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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Kate Tombs

Hello! My name is Kathryn Tombs (pronounced as if the “b” weren’t there), but I’ve always gone by Kate. Fun facts: I am named for my maternal great great aunt who was a child actress in silent films and my last name came to our family through adoption!

I am currently a second semester senior because I am graduating early this December. I am double majoring in Spanish and Theology (which I affectionately refer to as “Spanish and the Jesus”) and have a self-made concentration in Hispanic Ministry. My time at the Mount has truly flown by!!

My heart (and a lot of my time) goes to leadership of the Mount Students for Life ministry and participation in Chapel Choir. My favorite things about these ministries would hands down have to be their orientation towards glorifying God and serving others and also all the amazing people involved! I also love to run (for fun), read (also for fun, but only when I’m not at school), travel, create art, and spend time with my family and in beautiful churches. You’re most likely to find me doing (or procrastinating) homework on my bed, collecting my thoughts in IC Chapel, or enjoying a conversation around campus.

As a member of the George Henry Miles Honors Society, I am currently trucking through the monster that is the senior honors project - the end is in sight! My project analyzes an original play that I wrote based on conversations with a Hispanic kitchen staff at a restaurant. It is inspired by my past experiences as a waitress. Comparing my play with two other contemporary theatrical works that also reflect the Latino immigrant experience in the U.S., I am discussing challenges pertinent to the Latino immigrant experience and responding to these challenges with various statements issued on behalf of the Church.

A list of my favorite things I’ve done while at the Mount would first and foremost have to include my two trips to Latin America: a spring break service and culture trip to Perú in 2016 and summer study abroad in Costa Rica (with a side excursion to Panamá) in 2017. I can’t even begin to describe what incredible and formative trips these have been for me with regards to my two majors and also just as a person. Standing at the top of Machu Picchu for Leap Day 2016, ziplining through the Costa Rican rainforest, and seeing the Panamá Canal live are experiences I will never forget!

Other favorite Mount experiences would have to include service trips through the OSJ, Chrism Mass trips through Camp Min, a field trip to EWTN in D.C., and the “You are Beauty” 2016 Ethics and Culture Conference at Notre Dame in Indiana.

I do not have set post-graduation plans yet beyond returning home to spend some time with family at least for a semester, but my dreams do include spending some more time in Latin America to do mission/service work. I can also see myself being a teacher...and a public speaker...and about ten other things, honestly. I’m open and excited to see where God’s plans for my life lead me.

The relationships I have formed at the Mount have been everything. I have been overwhelmed by support and encouragement received from faculty (both in and out of my majors) and staff throughout my entire Mount journey. Also, the friendships and amazing relationships I have formed with people I have met through ministry, classes, and travel have been incredible. There are a lot of people I am really going to miss next semester!!

As my time at the Mount comes to a close, I feel a deep gratitude for everyone who helped shape and form me these past three and a half years to be the person I am today, and most especially God who carried me through every valley and brought me to every height. It’s been unforgettable!

“Mañana hacemos cosas bellas” - Antoni Gaudí

Kate Tombs

Brendan Dooly

Dr. Dooley did his undergraduate work and completed his master's degree at Loyola University-Chicago. He went on to earn his doctorate degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has taught at Saint Augustine University, University of Maryland, Ball State University, University of Iowa, and American University. His professional reputation is built on serving as Project Director of the Oral History Criminology Project ( The OHC Project has collected and shared recordings of nearly 100 of the leading minds from across the globe.

"I am looking forward to being a part of a community of faith, scholarship, and teaching. Since I am new to the area, I will be looking for additional opportunities to contribute to our community!" In his spare time, Dr. Dooley enjoys cooking, sports, and reading.

