paul Voisin, would introduce each of us and we could have a few words with Pope Francis. When my turn came, Fr. Paul introduced me saying, “Holy Father, this is Fr. James Donohue of the Ontario-Kentucky Province. He is a professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland where he has taught undergraduates for over 20 years.” I had been thinking about what to say and decided that I would look him in the eyes as we spoke. As we shook hands, I said, “Holy Father, I want you to know that I pray for you every day.” As I said this, I placed my free hand on our hands. He broke into a big smile and placed his free hand on both our hands and said, “Thank you so much! You know that I really need the prayers.” At this last sentence, he smiled even more broadly. I think that this photo [at the beginning of this article] captures that exact moment. It really was a great honor to meet Pope Francis and I will treasure this memory forever.
While this personal moment was incredible, the text that Pope Francis delivered to us is an inspiration that I have continued to ponder. Pope Francis organized his thoughts under three main headings: 1) ‘Witnesses to the Presence of the Risen Lord,’ 2) ‘From Community to the World,’ and 3) ‘Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope.’  

Witnesses to the Presence of the Risen Lord

CRUnder the first heading, he reminded us that “Nostalgia for a past that was rich in vocations and impressive achievements must not prevent you from seeing the life that the Lord is causing to blossom, today too, in your midst. Do not yield to nostalgia, but be men who, moved by faith in the God of history and of life, proclaims the coming of the dawn amid the darkness of the night (cf. Isa 21:11-12).” This is particularly poignant at a time when most of us are saddened by decreasing numbers and aged membership.  He also reminded us that, as religious who are called to a life of prayer, we may see with new eyes: “Men of contemplation, who, with the eyes of the heart fixed on the Lord, can see what others, caught up in the concerns of this world, cannot. Men capable of proclaiming, with the boldness born of the Spirit, that Jesus Christ is alive and is Lord.” In this regard, Pope Francis urged us to take Mary Magdalene as our model: “Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb that morning (cf. Lk 24:1-8) were women ‘on the move’: they abandoned their ‘nest’ and set out; they took a risk. The Spirit is calling you too, Brothers of the Resurrection, to be men who set out, to be an Institute ‘on the move’ towards every human periphery, wherever the light of the Gospel needs to be brought.” 

From Community to the World

Pope FrancisUnder the section entitled ‘From Community to the World,’ Pope Francis encouraged us to see our brother Resurrectionists as gifts who should not be taken for granted: “A concrete way of showing this is fraternal life in community. It entails accepting the brothers the Lord has given us. As the Apostle Paul tells us, now that Christ has risen from the dead, we can no longer look at others from a human point of view (cf. 2 Cor 5:16). We view them and we accept them as a gift from the Lord. Others are a gift not to be taken for granted or looked down upon, but a gift to be received with respect, because in our brothers, especially if they are weak and frail, Christ comes to meet us . . . In a society that tends to reduce everything to flat uniformity, where injustice gives rise to divisions and hostility, in a world torn and aggressive, ensure that the witness of fraternal life and community will never be lacking!”

Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope

In third section of his address, ‘Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope,’ Pope Francis reminded us that the joy of recognizing the presence of the Risen Jesus will draw us further into His Person and His will, and for this reason, we will be led to mission. He became quite animated as he reminded us that our charism of the Resurrection is “always a wellspring of living water, not a bottle of distilled water.” He encouraged us to ponder the words of the angel in the tomb: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). His prayer for us was that these words would continually resound in our hearts: “They will help you to overcome moments of sadness and will open before you horizons of joy and hope. They will enable you to shatter tombstones, and give you the strength to proclaim the Good News in this culture so often marked by death. If we have the courage to descend to our personal and community tombs, we will see how Jesus can make us rise from them. This will enable us to rediscover the joy, the happiness and the passion of those moments when we first made of our lives a gift to God and others.”
Remembering the past with gratitude, living in the present with passion, and embracing the future with hope is the message that the Holy Father shared with us that day. May these words sink deeply into the hearts of all Resurrectionists and, indeed, into the hearts of all disciples of Jesus.
(Hear more about the Resurrectionists' experience of meeting Pope Francis by viewing Vocation Culture's YouTube video, "Resurrectionists Meet Pope Francis." Learn more about the Congregation of the Resurrectionists on their website:


Jessica Whitmore

Jessica Whitmore, C'16, is a member of our Mount community who has pursued excellence in all that she has applied herself to: in academics, athletics, and serving our university in the Mount Archives.  

