Loyola University Chicago

School of Education


Weekend of Excellence Undergraduate Symposium

Weekend of Excellence Undergraduate Symposium

On April 14-17, 2016, Loyola celebrated the achievements of its students at the 6th Annual Weekend of Excellence. The weekend’s events – which included research symposiums, award ceremonies, and a student musical—featured more than 1,000 students.  A key event during the university-wide Weekend of Excellence: Celebrating Transformative Education is the Undergraduate Research and Engagement Symposium, which gave undergraduates in all disciplines the opportunity to showcase their research and/or engagement projects. An awards reception followed the oral presentation and poster sessions. Kyle Jenkins and Johanna Doreson, both dual degree students, BSED Secondary Education and BA College of Arts and Sciences were awardees.  Congratulations to both!  Below is a brief synopsis of their research.

Kyle Jenkins, History and Secondary Education
Kyle’s project, “Foreign Americans: Immigrant Catholics in 19th Century Chicago” is an outgrowth of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, which seeks to connect people to original archival documents from St. Ignatius College. Kyle designed a unit of fifteen lesson plans based on the documents to be used in high school history classrooms. The unit traces the emergence and spread of European Catholic immigrants in nineteenth century Chicago, with the lessons centered around the guiding question “What does it mean to be an American?” This combination of engaging content with extensive practice in research methods makes this unit extremely useful for high school teachers looking to expand their student’s historical skill set.

Johanna Doreson, English and Secondary Education
Johanna’s research investigates a band of former slaves who called themselves the Sons of Africa and who coauthored a series of open letters to various statesmen throughout the late eighteenth century. Her study sought to answer the question: Who were the Sons of Africa and did their letter-writing campaign influence the abolition movement? She argued that by repackaging their ideas within the context of letters of thanks to prominent abolitionists, the Sons simultaneously enlisted Parliament’s aid and relayed their case to the broader British public. The Sons of Africa used these letters of gratitude to show that Africans were capable of participating in the slavery debate and to steer the direction of that debate by subtly attributing their own ideas to others.