Kara Monahan

I graduated from the Mount in 2002 with a major in English and a minor in History. To this day, a well-worn copy of my freshman seminar book, Choices, sits on my bookshelf. That anthology represents for me the essence of my Mount experience—thoughtful engagement with a variety of sources about the important choices that shape our lives: education, values, and work. The Mount professors who facilitated discussions of these important choices through their various disciplines made a lasting impression on how I saw myself and my place in the world. After graduating in 2002, I embarked on a number of adventures, including teaching public school in a remote farming village in the north of Japan and earning a Masters degree in English from the University of Delaware. But, it was my college internship at Fort Detrick’s Office of the Judge Advocate General, which I found through the Mount’s Career Center, that ultimately inspired me to pursue a legal career. After graduating from Rutgers School of Law in 2010, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas in the District of New Jersey.

Currently, I am the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the Health Care Division of the United States Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition in Washington D.C. In this capacity, I assist in the day-to-day management of the Division, which comprises more than thirty attorneys, paralegals, and support staff. The Health Care Division investigates potentially anticompetitive conduct involving physicians and other health professionals, hospitals and institutional providers, and pharmaceutical companies. I have also been involved with the FTC’s major pharmaceutical initiatives, including federal court litigation challenging anticompetitive pay-for-delay agreements, which delay access to lower-cost generic drugs.

I live in Takoma Park, Maryland with my husband Dan, who is also an English major turned antitrust attorney, and my two daughters, Maeve and Molly. -Kara Monahan, C'02

Jordan Loveridge

Dr. Loveridge earned a B.A. in English language and literature from Westminster College, a small liberal arts school in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned his Ph.D. in English with a focus in rhetoric from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. 

Before beginning his graduate studies, Dr. Loveridge worked with the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center. As the Off-Site Programming Coordinator there, he designed and facilitated community literacy workshops in partnership with prisons, women’s shelters, and refugee centers.

At ASU, Dr. Loveridge taught a variety of courses—first year writing, public argument, professional communication, visual rhetoric and graphic novels, etc. He also helped to train new teachers entering ASU’s graduate programs to teach first year writing.

While Dr. Loveridge trained in rhetoric, writing, and communication broadly, his area of expertise is the history of rhetorical theory. "So, in terms of my research, I consider myself more of an intellectual historian and a rhetorician." He focuses primarily on how classical rhetoric was understood and interpreted throughout the Middle Ages. More recently, he has become interested in how medieval thinkers grappled with the translation and reintroduction of Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the later 13th century.

Dr. Loveridge is looking forward to the opportunity to work with students in more than one course. "In my previous teaching experience, it was relatively rare for me to teach a student more than once. At the Mount, I have much more of an opportunity to help students develop their skills in writing, rhetoric, and communication in the long-term."

As a hobby, Dr. Loveridge enjoys cycling. "I am excited to have moved to a climate that is much more conducive to that sort of activity (it’s hard to bike too far when it’s 115 degrees outside)." He is also a fan of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. "I met my wife playing D&D! I also enjoy board games (my favorite right now is Scythe), comic books, etc." Dr. Loveridge also loves to cook!

Firmament 1

If you walk into Mount St. Mary’s University’s Knott Academic Center at night, you will be greeted by a soft blue light. Looking up, you will discover the source of that light, “The Firmament,” a new art piece created by Nick Hutchings. Nick is an Assistant Professor in the Mount’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Paul Miller, graduate student associate for the College of Liberal Arts, recently interviewed Professor Hutchings about this amazing piece.

Q: How did the commissioning of the piece come about?

Hutchings: Originally, I proposed this to Karl Einolf when he was Dean of the Bolte School of Business a few years ago. He was supportive, but the project did not materialize at that time. Last year, Pete Dorsey, Dean of the CLA, asked me about art in the AC, and I told him about my original proposal. He was quite excited about the idea. He reached out to Karl Einolf about the Bolte School’s supporting the funding along with the CLA. Pete brought the project to the attention of Dr. Jennie Hunter-Cevera, the Interim-Provost, who brought it to the attention of President Trainor as well as to the Cabinet. I then proposed the project directly to President Trainor and to the cabinet. Everyone has been very supportive. It was a team effort.

