Holy Cross Academic Conference 2017 to Showcase Student Work

350 students will present results of research, independent work across disciplines
April 21st, 2017 by 


As the academic year nears its end, more than 350 students will present the results of their independent work in the performing and visual arts, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences at the 2017 Academic Conference, taking place across campus from April 25–28.

The liberal arts will come to life through performances, poster sessions, and presentations showcasing a high level of independence, creativity, and intellectual discipline, as well as the role professors play as mentors and model teacher-scholars for Holy Cross students.

For the first time, no classes will be held on April 26, the day during which most of the programming will take place, to allow students and faculty to explore the many sessions of the conference. The Academic Conference is free and open to the public.

Here are a few highlights:

Conference Kick-Off

Bilingual theatre troupe laugh while posing for photo

The conference will begin with a performance by Uni2ACT, Holy Cross’s bilingual theatre troupe, on Tuesday, April 25 at 5 p.m. in Seelos Theatre. The troupe will perform “Walking Still: Rompiendo Barriers y Building Puentes,” a profoundly moving play written by the students that addresses complex and hard-to-talk-about issues around immigration and otherness.

The play is based on ideas and situations drawn from the students’ own personal experiences as well as from the larger dialogue happening in the United States. The title pays homage to the video installation, “En transito / In transit,” by Paola Michaels, that was featured in the recent “The Last Frontier” exhibit at the Iris and B. Cantor Art Gallery.

College Honors

Student draws molecules on chalkboard

Thirty seniors will give presentations of their year-long College Honors senior thesis projects, which span topics in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. The presentations will be given from April 26–28 at various times throughout the day (see PDF of program below). Through the College Honors Program — one of the oldest programs at Holy Cross to provide special educational opportunities for academically accomplished and highly motivated students — each students conducts research during their senior year on a topic of their choice, under the supervision of a faculty advisor or advisors.

A culmination of rigorous academic work by students, the presentations include:

  • “A Musical-Aesthetic Epistemology: Why ‘Ti’ Brings Us Back to ‘Do’,” Daniel Apadula ’17
  • “Reconstructing the Hindlimb Muscles of the Dodo,” Kristina Washer ’17
  • “Children’s Spontaneous Gestures Before and After Learning About the Day-Night Cycle,” Caroline Morano ’17
  • “Ideology, Populism, and the 2016 Election,” Thomas Rueter ’17
  • “Shakespearean Speech Acts: The Linguistic Foundation of Truth,” Jane McGrail ’17

Performances and the Arts

Students create art in studio

The Academic Conference will celebrate students’ involvement in the arts, including the work of seven graduating visual arts studio majors that will be showcased by the Cantor Art Gallery in an exhibition titled “re”. The students will give presentations of their work in the Cantor Art Gallery on Wednesday, April 26 at noon followed by the opening reception on Thursday, April 27 from 5:30–7 p.m. The exhibited work is developed through their yearlong senior concentration seminar, where students are given an individual studio space and encouraged to experiment with ideas and mediums. The exhibition will include works in a range of media, including installations, photography, and painting.

Other arts performances include:

  • Arts Transcending Borders and the theatre department will present pop-up performances around Patrick Doherty’s Stickwork sculpture on Linden Lane. Basic and modern dance performances will take place on April 26 from 10:45–11:15 a.m. and 12:15–12:45 p.m., respectively.
  • The work of eight creative writing concentrators will be celebrated at the launch party for Holy Cross’ literary magazine “The Purple.” The event will include student readings beginning at 7:20 p.m. on April 26 in the Levis Browsing Room in Dinand Library.
  • The Holy Cross Choir will perform a sampling of the graduating seniors’ favorite songs in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel on April 29 at 8 p.m.

Departmental/Program Presentations

Close of up computer with ancient Greek text on it

The majority of the conference is made up of presentation sessions held to showcase the work of both upper and underclassmen from each academic department and/or departmental honors. The presentations and poster sessions are a result of work done everywhere from campus classrooms, art studios, and research labs to in the Worcester community, in study abroad locations, and on field sites.

Students will also present work done through a range of programs and activities across campus, including the Holy Cross Manuscripts, Inscriptions and Documents Club; and the Digital Transgender Archive; and the Philosophy of Food.

For a full list of all the presentations, events, and performances celebrating the dynamic academic accomplishments of the campus community, see the Academic Conference Program 2017 (PDF).

The conference is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the College.

Images by Tom Rettig

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