Embodied Memory and Identity in Jewish Women’s Graphic Narratives

Ren Rader (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Vicki Aarons

Our research will contribute to a book-length study of Jewish women graphic novelists and the ways in which identity is complicated by memory, generation, and place, that is, the spaces—emotional, geographical, psychological—that women inhabit. This interdisciplinary project explores the relation of art and self-reinvention through interactive modes of artistic expression. Our project explores the ways in which Jewish women’s graphic narratives establish a visual testimony to memory. Memory is the controlling trope in contemporary Jewish women’s graphic narratives. We will explore the way in which the formal conventions of comics narratives perform memory and create the scaffolding for embodied spaces and memory-scapes. Through the interweaving of text and image, these graphic artists juxtapose time and space, making fluid the borders between past, present, and future, with time linking generations. The past intrudes on the present, pulling the artist back into memory, imagined and real. Stories become texts of continuity, temporal and spatial modes of symbolic reference. Contemporary Jewish women’s graphic narratives—both fiction and memoir—choreograph spatial and temporal borders to express the changing shape of identity. Drawing oneself into the book becomes an insistence on and insertion of self in an otherwise destabilizing world. Through different artistic processes, a distinctly “Jewish” memory emerges in all its compelling forms: imagined, collective, historical, proximate, and personal.

Watch Ren’s Symposium presentation!

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Mexican Immigration to San Antonio, 1910-1930

Robert Stone Curl (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Emilio de Antuñano Villarreal

One million Mexicans—one tenth of Mexico’s population—migrated to the United States between 1910 and 1930. The majority came to Texas, and specifically to San Antonio, a city that by 1920 had the largest Mexican population in the United States. At the intersection of transnational, urban, and migration history, our project will ask how this movement of Mexicans changed city life between 1910 and 1930. Historians have interrogated Texas as a crucible from which the “Mexican American” category was formed, paying close attention to the racialization of this community and its relationship with other ethnic and immigrant groups. Our proposed research departs from this history of ethnic community formation, instead reading the city as a transnational space shaped by people and ideas from both sides of the border. To conduct this research, we will look at historical newspapers and archival sources that illuminate San Antonio’s built environment, its Spanish-speaking public sphere, and its relationship with Mexico during the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath. Drawing from this research, Dr. de Antuñano and I will compile an annotated bibliography and identify a set of sources, the first steps to writing an article on this topic. 

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Marriage: A History

Madeleine West (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Anene Ejikeme

My Summer Undergraduate Research Project will examine patterns of marriage in the former Soviet Union and Poland between circa 1950 and circa 2010. By focusing on these two closely-allied countries I will be able to compare and contrast developments with regard to marriage in the USSR/Russia and Poland. These two countries underwent significant social, religious, and political upheavals between 1950 and 2010 and it will be interesting to see how marriage was affected. Although both countries are Christian, Poles are overwhelmingly Catholic while the Russian Orthodox Church is dominant in Russia. During the Soviet period, religion was officially suppressed by the state; however, the Christian faith remained important in the lives of citizens in both countries. Since the fall of Soviet rule, beginning in 1989, religious officials appear to have more power. It will be fascinating to see in what ways the return to prominence of the religious hierarchy affected marriage patterns in the period 1989-2010. My research of this subject will contribute to a larger, long term research project that Dr. Ejikeme is conducting that explores the histories of marriage cross-culturally.

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Sophia Patterson (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Anene Ejikeme

This summer project will study the history of marriage in Francophone Africa with a particular focus on Senegal and Morocco in the 18th and 19thcenturies. As one of the fundamental aspects of social structure, marriage plays an important role in shaping gender roles and other relational identities including, for example, kinship dynamics This project will also address the influences of French imperialism and settler colonialism on existing forms of marriage and the interactions between French and African forms of marriage. This is part of a larger research project on the history of marriage cross-culturally which will focus on locating and uncovering forms of marriage earlier eras that do not conform to contemporary notions of “traditional marriage.”