Q: Did you collaborate with anyone else on the piece?

Firmament 2Hutchings: I had two student assistants who helped me construct the piece: Jodie McSparron and Jack Bonner.

Q: What was your inspiration for the piece? Were there other artists that influenced you?

Hutchings: Alain Badiou wrote “through the visibility of artifice, which is also the thinking of poetic thought, the poem surpasses in  power what the sensible is capable of itself.” This work reflects on a series of concepts and questions about our existence in this universe and the boundaries of our understanding. These boundaries are framed by the context of our experience, and they shape our understanding of the universe and our place within it. The idea of the firmament, or vault between the seas as written in the first chapter of Genesis, informs the conceptual scaffolding of this artwork. In Genesis, it is written “And God said, ‘Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.” The firmament, also known as the Raqia in Jewish mysticism, is this boundary.

Firmament 3Raqia translates as “to beat or spread out.” This is similar to the image of copper, beaten by a metalsmith, in order to spread out the material into large sheets. This vault, according to Genesis, is where stars of the heaven have been fixed. Similarly, in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the eighth level of heaven is where the stars are fixed to the sphere above the earth. Thus symbolically, the firmament is the empirical limit of our universe, while the expanse references our known universe—or the space between the waters.

The artwork also echoes imagery of neural synapses in the brain and the elaborate connections between them. The billions of connections in the brain and how our thought emerges from them is a beautiful question, and I wrestle with a way to reflect on that image. While in quantum physics, string theory suggests that particles across the universe are tethered and interconnected. Is this similar to the connections between synapses in a brain?  Thus, can we theorize that the particles in our brains are tethered to the stars in the vastness of space? We are composed of the same particles that formed the stars and exploded in an age long ago. We are all made of stars. Thus the stars reach out towards us and we in return are tethered to them.

Q: Is there a particular response or emotion you want to provoke with the piece?

Hutchings: Once I have created the work it is its own. That means interpretation will vary. Yet, I aim to place the  viewer in a  position of conscious engagement with the    artwork. Like writing a Haiku, I remove superfluous  elements from the art to speak in a more succinct and  powerful voice without sacrificing the poetic. This  artwork is a quiet interruption of the ‘noise’ of daily  life,  which allows the viewer’s interpretation to emerge and  grants a space for being present in relation to the artwork.

Q: How do you feel your piece contributes to the overall aesthetics of the Knott Academic Center?

Firmament 4Hutchings: The atrium of the Knott Academic Center is the precise space for the exploration of this artwork. It is my aim with this installation to contextualize a space for an aesthetic experience that reflects the ephemerality of presence yet leaves an indelible mark in the memory of one who experiences it. This artwork will be a wonderful center piece to all who visit our fine campus. Aesthetics can positively influence the way we feel about a space and the AC is in need of an aesthetic revival. It can also influence the way potential students receive the Knott Academic Center and help the community feel proud of our great university.

Q: What are some ways we can promote the fine arts at our university? How might we encourage our students to consider majoring in the fine arts?

Nick HutchingsHutchings: You do not have to be a major to be involved in our department. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the VPA. From music ensembles, to chorale, to theater productions, to taking an art class and applying for the Simon Brute Juried Student Art Exhibit. The options and levels of involvement can be curricular, co-curricular, or extra-curricular.




                                                                                                           Prof. Nick Hutchings                                                                                                                            


Dr. Joshua Brown earned his Ph.D. from the University of Dayton, his M.Div. from Campbell University Divinity School, and his B.S. in Religion from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC.

In 2016-2017, Dr. Brown served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of theology at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Brown specializes in comparative and systematic theology. His research focuses on articulating Catholic doctrine about the person and work of Jesus Christ in concepts taken from early Chinese philosophy, particularly Confucianism.

Dr. Brown is looking forward to getting to know the Mount students, and helping them get to know the amazing worlds of the Catholic and Chinese intellectual traditions.