Jessica graduated from the Mount with a History and German. As an undergrad, she was a member of the George H. Miles Honors Society, participated in the study abroad program in Salzburg, Austria, and was a captain of the Track & Field team. On the track, Jessica was the 2014 NEC Champion in the 60m dash, an event in which she still holds the school record. Also in 2014, she began to intern in the Mount Archives, a role that would become her career.

Since graduating, Jessica has earned her M.S. in Information and Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Concordia University Chicago. This Fall, Jessica gave a lecture at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Jessica currently serves the Mount community as Interim Library Director and University Archivist. In December of 2017, Jessica helped to secure a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help preserve our library’s significant historical and cultural collections. Jessica credits her Mount education with her ability to take on these exciting challenges.

Congratulations Jessica on your accomplishments, and thank you for your service to our Mount community!

Dublin 1

A few of our students took the opportunity to study abroad in Dublin this past semester. They shared an amazing experience together. Kaitlyn Heintzelman, Caroline Walsh, and Katherine Stohlman shared some thoughts about their time together in Dublin:

“What stood out to me was not just the places I got to visit–though they were life-altering–but the people I experienced these precious moments with. These were my fellow Mount students, most of whom I had never even met before. They suddenly became my home and they became my strength when we got lost in Edinburgh, or when we were stranded in Pisa for 24 hours. They were my support when I traveled across the length of Ireland three times because I was determined to climb Croagh Patrick, even though the weather would not permit us to share in my joy when I finally accomplished it.

Kate HEveryone in Dublin had a laugh every time Professor Egan came to class with a new story about meeting someone in Dublin who was in some way connected to Mount St. Mary’s University. The last thing any of us ever expected was to find a connection between our Mount home and Ireland. But as Professor Egan reminded us incessantly, ‘Mounties are everywhere.’ And although Dublin touched each one of us in unimaginable ways, we also left our lasting Mount-mark on Dublin. Much to my surprise, being fearless in Dublin was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.” –Kaitlyn Heintzleman

“Studying abroad is unlike any other experience I have encountered at the Mount. The opportunity to immerse oneself completely in a different culture for a span of several months is an extremely unique opportunity. By making the decision to study abroad, you open yourself up to countless new experiences and gain a deep appreciation for cultures besides your own. With trips such as mine to Ireland, you’re given the opportunity to not only familiarize yourself with where you are staying, but to broaden your horizons even more, by traveling all over.

Dublin Walsh 1Studying abroad in Ireland was the most enriching experience I have ever had. I urge anyone with the slightest inclination to take the leap of faith and study abroad as well. In doing so, you will push yourself outside of your comfort zone and experience the beauty of other parts of the world. Studying abroad also gives you a whole new family of Mount students and faculty with which you share amazing experiences in another country. From ferry trips to the Aran Islands, to jumping in a bog, the bond you form with those around you, who also recognize the beauty of the culture you are experiencing, is extremely special.” –Caroline Walsh

“Living and studying in Dublin was a very different experience than living and studying on campus at the Mount. Gone were the dorms in the rural setting; we lived in apartments right in the city. We only had class three days a week, and we walked nearly a half hour to get there. Lunch was often eaten in restaurants with friends. And weekends were spent on trips to other parts of Ireland or Europe. Looking back, it sounds like an exciting, glamorous way to live. It was! This is thanks to the unique study abroad program at the Mount and the help of our wonderful trip leader, Prof. Egan. This past semester was as exciting and full of opportunities as it was due to Prof. Egan’s support and encouragement.

