Professor of Art Sue Johnson has been awarded a fully funded summer residency fellowship by the Catwalk Institute, which is a retreat for art making, collaborative projects and scholarly discourse in New York State’s Upper Hudson Valley. Resident fellows are selected through a highly competitive process from among the alumni and faculty of four academic institutions: Columbia University School of the Arts, NYU Tisch, Vassar College, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Catwalk was originally the home of Hudson River School painter Charles Herbert Moore. While in residence, Johnson will continue work on an illustrated book project focused on women and consumer culture for which she began background research in summer 2021 at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Delaware.
The SMCM Southern Maryland Folklife Center received another important grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), funding activity and growth of the center in Fiscal Year 2021-22. The Southern Maryland Folklife Center is co-directed by three faculty members at SMCM: Assistant Professor of English, Jerry Gabriel; Director of the Boyden Gallery, Erin Peters; and Associate Librarian, Kent Randell. The $38,540 award will be used primarily for the 2022 version of the center’s signature event: an annual set of folklife summer workshops to be held June 3-5, 2022 on the SMCM campus.
The SMCM Southern Maryland Folklife Center was established in 2021 as part of the statewide Folklife Network. These organizations, in the words of MSAC’s Maryland Traditions Program, “support folklife, or community-based living cultural traditions handed down by example or word of mouth.” In summer 2021, the Southern Maryland Folklife Center offered a set of workshops over three days, including making stuffed ham, running a small farm, painting the Southern Maryland landscape, and making wampum pendants. The Southern Maryland Folklife Center is partnering with the arts associations of St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles counties, Historic St. Mary’s City, Trinity Episcopal Church, Southern Maryland Traditional Music and Dance, and the Southern Maryland Heritage Area to host the 2022 summer workshops. Serving as a hub for the region, the SMCM-based team is excited to continue to expand partnerships.
Jennifer Cognard-Black, professor of English and 2020 recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, is a 2022 recipient of an Independent Artist Award presented by the Maryland State Arts Council. Cognard-Black will receive a $2,000 regional grant to recognize promise in fiction writing. This is her second Maryland State Arts Council Award; she received her first in 2013.
Cognard-Black says of this award, “While the Individual Artist Awards honor past writing – in this case, two of my short stories – what I appreciate most is how these awards support artists as they move toward their creative futures. For me, that’s a novel I’m writing fictionalizing part of the life of the novelist Edith Wharton against the backdrop of World War I, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Photo-Secessionist movement. To know that members of MSAC find promise in my current work helps give me energy towards its completion.”
One of her award-winning short stories is included in the forthcoming issue of SlackWater, an occasional journal published by St. Mary’s College of Maryland, featuring the work of faculty, students and members of the Southern Maryland community.
This year’s 69 awardees were chosen from a pool of nearly 300 applicants through a public panel process. With this year’s awards focused on the literary arts, the 2022 awardees represent a wide range of artistic talents – ranging from poets to playwrights, novelists to essayists – from all across the state. Click here for the full list of winners.
Professor of Anthropology Julia King took part in the pilot episode of “Tribal Truths,” a new podcast series from RadioIQ that aims to debunk myths and legends with facts, teaching about tribal cultures and current issues.
King says in the first episode titled “Ancient cliffs are revealing lost tribal histories” that “there is so much that the land tries to tell us if we just listen to what it has to say.”
Featuring Rappahannock Tribe Chief Anne Richardson and narrated by tribal member Steven Nelson, the episode focuses on Fones Cliffs, a place along the Rappahannock river in eastern Virginia where the Rappahannock Tribe once lived. King and her team of archaeologists, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Federally-recognized Rappahannock Tribe, have been working to trace the history and development of the Rappahannock Tribe in early American history.
“[The archaeologists are] digging for traces of our towns and connecting them to our oral histories. And centuries after the Rappahannock Tribe’s removal from this area, they’re reconstructing our ties to Fones Cliffs, looking for three of our towns once located there. It’s a race against time, development and climate change,” Nelson said on the podcast.