Dr. Brown lives in Emmitsburg with his wife Jamie and their two sons, Elliot and Emmett. Jamie works with Residential Life here on campus. Aside from enjoying time with his family, Dr. Brown enjoys discussing Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, finding “food gems” in the surrounding area, and watching Arsenal FC!

MSMU team at KROC 2017

For a week in June, Drs. Elizabeth Strauss, Denise Obinna and I met with 40 colleagues from five countries at Notre Dame University’s KROC Institute of Peace, and explored a range of topics in the 2017 Summer Institute for Faculty, “Teaching Peace in the 21st Century.”

What is the KROC Institute?

The KROC Institute, operating within the Keough School of Global Affairs, joined with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to sponsor this 9th Annual Summer Institute for Faculty, not only building on a rich catalogue of experience, but introducing participants to nearly 20 researchers and practitioners who work in vastly diverse fields.

Their work focuses on foreign policy, religion and peace, verification of treaty compliance, inner-city gangs, identity and narratives, literature and peace, inner-school violence, entrepreneurship and development, and a variety of other topics.

What was the experience like?

While goals amongst participants were varied, ranging from enhancing existing peace certificate programs to developing doctoral programs in peace and conflict studies, the Mount team was there to gain insights for developing a new undergraduate major in Conflict, Peace, & Social Justice (CPSJ).

The experience was designed to facilitate both team interaction - normally not easily accomplished on campuses during the academic year - and to enhance inter-team interactions. As the institute handbook explained, “The aim of our ‘faculty summer camp’ is not only to strengthen teams and accomplish your individual goals, but also to build the global peace studies community and get to know others in the academic world of peace studies.”

The week included lectures, panel discussions, break-out luncheon meetings with facilitators for individual team discussions about their own projects, and presentations. There were even interactive training exercises that could be applied in the classroom. During the evenings, there were also opportunities for social engagement and the exchange of ideas over some amazing dinner options.

What were the results?

The Mount team accomplished some of its goals, as well as established next steps for others. These included:

1. Developed CPSJ major
We finalized our version of the CPSJ major, and with additional resources from KROC the team will be able to view, review, and/or build from several introductory courses to peace studies. We also envision an “Intro to Peace and Justice” course.

2. Identify possible areas of engagement for practicums
The team networked with participants who can help in particular areas. Additionally, we will look to the Mount Office of Social Justice as well as the Career Center for guidance.

3. MHEC proposal for Maryland approval
Finalizing the MHEC proposal, first for faculty and then Maryland state approval is only partially completed. However, we received significant assistance in addressing several key points from other participants, and will be receiving statistical data to utilize in addressing many key questions.

4. Explore ways to generate “buy-in” with other departments
We discovered that we’re especially fortunate in several respects. First, we have a tradition of inter-disciplinary engagement – this is more rare than I realized! Second, we are currently developing several interdisciplinary majors, so we are not swimming upstream! And finally, the CPSJ major proposal grew out of the Curricular Challenge issued by our provost, with the initial stage (this workshop), funded through her budget.

5. Develop a list of career opportunities for CPSJ majors
The goal of all majors – besides the Aristotelian goal of living a rich and examined life – is of course, to help our students find engaging jobs and/or careers following their undergraduate experience at the Mount. This was addressed in two separate presentations. A key point: we must learn to use LinkedIn in an interactive way! Also, David J. Smith has just released his new book, “Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace” that highlights 86 peace jobs and many career links.

6. Seek ways to promote the major to students 
One way to promote to our students is through a dedicated webpage. The KROC Institute PR spokesperson offered many suggestions, but faced push-back from participants, who said their institutions will not allow them to do this. I don’t know how this works at the Mount. This is an institutional question that will have to be addressed on campus.

7. Develop a vision of how this major can grow 
In addition to the major, we will reformulate the minor. We can also offer certificates – especially for education (also at the master’s level), criminal justice students, business majors, and environmental studies majors. Given our location, we can also imagine special summer programs for area teachers, business managers, and/or international practitioners who need recertification courses every two or three years.

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