Conference Update: Emily LaPointe and Genevieve Messak Aldi

Two of our own grad students branched out from campus this fall and presented papers at conferences in the Northeast. Second year lit concentrated student Emily Lapointe travelled to Fordham University in Manhattan this October to present her paper The Revolution in Retrospect: Problematizing Binaries, Hierarchies, and Violent Methods of Change in Susan Choi’s American Woman” at The Art of Outrage: Poetics. Politics. Polarization Interdisciplinary Conference. This was her second conference, so she’s getting to be a professional at these, what worried her most was navigating New York City. “I took the train down at 5AM and then walked the 25 blocks from Penn Station to the Fordham Campus-and this was my first time in NYC!” Aside from getting from one place to another, the major stressor was preparedness. “I had to read the papers of the other two panelists, to come up with a couple of questions to ask each of them and then think of ways that all of our papers connected. It was a good amount of extra work but it really helped to know what my fellow panelists were arguing before our session as it game me time to think of questions and connections well in advance rather than on the fly.”

This being her second conference, Emily thinks it’s an important part of the grad school process to submit to conferences in the hopes of getting your work seen by your peers and perhaps soon to be colleagues. She’d encourage anyone to submit abstracts for conferences that are coming up this winter and spring. “Not

Emily Lapointe

only to conferences help you to see what other people in your areas of interest are working on, but it also forces you to practice speaking in front of others in a professional setting. Conference experience will only help you in terms of your CV/resume and in terms of practice. If you’re writing a paper or even have a good idea, write up an abstract for it. Not only will it help you practice for submitting to conferences, but it will help you to pare down the elements of your argument. Don’t be shy to ask a professor to look at an abstract either!” What’s Emily’s next big move after all of her conference work? “My next goal is to try and publish one of my papers, which I think would also be another great addition to experience and my resume materials!”

Attending her first conference on November 4th was Genevieve Messak Aldi. She presented her paper “Problematics of Traditional Gender Identity: Theories of Butler and Halberstam Applied to Contemporary Drama” at the Mid-Atlantic Popular American Culture Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA. She attended the panel “Engendering Complications.” Though she was nervous at first, she used her acting training to cover up any jitters she had to start, and found the conference environment itself to be very comfortable. “They had set the room up so that it looked almost like a classroom. It sort of reminded me of presenting papers to my classes here at school,” she said, “So props to St. Rose for making class like a conference!” Not worrying about the geography of her conference area, Genevieve focused her preparation on refreshing her memory about her arguments and staying within her time limit. “I reread my paper so many times, and checked back on my sources just to get into the mindset of my argument again. I also put important points down on note cards. The coordinators said that we were going to be kept to a strict twenty minute time limit so I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up getting cut off!”

Like Emily, Genevieve thinks that it’s a really important thing to do for graduate students. “The exchange of ideas that goes on a conference is really amazing. I’d recommend that anyone submits a paper who wants to. Just pick a paper or thought you love and go for it!” She loved the whole event so much she even wished she could have stayed longer. “I was only able to stay for the day I was presenting,” the just-married Genevieve says, “But if I could have I would have stayed for the whole thing!”

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