Food for Thought
In an American food culture dominated by such figures as Rachael Ray and Gordon Ramsay, and cultivated by the popularity of culinary reality TV, it was only a matter of time before a student decided to research the phenomenon for Senior Scholars Day, a Susquehanna tradition dating back more than 30 years. That student was Madeline Shores '09, who, on April 21, presented her senior research project, “Literary Culture Takes a Seat at the Dinner Table.”
Degenstein Campus Center and the Cunningham Center for Music and Art were a buzz with activity as students presented their research and senior projects on subjects as diverse as biology and music, chemistry and literature. The all-day affair included oral presentations in the campus center, student music recitals in Stretansky Concert Hall, and displays of student graphic design work in the Cunningham Center for Music and Art.
Senior Scholars Day offers seniors the opportunity to showcase their scholarly and creative projects. It also is an opportunity for faculty research advisers to applaud student work and take pride in the academic guidance they have given the students during their time at SU.
The experience of presenting work at Senior Scholars Day is unique among most students’ scholarly endeavors at SU. “This project allowed me to explore my own interests and write about them creatively and academically in a way I would not have been able to in a classroom setting,” says Shores. “Presenting my work at Senior Scholars Day gave me confidence to discuss my atypical research and helped me develop my critical opinions.”
Shores’ research, though distinct from many of the other projects on display at Senior Scholars Day, was highly relevant. Supervised by Laurence Roth, professor of English and coordinator of the Jewish Studies program, Shores studied the influence of literary culture on the recent explosive popularity of the culinary arts in U.S. culture. “My research, unlike many of the other posters I presented alongside at Senior Scholars Day, was a consideration of a particular literary culture and its social significance, rather than a scientific experiment,” she says. “By examining trends in literary food writing over the past 10 years, and in the context of its historical development, I determined that literary culture is a major contributor and driving force behind the contemporary popularity of the culinary arts.”
Shores’ research was one of about 100 projects presented at Senior Scholars Day, testifying to Susquehanna’s commitment to academic excellence and student-faculty collaboration. The event is a celebration of this commitment not only for seniors and faculty advisers, but for the campus community as a whole.
Contributing writers to The ‘Grove are Robert Edward Healy III, Victoria Kidd and Billie Tadros '10.