The Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program showcased some of its members’ work in the annual Sophomore Symposium on March 13 on the main Redlands campus.
Professor and program director Kathy Feeley says the annual event is an opportunity for the Proudian scholars to learn how to present, collaborate, and use interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives. “The presentations can feel daunting for the students, but once they do it, they always feel satisfaction and a new confidence in presenting scholarly work and public speaking,” she says.
The Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program has highlighted the benefits of an interdisciplinary education since its founding in 1977, with scholars studying, presenting, and traveling together. At this year’s symposium, three panels highlighted this interdisciplinary focus.
The first, titled “The Monstrous,” featured four humanities and physical science majors. Clairissa Ponce ’22 began by illustrating interdisciplinarity via a container filled with fresh-squeezed lemonade to which she added sliced strawberries to produce something related yet new. Her demonstration served as an analogy for the group’s interdisciplinary work, which included Shaun Weatherly ’22’s discussion of scientific racism and how Jews were treated during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
A five-student panel titled “RIGGED” (race, intersectionality, gender, gossip, education, and discrimination) followed, focusing on the various ways these issues affect perception. “You think you can be anything,” Stephanie Shen ’22 said, “then you enter the adult world and realize this is not the case.” Shen used an uneven soccer field as a metaphor for intersectionality: “It is the understanding that not everyone begins at the same starting line.”
The last panel, titled “TMZ Special: The Bad, the Good, the Old, the New,” discussed gossip’s history, how it is used to make private matters public, and the media’s role in spreading it. Gossip was historically considered a woman’s activity, Lauryn Carey ’22 said. The Salem Witch Trials showed how gossip made it possible to spread inaccurate information and then use it to confirm suspicions. Even then, Kourtney Heald ’22 argued that gossip doesn’t have to be exclusively bad, and Keylana Jenkins ’22, noted, “it can uphold or change the status quo.”
Faith Boeke ’22 said she came away from the symposium with a new appreciation for interdisciplinary studies. “Had I not used an interdisciplinary lens, my research would have been two-dimensional.”
Learn more about the Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program at the University of Redlands.