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ADHD in Focus: Building Community Through Online Visual Storytelling

Phoebe Murphy (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Aaron Delwiche

My focus for this project is mental illness—ADHD in particular, which is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. Fictional characters with this often-stigmatized disorder are few and far between and completely absent in the world of webcomics. As their name suggests, webcomics are comics that are published online or in an app. Because they often use comment sections or message boards and are updated regularly by the creator, they are uniquely situated in their ability to cultivate an ongoing discussion. As such, many webcomics have succeeded in bringing together niche, frequently underrepresented groups of people, such as women, the LGBTQ community, those struggling with mental illness, and even people with cancer. Fictional stories can sometimes be the best way to turn the public eye towards the issues certain people face. Drawing on my own experiences, the experiences of others with ADHD, and outside research, this project will consist of a narrative webcomic featuring a protagonist with ADHD. It will also be accompanied by nonfiction resources for both people with the disorder—a guide to managing one’s symptoms, for example—and those wanting to learn more about it—such as an ADHD fact sheet.

Read Phoebe’s webcomic Rapid Oxidation!
Read more about Phoebe’s project!

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Hero Among Heroes: The Story of Rāma in Hemacandra’s Trisaṣ ṭiśalākāpuru acaritra

Dana Hatab (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Gregory Clines

Vālmīki’s Rāmāyana is a Hindu epic narrating the tales of prince Rāmā, an avatar of the God V ̣ ishnu, as he defeats a demon threatening worldly order.Jain authors have rewritten the Rāmāyana story numerous times, and one version, found in Hemacandra’ ̣ s Trisaṣ ṭiśalākāpurus ̣ acaritra ('The Lives of the ̣Sixty-Three Illustrious Men'), lists Rāmā as a profound figure in Jain universal history. While Hemacandra is recognized as a significant contributor toJain literature and philosophy, little work has been done specifically on the Trisaṣ ṭiśalākāpurus ̣ acaritra. Thus, our research will primarily serve to analyze ̣the narrative of Rāmā from the Trisaṣ ṭiśalākāpurus ̣ acaritra with an emphasis on how the story defines morality and is used as a means of developing ̣virtuous Jain persons. In seeking to understand the widely influential nature of the Rāmāyana, particularly in how it has manifested in Jain literature in ̣regards to differing perceptions of morality, our research will culminate in a bibliography on Hemacandra, a bibliography on the genre, as well as an academic article. 

Watch Dana's Symposium presentation!

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Medieval Hermits and Their Books

Kennice Leisk (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Andrew Kraebel

Our project aims to recover the important role played by hermits in the making and transmitting of religious literature in the later Middle Ages. Considered some of the holiest people in medieval Christian society, hermits (from the Latin “heremus” or “wilderness”) lived apart from other men and women, often in the woods or other out-of-the-way places. Because of this solitary existence, hermits were typically not in a position to teach or preach, but by writing texts they could still convey their authoritative views on the world, on religious practice, contemplation, and the failures of their contemporary society. My work for this project will involve hunting for references to book-making and book-circulating hermits in primary sources, specifically within a tradition of medieval Latin texts called “vitae” (or “lives” of saints), focusing on the vitae of hermit-saints from England. My findings will be compiled in an annotated bibliography that highlights any mention of (1) physical books used or made by the hermits and (2) hermits’ connecting with one another, whether in writing or more directly. From there, I will produce an essay on my findings to be presented at the end-of-summer research fair.

Watch Kennice's Symposium presentation!

Claire Siewert (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Andrew Kraebel

Our project on medieval hermits builds directly on my interests in the literary culture of the Middle Ages, and especially the processes involved in making and using manuscripts. By reading “vitae” of hermit-saints from Continental Europe, and comparing them to my research partner’s findings on Insular materials, I will work to identify some larger trends in book production and circulation, including how frequently hermits worked as their own scribes, how common it was for them to employ a scribe, how and under what conditions their books were circulated or shared with other hermits, what kinds of libraries hermits created for themselves, and how the physical act of making a book might have fit into the life of a medieval hermit-saint. My interest in the Middle Ages is interdisciplinary, growing outwards from my English major, and I am eager to see how literary hermit-saints fit into larger narratives of medieval history, art, and culture. In the short term, I expect this project to be immensely valuable for my senior thesis, which (under Dr. Kraebel’s supervision) will focus on manuscripts of medieval religious texts. Regardless of whether my thesis draws directly on Latin saints’ lives, reading them for this project will help me develop the skills necessary for further, higher-level study of a wider range of medieval texts. In the long term, I plan to apply to graduate school to study medieval literature, and I am deeply passionate about education and the value of research in the humanities. I want to share my love of medieval literature with others, while developing my own understanding through research. This project is thus a crucial part of my larger desire to more fully recover the intellectual and material culture of the medieval period, in all of its detail and richness.