The anthropology department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland first began studying the Rappahannock Tribe’s history in 2016 at the request of the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Office, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and the Rappahannock Tribe. The work was undertaken to provide interpretive support for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Following the NPS-funded project, the Tribe and King and her students have continued their collaboration. The survey of the greater river valley has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities Program.
Photo credit: Pamela A. D’Angelo
Professor of Biochemistry Pamela Mertz was recently appointed to the steering committee for BioMolViz, an NSF-funded project (RCN-UBE #1920270) that has been developing resources to improve the pedagogy of biomolecular visualization. Goals of the project include promoting awareness about biomolecular visual literacy and providing all interested educators with learning goals, objectives, and assessment tools to target and evaluate visualization in their classroom. Mertz has been working on the project since March and was recognized as a BioMolViz Fellow this past summer for “outstanding contributions to the project.” She will join the steering committee in January.
More info about BioMolViz can be found online.
Long-term sustainable programming and community engagement tied to the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland gained more momentum this fall thanks to monetary support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Earlier this week, NEH announced more than $87 million in American Rescue Plan funding to nearly 300 cultural and educational institutions to help them recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, retain and rehire workers, and reopen sites, facilities and programs.
St. Mary’ College of Maryland was awarded just over $144,000 to fund its project, “Extending the History and Voices of Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland.” The funds allow the College to create a one-year public humanities position, sustain existing humanities programming and to create a long-term plan for humanities activities and public outreach related to the Commemorative.
The Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland is an immersive art experience that honors the story of resilience, persistence and creative problem-solving that defined the lives of the enslaved individuals that lived in St. Mary’s City between 1750 and 1815. Constructed on the College’s campus, the Commemorative provides visitors with the space to acknowledge and learn from the lives of those who once toiled there, while providing a place for reflection and introspection about the nature of slavery and its connections to modern society.
“This grant is not only celebrating the four years of work that went in from finding the slave quarters in 2016, up until the creation of the commemorative and the virtual dedication in 2020 but also the powerful potential of the work to be done,” said Erin Peters, director of the Boyden Gallery and Collection, and lecturer of museum studies, who is project director of the grant.
Julia King, professor of anthropology and member of the grant project team, made the discovery of the slave quarters with her staff and students in 2016. King said she is excited to see the next phase in the Commemorative’s development
“NEH support is a powerful recognition of the importance of the College’s Commemorative to Enslaved People of Southern Maryland. This support will allow the College to develop the Commemorative as an educational tool for all of our stakeholders, including the greater community of which the College is a part.”
Without the ability to have an in-person dedication that had been in planning for two years, Peters said the College didn’t stop working, but rather filtered it, switching to what would become the nationally recognized award-winning virtual dedication, “From Absence to Presence: The Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland.”
She said now with the resources and recognition from NEH, the College can continue to activate and “make that presence larger.”
Garrey Dennie, associate professor of history and member of the grant project team, is currently spearheading a committee that has planned a two-part program celebrating the anniversary of the Commemorative, which he said, “captures the core vision that has allowed us to win the NEH grant.” More details will be announced later this month.
To learn more about the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland or to apply for the one-year public humanities fellow position, visit us online.
SMCM alumna and adjunct instructor Rie Moore ’19 was recently awarded a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) for her project titled “Decaying”. The funding will cover expenses associated with creating a prerecorded audio-visual program for piano and violin on the theme of finding beauty in what is decaying. The filmed program will be made available virtually to the public for free via Moore’s YouTube channel as well as embedded on her website.
Inspired by her experience at the Piano Festival by the River at SMCM, Moore began studying with Brian Ganz, a member of the piano faculty at the College, which eventually led to completing a degree in music through SMCM’s second bachelor’s degree program in 2019. She was awarded Alice Fleury Zamanakos and Arthur S. Zamanakos Prize in Music upon graduation. In 2020, she received the Regional Independent Artist Award from Maryland State Arts Council for her program “As if heard from within” and was selected as one of the 48 competitors to perform at the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in 2022. Her latest project “Beyond Darkness”, a prerecorded program sponsored by St. Mary’s County Arts Council, was made available online in March 2021.
