From archaeology to cinema, Mellon grants support students' summer research

From an archaeological dig in the Republic of Macedonia to the role of music in Civil War films, Gettysburg College students will research a wide variety of topics this summer with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Katherine Haas will return to an ancient fortified urban settlement called Golemo Gradiste, where she served as site architect last summer, compiling field measurements to create a comprehensive map plan.

Haas, an anthropology major, said she hopes artifacts and other data will reveal more about "who the inhabitants of the site were, where they came from, what activities and occupations they participated in, and what was their group affiliation or ethnic identity."

Data from ground-penetrating radar will add a new dimension to Haas' work with Classics Prof. Carolyn Snively, whose work over the past decade has helped date the site to Late Antiquity, between 1,400 and 1,700 years ago. The dig is a cooperative project of Gettysburg College and the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje

• Ancient artifacts will also be the focus for two students who are heading to Great Britain to study Neolithic standing stones and medieval high crosses.

    Anthropology major Katherina Santangelo and history-art history double major Gwendolyn Williams will examine how the objects fit into their surroundings, and the implications of relocation to a museum setting. "In a modern world, how can we balance the necessity for preservation while maintaining the original sacred space?" asked Williams.

    Her faculty mentor is visual arts Prof. Felicia Else; Santangelo's is anthropology Prof. Julia Hendon.

    Andy Deen• Andrew Deen's plans combine his major in music performance and minor in Civil War Era studies. Using scores, scripts, diaries, interviews, and other data, he will study the role of music in Civil War films from the silent era-when live musicians accompanied movies-to today.

      As well as studying the oboe at Gettysburg College's Sunderman Conservatory of Music, Deen is involved with the Civil War reenacting community and has played in a fife and drum corps since high school. Last May, he was an extra in a full-length professional docudrama about the Battle of Gettysburg.

      "I am particularly interested in the rise of period performance and the way recent composers have integrated period music with the film score," said Deen, who will be working with English Prof. Jack Ryan.

      • This will be the fourth consecutive summer during which Mellon grants have supported collaboration between students and faculty members. Gettysburg College's scholar development program supports undergraduate research and creative activities throughout students' four years. The program facilitates fellowships, scholarships, and grants and celebrates student research at an annual colloquium.

        Other Mellon-supported projects this summer include the following.

        • Celie Katovitch will conduct interviews to preserve the history of anti-war and other forms of social activism in Gettysburg from the Vietnam era to today, with emphasis on "those who may not have sped off to California on a Day-Glo painted bus, but who were committed to working quietly in their own small town."

          She will also use the oral histories as the basis for a non-fiction novella. Her majors are in philosophy and her self-created interdisciplinary program of "peace and justice through writing." She will work with English faculty member William Lane.

          • Philosophy and history major Aaron Lawson will examine "the role that community plays in addressing the problem of suffering" by interviewing religious leaders and others at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois universities, two very different campuses where mass shootings occurred. He will work with religion Prof. Charles Myers.

            • History and art history double major Kyle Lawson will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, to examine Koranic talismans from the 9th through 14th centuries as precursors to Tarot and modern playing cards. His findings may change the history of printing by showing that the technology entered Europe from the Islamic world rather than vice versa. He will work with history Prof. Karen Pinto.

              • Health sciences major Kristen McMahon will explore the sociological and biological implications of aging and investigate the possible anti-aging effects of an enzyme called Nampt in connection with resveratrol, a substance in red wine that appears to protect against diabetes and heart disease. She will work with health sciences Prof. Josef Brandauer.

                • History and Spanish major Evan Rothera will analyze 107 letters from 16th-century Spanish King Phillip II to his son-in-law. Rothera hopes to draw conclusions about the period's culture of letter-writing and the character of the king. Historians have regarded Phillip as repressive and fanatical, but letters to his daughter-which are being studied Rothera's faculty advisor, history Prof. Magdalena Sanchez-show the monarch to be caring and affectionate.

                  • In addition to this summer's Mellon scholars, Denitsa Koleva, an economics and political science major, will study personal privacy in American constitutional law in collaboration with political science Prof. Ken Mott. The project will be supported by the Millard E. Gladfelter Prize, named after a 1925 graduate of Gettysburg College.

                    All the students are members of the Class of 2010, except McMahon, Class of 2011.

                    Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with approximately 2,600 students. It is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

                    Posted: Mon, 18 May 2009

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