Watch Claire's Symposium presentation!

Ancient Near Eastern Seals in the San Antonio Museum of Art

Kayla Griscom (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Mark Garrison

This project will seek to complete a long-standing initiative to study and publish the ancient Near Eastern seals in the San Antonio Museum of Art’s collection. The collection consists of thirty-four cylinder seals and twelve stamp seals, dating from the Halaf period (c. 5500-5000 BC) to the Achaemenid Persia period (521-330 BC). The seals that currently reside in the San Antonio Museum of Art are all unprovenanced; thus, their exact archaeological context is unknown. In order to date the seals and provide some commentary on the significance of the figural imagery, our project will analyze the style, composition, and iconography of each seal and, through a comparative analysis of other seals published in museum catalogues and archaeological reports, attempt to identify the cultural contexts in which each seal originally existed.

View Kayla’s poster.

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Evoking Transcendence in the Seventeenth-Century Roman Motet

Pia Rodriguez (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Kimberlyn Montford

This project will examine the motet, an important form of polyphonic music, and its role in portraying self-representation of the Roman Catholic Church. The questions raised of Catholic identity after the Reformation caused musicians to place increased importance on the listener’s experience. Through analysis of archival scores, transcribed into modern musical notation, this research seeks to articulate the central role of compositional and stylistic techniques in evoking a state of transcendence within the listener. Though lacking comprehensive study, the liturgical motet was an essential means of communicating the liturgy and message of the Roman Catholic Church to the laity and reaffirming Catholic identity for all its followers. Thus, the motet is not only a means of cultivating proper doctrinal attitudes towards spirituality, but an invaluable expression of Catholic identity and dogma in a post-Reformation world.

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The Ancient House: Constructing Community in the Seventeenth Century New York Borderlands

Maeve Armand (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Erin Kramer

During the first decades of colonization, the town of Albany was of the utmost importance because the Dutch and Iroquois alliance, or kaswentha, as the Iroquois nations would refer to it, led to the building of a strong trade partnership as well as the building of the town itself. In 1664, the English inherited this relationship that the Dutch had with the Iroquois, but Dutch people in New York would remain in their powerful positions as translators and negotiators. This relationship between the English and the Iroquois was built entirely on the kaswentha framework. In this project, we will gather information about every diplomatic meeting of the Dutch and Haudenosaunee nations in seventeenth-century Albany, using the documents of these councils in order to build a spreadsheet of the topic of the meetings, participants, and locations. We will then analyze this data to better understand how kaswentha and its relationships developed over time as part of a larger book project about the colonial history of Albany.

Read more about Maeve’s project!

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Kermit Oliver: Texas, Paris, America

Avery McKay (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Yinshi Lerman-Tan

Kermit Oliver is an American contemporary artist based in Waco, Texas. His large oeuvre consists of highly symbolic figurative paintings. Additionally, he produced sixteen silk scarf designs for the French fashion house, Hermès—the only American artist ever to do so. In our monographic survey of Oliver’s life and work, we pay special attention to his Large Study for a Small Cabinet Painting (1988), in the permanent collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art—exploring Oliver’s dialogue with nineteenth-century American trompe l’oeil painting. We will produce a curatorial strategy for the painting and a new gallery label. In addition, our research will also delve into Oliver’s designs for Hermès. We will consider how Oliver’s Americana and Southwestern designs tap into the relation between fashion and art, painting and commodity, a European appetite for American iconography, and the representation of Native American culture in American and global contexts. Our discussions will also consider Oliver’s status as a Texas-based artist of color and his work in Waco as a postman. 

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The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera

Sarah Pita (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Kathryn Santos

Our research will contribute to a companion website for The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, an open-access anthology of eight previously unpublished plays that use Shakespeare’s works to engage with issues of race, language, and coloniality in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. This website will create deeper context for the anthology and will provide access to multimedia resources that will enhance the contents of the printed volume. Our work will take two forms. The first is an annotated bibliography of scholarship on borderlands Shakespeare and borderlands studies more broadly. The second is an interactive annotated map that will serve as an archive and geographically specific timeline of engagements and with Shakespeare in the region. Each map entry will include a carefully researched and clearly written note about a particular performance, work of art, event, or other relevant Shakespearean “happening” in or about the borderlands. Because the map will be digital, we will include links to reviews and other media. The goal is to document and visualize the long and growing tradition of using Shakespeare to grapple with the cultural, linguistic, racial, and political issues that continue to shape this region and its inhabitants. 