Dublin 6Because of the way the studying abroad program at the Mount is structured, it gave us the freedom and time to travel, live in apartments in the heart of downtown, and experience as much culture as we could. By offering a set of core classes related to Irish history and literature, the Mount helped bring Irish culture to life. The knowledge we learned in the classroom became immediate and relevant as we explored Ireland. The faculty at the Mount did everything they could to make this semester amazing and ensure no one would fall off the track toward graduation in the process. I learned and experienced so much this semester, not least of which was that Mount St. Mary’s University truly does function like a loving, helpful community.” –Katherine Stohlman

Find out more about the Mount's Study Abroad Program here:

Dublin 9

Ellen Miner, French Major / History and English Minors

Ellen MinerEllen’s presentation was titled “Marie Antoinette Queen of France: Portrayal in Film vs. Historical Reality.” The project compared three films about Marie Antoinette, the queen of France from 1774 to 1793. These films are titled Marie Antoinette, Reine de France (1956), Marie Antoinette (2006), and Les Adieux à La Reine (2012). Each film portrays Marie Antoinette from a somewhat different perspective, and the purpose of the project was to see which film is most historically accurate. While some may know a few things about the French queen, there is much more to Marie Antoinette than a young Austrian girl thrust into the expensive, expectation-filled, aristocratic world of the French Monarchy.

Claudia Morales, Double Major in International Studies and French

Claudia MoralesClaudia’s presentation was titled “Redefining the Frenchman: National Identity and its Effects on Policy and Immigration in the 1930’s and 1960’s.” French politics has seen a consistent rise in nativist rhetoric, nationalistic solutions, and populist agenda. Though immigration has drastically changed the demographics of France since the beginning of the 20th century, their national identity has never grown to incorporate its immigrant populations. Claudia’s research examined the repercussions of this self-perceived identity on French policy and North African immigration in the 1930s and 1960s. She submits that this paradigm sets into motion a cycle of unproductive and short-sighted immigration policies. This project shed light on the social implications of an unchanging national identity and the negative effect it has on policy. The project also highlighted the potential for political development in other countries if a country like France could reassess what it means to be French.

Kathryn Tombs, Double Major in Theology and Spanish

Kathryn’s project was titled “La frontera: Exploring Divisions within Our Borders through the Lens of Contemporary Theater and Catholic Responses to the Hispanic Immigrant in the U.S. Today.” The project analyzed an original play that Kathryn wrote based on conversations with a Hispanic kitchen staff. It is inspired by her past experiences as a waitress. She compared her play with two other contemporary theatrical works that also reflect the Latino immigrant experience in the U.S. The goal of the project was not to resolve the many problems stemming from the current U.S. immigration crisis, but rather to discuss the challenges pertinent to the Latino immigrant experience and how to respond to those challenges with various statements issued on behalf of the Church.


November 9 and 10, Dr. Amanda Beal and Dr. Jamie Gianoutsos had the distinct pleasure of taking ten Mount female students to the Training Ms. President (TMP) workshop at Hood College. These students were chosen for their intelligence, civic mindedness, and leadership qualities, with the hope that they might one day consider running for public office. Our students joined 30 other students from Hood College, Washington College, and Goucher College for the workshop.

“It was so empowering to see women setting aside partisan biases to build one another up and address the issues we all face as women.” –Hannah Opdenaker C’18

TMP6The Training Ms. President program seeks to address the gender gap in elected representation. Research suggests that the role model effect can aid in decreasing the ambition gap – i.e., connecting these young women with female politicos and politicians increases the likelihood that they will run for an elected position. Training Ms. President was launched in 2015 by universities and colleges affiliated with the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA).

“The experience was incredibly valuable because it gave me the opportunity to network with media correspondents, political consultants, and state and local politicians in a bipartisan environment.”   -Alexandra Johnson C’18

During the Thursday evening presentation, the students heard a keynote address from Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, who encouraged them to identify an issue and begin “seizing their power” through advocacy and political involvement. During the Friday event, the students heard from two panels of politicos, journalists, and elected officials about the process of campaigning, working with the media, and getting involved in politics.

“The women who had spoken to us had a great wealth of knowledge. They talked about hardships they faced as women and gave us tips on how to navigate those challenges and be successful.” –Sara Wright C’18TMP5

Next year, for the first time, Mount St. Mary’s University will host the Training Ms. President workshop. We will welcome 40-50 undergraduate women, 7 female politicians, and 6 politicos to campus to continue our work to diminish the ambition gap for women in politics by encouraging our best-suited female students to run for public office.

“Truth be told, the United States needs more empathetic and compassionate leaders. It also needs politicians with more diverse backgrounds, and women are able to offer all of this.” –Courtney Twigg C’17

TMP3“Women are deemed legally equal, but in reality we still face hardships based on our gender. Truly, the only way we can overcome those hardships is to band together and take the world by storm.” –Abigail Cottrill C’18


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