Undergraduate Symposium in Modern Languages

All are invited to this event organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. Listen to students presenting their papers and personal narratives related to languages, cultures, heritage, social justice and gender roles, among other topics.


Welcome and Opening Remarks  9:20-9:25am
Chris Farnan, Dean, School of Liberal Arts     
Nathalie Degroult, Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Classics
Lisette Balabarca, Chair, Undergraduate Symposium in Modern Languages and Classics

Panel 1: Language and identity 9:30 am-10:15 am
Moderator: Dr. Janet Shideler

  1. Sofia Bock, “Mi identidad as a عربية امرأة in America” ,    
  2. Alexa Quispe, “The importance of bilingualism”   
  3. Ifrah Mohammed,“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: why France has failed to live up to its motto”  

Panel 2: Heritage, Culture and Linguistics 10:20-11:05 am
Moderator: Dr. Marcela Garcés

  1. Caroline Garett, “Discovering My French Ancestry and Heritage”
  2. Hailey Cowles, “A Deeper Look at the Siena College Research Institute– Exploring Spanish-Speaking Culture Through the Lens of Data Collection and Surveys”   
  3. Jaime Cochran,“The Subjunctive - An Examination of the Spanish Language’s Articulation of Uncertainty” 

Panel 3: Gender Roles, Social Justice and Healthcare Systems 11:15 am - 12 pm
Moderator: Dr. Carolyn Malloy

  1. Sophie Eisenbach, “United States of America vs France Healthcare Systems” 
  2. Hannah LaPointe, “Latin American women writers: social justice in action”
  3. Kylie Fodge, “Cooking Lessons Not Attended: Women Writers and the Rejection of Traditional Feminine Roles in Latin America” 

Lunch for Presenters and MLC Faculty, 12:15-1:15 pm


Fifth Annual Undergraduate Symposium in Modern Languages and Classics
Siena College 
Friday, April 8, 2022

The Fifth Annual Undergraduate Symposium in Modern Languages and Classics fosters and promotes the intellectual development of Siena College students and provides them an opportunity to exchange ideas in a collegial environment. 

Preparing and presenting research in a public forum will enhance a résumé and help develop professional skills that will be valuable for any future career.

This conference offers students a space to present their scholarly research related to Classics, and/or French, Italian, Spanish and other languages in English.

The Modern Languages and Classics faculty invite students to prepare a 10-12-minute (3-4 pages) research paper, or language/culture-related personal narrative that addresses a diverse public, including peer students, faculty, and members of the community.

Papers will be delivered in English and should cover topics related to Classics and/or Modern Languages Studies, including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Arts & Culture: Literature, Film, Theater, Music, Visual Arts, Art History, etc.
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Siena College programs and certificates in:
  • International Studies
  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Multicultural Studies
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Film Studies 
  • Language/Culture and Your Personal Narrative

Please submit a 250-word abstract, in English, to Dr. Nathalie Degroult  by February 21, 2022.
The program committee will notify accepted applicants by March 1, 2022. 

For more information and updates, please contact Dr. Lisette Balabarca.

  • Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words.
  • They should be written in English (check abstract samples below).

Abstracts should include:

  • Title of paper
  • Statement of the thesis or of your personal narrative.

“Ancient and Contemporary Heroics”
Anna Vescio

The concept of heroism is present throughout the historical record, starting at the head of the western literary tradition with Homer’s epics and stretching across time and continents into contemporary literature. This paper aims to examine the qualities of a hero in both ancient and contemporary contexts by comparing Achilles as he appears in the Illiad and one of the most universal modern heroes—Harry Potter. Even though the situations in which these two figures prove to be heroic differ immensely their heroisms share remarkable commonalities, most interestingly the idea of self-sacrifice.

“Symbolism in Propagandistic Posters– A Visual Analysis of the Propaganda Used by the Franco and Hitler Regimes”
Patricia Erickson

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Second World War (1939-1945) were defining years in the histories of Spain and Germany, respectively. Both regimes, that of Francisco Franco in Spain and Adolf Hitler in Germany, made use of propaganda to influence and shape the beliefs of the people in their countries. This study analyzes the various symbols that can be found in the posters, focusing specifically on the significance of their incorporation, as well as the manner in which they were incorporated. The posters of the two regimes will then be compared to one another, noting the similarities and differences.

“Secular by trade; Catholic by culture”
Allye McDaniel

What is it to be a secular nation? Most commonly, it is a nation that has no religious affiliation within the culture; politically, socially, governmentally or in any such way. But what happens when a religion is already intrinsic in a culture, this is the case with the country of France. When looking at the French society, it is difficult to remove the catholic base that resides within. Historically, Catholicism has held prevalence within the nation, dating back to the beginnings of the French state. Then how, one may ask, can France be considered secular? Through numerous cultural, political and societal institutions, it is clear that Catholicism not only reigns supreme in France, but affects the “secular” nature of its country in regards to other religious groups, and even social group.


Q: What’s a symposium?
A: A symposium is simply a conference or meeting where people gather to discuss a particular subject. The faculty committee will organize the presentations into panels that share a similar theme or approach.

Q: How long can my presentation be?
A: Your presentation should be 10-12 minutes long (3-4 pages). There will be a Q&A period afterwards during which you can answer questions from the audience.

Q: Can I use a PowerPoint presentation, show images, or movie clips during my presentation?
A: Yes.

Q: How should I deliver my presentation?
A: One common practice in the humanities is for presenters to read their papers while still engaging their audience by making eye contact, referring to images, etc.. Be sure to practice your presentation by reading it out loud and be sure it doesn’t exceed 12 minutes.

Q: Who can submit an abstract and participate in the Modern Languages & Classics Symposium?
A: As long as their papers are related to the topics mentioned above, the symposium is open to any student at Siena College who might be interested in going to graduate or professional school.

Q: Do I need to have my paper written by the time I submit my abstract?
A: No, just an abstract (250 words). 

Q: Is there any fee for participating in the Modern Languages & Classics Symposium?
A: No.

Q: Can I submit my paper as part of a preformed panel consisting of three or four other papers?
A: Yes.