English - Research & Tutoring | Benedictine College

English - Research & Tutoring


The English department has embraced Benedictine College’s Discovery Program, which provides opportunities for student-led, interdisciplinary research that extends beyond the classroom.  Faculty have sponsored a wide range of student projects, including:  development of teaching lesson plans for Dante’s Inferno; creation of chain mail, analysis of Tennyson’s Ulysses within a Victorian context; original writing and recording of spoken word poetry; interpretation of how ironic characterization impacts our understanding of Thomas More’s Utopia; analysis of sound in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins; investigation of novel writing and marketing, analysis of racial stereotypes and Orientalism in Disney films; creation of an original, Restoration-period play; an analysis of Icelandic linguistic change; exploration of the language and style of a pioneer woman’s diary; a reenactment of a Victorian tea party, including customs, etiquette, rituals, and attire, and many others.

Discovery 2016-2017

Artists at the Turn of the Century:  Willa Cather’s Literary Response to Modernism, Hannah Voss, Sarah Young, English.

A study of Willa Cather’s response to 20th Century Modernism through an analysis of The Professor’s House and selected essays from Not Under Forty.

Black Lives Matter:  A Lie?  Celeste Martinez, Madaline Walter, English.

A study on the influence of the media on understanding of news, focusing on the example of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Discovery 2015-2016

Catholic Literature in Secondary Schools:  Literary and Theological Applications, Rachel Gleeson, Hannah Klamerus, Stephen Mirarchi, English.

A study in how Catholic literature, such as works by J. R. R. Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Flannery O’Connor, can be used in secondary classroom to satisfy local and national standards.

“Explorations in the Art of Storytelling”:  Learning to Tell Stories Through Written and Visual Communication, Michaela Kinyon, Laurence Rossi, Stephen Mirarchi, English.

An exploration of how people represent a fallen world and God through fiction and photography through a travelogue-style novella and photography.

Weddings and Witchcraft:  A Collection of Italian Folklore, Cecilia Wood, Julia Bowen, English.

A presentation of ten pieces of ten pieces of Italian folklore collected while studying in Florence.

Discovery 2014-2015

Disability in Literature:  From Dickens to the Present, Rachel Gleeson, Claire Vouk, Madaline Walter, Matthew Ramsey, English and Education

A study of how perceptions of disability have evolved in Western culture since the 19th century as reflected in works of literature, including A Christmas Carol, Of Mice and Men, and Girl, Interrupted.

To Be a Warrior:  Teaching Spiritual Warfare to Children, Laura Romaine, Stephen Mirarchi, English

The creation of “To Be A Warrior,” a short book for 9 to 13 year olds, drawing on theological knowledge and research into children’s literature.

Discovery 2013-2014

Linguistic Study of a Pioneer’s Journal, Emily Storment, Sydney Giefer, Sarah Young, English

An analysis of the grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and narrative voice in the journal of Mary Bradbury Richardson, Emily Storment’s great, great, great-grandmother.

Discovery 2012-2013

Language Charged With Grandeur:  The Expressive Capacity of Sound in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vincent Petruccelli and Julia Bowen, English

A study of how the dynamics of stress, pitch, and formation of language in Hopkins’ sonnets reinforces their meanings, showing how he exploited, challenged, and reimagined the expressive capacity of sound in the form.

Discovery 2011-2012

Axis Mundi:  The Cosmic Archetype, Joshua Bruegger, Deborah Peters, OSB, English

Research into the Axis Mundi as an archetype that that represents the link between Heaven, Hell, and all else.

Factors in Linguistic Stability and Variation:  From Icelandic to the World, Ean Henninger, Sarah Young, English

A study into why languages change over time and show differing rates of change focusing on sociolinguistic factors.

Plated Mail, Zachary Stark, George Nicholas, English

An exploration of a lesser-known construction method of chainmail—plated mail.

Discovery 2010-2011

The Construction and Uses of Chainmail, Zachary Stark, George Nicholas, English

A study of original methods of construction of chainmail to provide an in-depth analysis of the construction process.

Disney and Orientalism, Theresa Kelly, Michael Stigman, English

An application of the writings of Edward Said and others regarding Disney’s portrayal of various races and ethnicities in its films.

Literary Agents and Publishing, Clifford Heyer, Michael Stigman, English

An examination of the process of seeking publication for a manuscript in the changing world of the publishing industry.

