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Mount Union Students Research Gender and Literature for Sit Lux Summer Program

August 05, 2022

By: Emily Shar '24

NOTE: This is the second of three stories highlighting the work done by student researchers in the Sit Lux summer program.

ALLIANCE, OH — Back for its second year, the Sit Lux Initiative for Interdisciplinary Innovation Projects (Sit Lux) at the University of Mount Union funded three diverse and impactful interdisciplinary research projects, allowing students the opportunity to work with professors on a unique topic of interested during the summer.

The projects stemmed from, “a community need, a novel curriculum, or a wicked problem.” Each group collaborated with a community partner on their projects. One of the three topics chosen was, “How does literature (along with other forms of media) inform our understanding, use, and empathy towards the use of preferred pronouns?”

The group behind the project consisted of Eleni Ault, rising senior English major; Annabelle Saultz, rising senior psychology and English double major; and Lexi Smith, rising senior English and Spanish double major.

From L to R: Eleni Ault, Annabelle Saultz, Lexi Smith, and Carla Sarratt (Director of Library Services at the University of Mount Union)

From L to R: Eleni Ault, Annabelle Saultz, Lexi Smith, and Carla Sarratt (Director of Library Services at University of Mount Union)

For the project, the students worked with two community libraries in Stark County and the University library to distribute a survey about library content checked out to the patrons of each. The group also had the chance to interview the librarians on the inner workings of the libraries. Additionally, they also read books, watched films and listened to podcasts to compile a catalogue of gender diverse media.

“Most of our group members plan to attend grad school at some point in their future, and having this type of research to add to a resume is invaluable,” said Smith. “Throughout the process, the Deans were always giving us encouragement and support, and believed in us on days when we needed it most.”

The project was facilitated by Dr. Andrew Price, professor of English at Mount Union, and Dr. Tamara Daily, the Lewis Miller Professor of Psychology at Mount Union.

“Our professors were invested in the project and were determined to see us succeed,” Smith said. “This overwhelming amount of support is always present but was especially evident during this project.”

Some members of the group plan to continue their research into the upcoming academic year, as their initial findings were inconclusive.