with Madalyn Muncy:
Why did you apply to Mellon Scholars Program?
I applied to to the Mellon Scholars Program for a number of reasons.
I knew that it would greatly enhance my research skills, allow
me to meet other students with similar research interests, as well
as put me in a position where I could work one-on-one with faculty
members on my very own research projects. However, the main reason
I applied was the opportunity to discover my own research interests
and develop skills in new media that would be helpful to me in
either graduate school or in a future career.
What have you found most challenging about it?
Mellon is a very challenging program, particularly in the first
semester; however, what I continue to find most challenging is
the fact that I have other research papers and projects that I
have to pursue as part of my other classes. This past semester,
all I wanted to do was work on my Mellon project because I enjoyed
what I was researching so much. Not only is it difficult to balance
several major research projects (time management is essential!),
but because Mellon allows me so much "creative license" so
to speak, I usually would much rather throw all my energies into
the project I have the greatest interest in.
How do you think your experience in the program has contributed
to your experience at Hope College?
I definitely believe that the Mellon Program has opened a lot
of doors for me at Hope. Last summer, I was a part of the Summer
Fellows Program where I was paid to research and create a documentary
about the campus racial climate at Hope. This documentary allowed
me to make so many connections with others, and as I continue to
show it to audiences around the college, I am in awe of the discussions
and questions that my peers have raised over something that I worked
so hard on. In addition, I have made so many connections with professors
that I probably would never have met or got to know otherwise.
What are your most significant accomplishments as a Mellon Scholar
(i.e., projects, presentations, grants)?
Two specific instances stick out to me:
1. My May term summer grant project which I completed alongside
Profs. Cole and Green and fellow Mellon Scholar Tess Angell. This
project includes a website and 30-minute documentary entitled, "A
Hope for Reconciliation: Building a More Inclusive College Community." The
documentary has been viewed in classrooms, showcases, as well as
seminars for staff members.
2. My fall 2011 research project which I worked on with Professor
Dykstra. As part of her American Women Writers class, I wanted to
work on a biography type project involving archives. I actually got
to research a woman named Ruth Keppel, who nobody has ever done research
on before. Stepping into her world at the Holland Museum Archives
was the greatest research experience I have had.
What do you expect to do beyond your time at Hope College?
Right now that's an interesting question and one that I have been
pondering as a second-semester junior. Often graduate school for
a Master's in library science has enticed me, but now that I'm
spending a semester in Washington, DC I continue to come back to
law school as a possible option. Hopefully I figure it out quite
soon! Either way, I hope to put what I've learned in the Mellon
program to work, whether in graduate school or in a career.
What advice would you give to a student who is considering the program?
My ultimate advice would be stick with it. There were so many
times where I considered quitting and now that I'm in my junior
year, I am so glad I didn't. In addition, take advantage of your
professors. Stop by Prof. Pannapacker or Heath's office and sit
down with them. They are valuable resources that want you to succeed.
I remember Prof. Heath looking at my first research paper five
times before I turned it in. They really do care about how you're
doing and feeling, so don't be intimidated. I recommend this program
for those who are really willing to work hard and discover what
it means to do research and the kinds of interesting things you're
able to do within the humanities.