Discovery 2009-2010

Chainmail, Past and Present, Zachary Stark, George Nicholas, English

A project about the creation of a chainmail shirt from the individually made springs.

Coats of Arms in Florence, Rachel Bailey, Julia Bowen, English

A project using research conducted during a semester in Florence regarding what coats of arms are, who had them, and why they were placed on the facades of buildings.

The Departments:  A Satire on the Liberal Arts, Joseph Mathiesen, Eric Stone, James Packard, Christopher O’Brien, Kaitlyn Immethun, Cynthia Jensen, Michael Stigman, English.

The performance of selected scenes of The Departments—an original satirical play.

Exos:  A New Beginning—The Creation of a Novel, Clifford Higher, Rebecca Howard, Michael Stigman, English,

A project exploring the process of writing a first draft of a novel.

Freedom, Humanity, and Resistance in Dystopian Literature, Francis Petruccelli and Julia Bowen, English

A study of Zamyatin’s We, Huxley’s Brave New World, and Orwell’s 1984 in light of “directive assumptions about human nature,” the conflation of work and play, and the role education plays in the dissemination and maintenance of the state ideology.

The Irony of Raphael Hythloday, Leven Harton, OSB, and Julia Bowen, English

An investigation of Thomas More’s use of irony in the characterization of Raphael Hythloday, who is less an objective discriminator of political realities than a real person with prejudices, weaknesses, sensibilities, and foibles, as a means to understand Utopia as a whole.

Discovery 2008-2009

Defeating Beowulf’s Dragon:  A Modern Scriptorium, Elizabeth Poquette, George Nicholas, English.

An investigation of how being a medieval scribe by writing with a quill pen with ink made of oak and iron on rag paper imitating original letterforms might impact meaning.

Dung Balls to Deity:  Biology and Iconography in Ancient Egypt, Gabrielle Mullins, Lisa Prowant, Terry Malloy, Julia Bowen, Daniel Bowen, Jack Davis, Biology, English

A study into the symbolism and iconography of scarabs in Egypt relating to solar cycles and rebirth including research conducted in March 2009 with the Biology and English departments in Egypt.

Egypt’s Heretic King:  The Bold and Brief Reign of Akhenaten, Justin Pregont, Julia Bowen, Terry Malloy, Daniel Bowen, Jack Davis, English, Biology

An exploration of whether Amenhotep/Amenophis IV, who founded a new capital at Amarna, introduced an innovative style of art, and forced the acceptance of a single deity, was a “heretic king” or the first “modern man.”

Word of Mind, Carmen Knowles, Kevin Page, John Bunch, Michael Stigman, Mass Communications, Business, and English

The creation of original writing and recording of spoken word poetry.

You Are Cordially Invited:  A Victorian Tea Party

Rachel Meyer, Alicia Baehr, Katie Buckmaster, Natalie Stump, and Julie Bowen

A reenactment of a Victorian tea party based on research into its customs, etiquette, and rituals (as well as Victorian attire) to explore the societal expectations of women in Victorian period.

Discovery 2007-2008

"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here":  An Inferno Lesson Plan for the Secondary Level, Katie Buckmaster and Julia Bowen, English

An exploration of how best to teach the Dante Alighieri’s Inferno to high school students focusing on topics such as symbolism, terza rima, mythology, symbolic retribution (contrapasso), and the Christian understanding of free will.

"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here":  The Psychology of Torture or Punishment in Dante’s Inferno, Meisha Johnson, Julie Koehn, and Julia Bowen, English

An exploration of if Dante presents souls in the Inferno as undergoing eternal torture or eternal punishment if considering the definition supplied by the World Medical Association and the implications of this for meaning.

Tennyson’s Ulysses:  The Struggle for Identity, Francis Petruccelli and Julia Bowen, English

A study of how Tennyson’s poem told through the voice of the famed wanderer captures the Victorian mindset of progressive optimism and restless anxiety.


Writing tutors at Benedictine are students who serve the campus population in peer tutoring. Tutoring sessions are one-on-one time shared between a writing tutor and a fellow student. Writing tutors work with their peers on improving writing skills whether on an English class paper or writing assignments in other areas of study. Writing tutors receive ongoing training through the English department during the school year. This is an excellent opportunity for English majors, especially, to hone their writing skills as they work with others on campus.