In “Decaying”, Moore will explore beauty in what is decaying in a setting that communicates the theme through effective filming to reach audience members in a way that is different from the standard recital experience. Her desire to pursue the theme of finding beauty in what is decaying stems from her Japanese heritage as well as a wish to create a space that invites audience members to appreciate beauty beneath the surface and the process and journey of our living. The 45-minute program consists of pieces for piano and violin and poetry reading, categorized into three sections: Scenery, Thoughts, and Physical Existence. Prior to the premiere of the program, Moore will launch “Project Decaying”, an initiative to invite artwork that expresses beauty in what is decaying from the community to create a space for contemplation on the theme as part of the community engagement.
The following collaborators will participate in essential program components:
- Eliza Garth, a member of the piano faculty at SMCM (piano and poetry reading)
- Beatrice Baker (violin)
- Nick Hughes ‘12 (filming and video editing)
- Sean Mercer (audio engineering, mixing, and editing)
Moore hopes to generate interest for her project during a TED talk titled “More Than Music: A New Approach to Concert Programming” at TEDxGreatMills on September 18, 2021.
India Oates ’21 was awarded a $509 Mamie Phipps Clark Research Grant from Psi Chi over the summer of 2021. The award “highlights research projects by Psi Chi students and faculty advisors focusing on diverse populations and issues.” Her project, “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals’ Dehumanizing Beliefs and Experiences” was originally conceived and developed though directed research with Assistant Professor of Psychology Kristina Howansky in the spring 2021 semester. The study aims to identify how transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals experience dehumanization and examine how their beliefs about stereotypes may mediate the association between dehumanization and harmful mental health effects and the association between dehumanization experiences and self-dehumanization. This study will help fill in gaps in the current psychological body of literature. Limited research has examined the associated effects of dehumanization, nor has past dehumanization work focused on transgender and GNC individuals’ perspectives. Grant funding will be used to compensate a large sample of online survey participants recruited from Academic Prolific.
India is currently studying morality and empathy as a full-time lab manager at Pennsylvania State University – the perfect combination of her double-major in religious studies and psychology.
Charles (Chuck) Adler, Professor of Physics, and Evan Marx, SMCM undergraduate student, collaborated over the 2021 summer break with researchers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWDAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
Dr. Adler and Mr. Marx worked on a project simulating how orbital angular momentum beams propagate through turbulent and scattering water. These beams, also called “optical vortex beams”, carry a twist (orbital angular momentum), unlike standard laser beams. The Navy is interested in understanding whether these beams are more effective than standard laser beams for various imaging and laser ranging technologies. This work is being done in partnership with the Advanced Lidar Systems Team (A-LiST) at NAWCAD, led by Dr. Linda Mullen, Alan Laux, and Dr. Brandon Cochenour.
Dr. Adler’s summer 2021 work was supported under the Office of Naval Research’s Summer Faculty Research Program (SFRP), and Mr. Marx who worked with the group as a summer student was funded by the Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP). Adler and Marx recently received additional funding from NAWCAD to continue their collaborative research in the 2021-22 academic year.
Argelia González Hurtado, assistant professor of Spanish, has been awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). González Hurtado received, along with María Soledad Paz-Mackay from St. Francis Xavier University, the IDG grant in the amount of $59, 249 CAD for a two-year period to conduct research about cinematic landscape in Argentinian and Mexican cinema. This collaborative research project between González Hurtado and Paz-Mackay will explore the complex meaning of rural landscape in recent narrative films from Argentina and Mexico that portray new identities shaped by socio-political changes at the turn of the 21st century.
SSHRC is the most important Canadian federal research funding agency in the promotion and support of research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its Insight Development Grants program, SSHRC supports research in its initial stages, enabling the development of new research questions as well as experimentation with new and innovative methods or ideas.