Presenting at the Spring Student Symposium

Anil Menon '13

Majors: Economics and History

How would you describe your experience presenting at past Spring Symposiums?

I presented at the Spring Symposium as a first-year student and remember being tense. The presentation was about my findings from work I had done with Women’s Self Help Groups in rural India. In the same session were three other presenters, all of whom explored the role of women and female activism in various social and cultural settings. I was immediately struck by the immense diversity of issues that were brought to the table and started my presentation by saying:

“I am sorry to disappoint all of you who came here today expecting my talk to be on female activism. I am here to talk about economics…”

<p>Anil Menon '13</p>

It was only later that I realized that this diversity and exposure to topics from various disciplines forms the essence of the Spring Symposium. I soon forgot my anxiousness and was reluctant to stop talking when my allotted fifteen minutes had ended. Last time, during my sophomore year, I presented about my work with families of terminally ill adults in my hometown in India. My presentation examined the financial distress faced by these families and detailed aspects of the support network that helped sustain their burdensome expenses. I was again impressed by the depth and diversity of issues tackled within my session and also amongst other sessions. I remember being excited; a sentiment that I now attach with my experiences at the Spring Symposium.

Why do you think other students should present at the symposium?

The Symposium is a great opportunity to showcase your work. I am not saying this to sound cliché. Given the rigorous workload of the normal semester most of us aren’t able to share the fruits of our work beyond the closest of friends. The symposium offers every student an equal opportunity to work on their public speaking skills and ensures that your hard work and innovation is recognized by your peers in college. Most of all, I would ask other students to present at the symposium to have a chance at voicing your in-depth analysis of issues close to your heart and to allow others, like me, to celebrate your great accomplishments in college.

What do you hope to present at the symposium this year?

This one’s tricky. I am still trying to decide between two projects that I worked on over this past fall semester. The first is my Junior History Thesis for which I wrote a historiography of an event popularly (among historians that is…) known as the Price Revolution. After a systematic study of existing academic work on the issue I construct my own argument to provide a novel explanation for this phenomenon from 16th century Europe.

The other is a comparison of philosophical/ economic thought between Adam Smith and Guan Zhong (a little discussed figure from 700BC China). I explored the common ground in thought that existed between these two thinkers separated by geography, culture and most importantly two millennia. Their suggestions for economic policy and its implications remain relevant to the current day. Presenting on this would mean that I get to read passages from ancient texts (I am stumped…)

To submit your own proposal visit  go/sym

Have You Applied for the Spring Student Symposium?

Carla Cevasco SpSym

Carla Cevasco '11

Major: English and American Literatures Minor: American History

Describe your experience presenting at the Spring Student Symposium last year.

It was so rewarding! It was really exciting to see friends, professors and even some complete strangers in the audience for my presentation. I got to practice public speaking, which is an important skill both for classes at Middlebury and workplace situations in the real world. I also enjoyed learning about the work of other students—there were so many presentations to choose from! Overall, it was a great learning experience and I can't wait to do it again.

What are you presenting at the Symposium this year?


I'll be presenting my thesis, which is about early twentieth-century American lyric poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Millay was one of the most popular poets of her time—she sold hundreds of thousands of books, even during the Great Depression!—but isn't often studied in literature classes today. I'm writing a cultural history because I'm interested in why Millay didn't make it into the canon. I've pinpointed many factors, including her complex relationship to Modernism, attacks by New Critics such as John Crowe Ransom, her decision to write propaganda in the lead up to and during World War II, and the way that she became defined by her celebrity.

Why do you think other students should present at the Symposium?

The Symposium is a great opportunity to present your research as an undergraduate student. The more you talk about a project you're working on, the more insights you can come to about the material. Plus, for me at least, I often don't know what my friends are doing academically on a daily basis, so it's interesting and fun to see them talk about the subjects they are most passionate about.

To submit your own proposal visit the Undergraduate Research Office at go/sym

Spring student symposium April 17 showcases undergraduate research

On Friday, April 17, from 1-7 p.m., more than 100 Middlebury College students will showcase the results of their recent research efforts as part of the third annual Middlebury College Spring Student Symposium. The symposium will highlight student work through a mix of lectures, performances, posters, artwork and readings. The presentations will take place in the Great Hall and various classrooms of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). All events are free and open to the public.