Kaylee Avila (Trinity ‘21) and Dr. Kathryn Santos

Our research will contribute to an anthology entitled The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, which Dr.Santos is co-editing with Drs. Katherine Gillen and Adrianna Santos at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The anthology, which will be published as an open-access book by ACMRS Press at Arizona State University, will include eight previously unpublished plays that re-envision Shakespeare in the context of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, engaging with the hybrid cultures, politics, and languages of la frontera and interrogating Shakespeare’s place within it. The final published work will make otherwise inaccessible adaptations, appropriations, and translations available to teachers, scholars, and performers, thereby enabling culturally and regionally relevant teaching, performance, and research. During the summer fellowship period, we will work to prepare three bilingual plays for publication: The Tragic Corrido of Romeo and Lupe by Seres Jaime Magaña, El Henry by Herbert Sigüenza, and Marqués: A Narco Macbeth by Stephen Richter and Mónica Andrade. We will edit the play texts, generate annotations, create a glossary with translations, research their performance history, and develop resources for teaching and performing these plays.

Read more about this project!

From Goddess to Nezha: Chinese Cinemas in Transnational Contexts

Sarah Moorman (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Jie Zhang

Scholarship on Chinese cinema often focuses on the differences in cinema between mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the diasporic film community. However, as the world becomes more interconnected, the importance of studying film in a transnational lens is ever growing. To achieve this transnational study, it is vital to look into the international reception and reviews of Chinese films, and the broader role Chinese films and filmmakers have had in the international film industry. We will be specifically looking into ten films from varying backgrounds and time periods from the 1930s to the 2020s. Through these case studies, we can analyze Chinese cinema cross-culturally and develop possible cultural, historical, or societal explanations for our findings and ultimately expand the scope of Chinese cinematic academia. This research will contribute to the book Dr. Zhang is developing, and also will provide Sarah with opportunities to contextualize the dynamic processes of cultural exchanges to further her training in international studies. 

Sarah Moorman headshot

Classical Receptions in Supernatural Horror: Ancient Mediterranean Cultures and (Forbidden-)Knowledge Fiction

Meg McDonald (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Benjamin Stevens

This project examines how material from ancient Mediterranean cultures appears in supernatural horror. Fictional struggles with forces of ancient evil often symbolize real conflict over knowledge of the past and ways of knowing. It is an open question, however, whether horror receptions of classical (Greek, Roman, related) materials form a special set with particular meanings. Also, although scholars have paid more systematic attention to speculative fiction including science fiction and fantasy, there is as yet little research on receptions in horror. Such scholarship as exists suggests some potential theorizations but leaves largely untouched *modern* horror, from roughly the mid-19th century on. Since supernatural horror develops images of ‘antiquity’ to depict, symbolically or allegorically, power-struggles among competing systems of knowledge in the present, examining the genre’s classical receptions will enrich our understanding of how speculative fiction, perhaps the single most prominent transmedia phenomenon in international popular culture, shapes present imaginations of the past, including ‘the ancient world.’ To work in that direction, this project begins the first systematic survey of materials relevant to the field, while within that, I will develop a research project on my own topic, for example, the metaphysical similarities between spirits in Homer and supernatural horror.

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Strengthening the Colors of Pride Interview Study

Allison Powell (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Amy Stone

Strengthening Colors of Pride is a community-based research project that started in 2017 under the co-leadership of Dr. Amy Stone and Robert Salcido, Jr, Executive Director of the Pride Center San Antonio. The focus of the project has been the collection of data about LGBTQ+ resilience in South Texas with an emphasis on San Antonio. In 2018, the research team collected 82 interviews with LGBTQ+ in San Antonio, and in 2019 the team collected over 2000 surveys from LGBTQ+ South Texans. The project is currently engaging in public dissemination of findings from the interviews and surveys, launching a mental health program at the Pride Center, and conducting a longitudinal study of LGBTQ+ youth in South Texas and their family support systems.

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Belonging in Translation: Muslim Leadership and Interfaith Education in North America

Aliya Sayani (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Sajida Jalalzai

Dr. Jalalzai and I will be working on her first book project, tentatively entitled Belonging in Translation. The book will focus on the first accredited Islamic chaplaincy programs in the United States and Canada with a focus on the complexities of aspiring Muslim leaders being educated in a Christian theological school. By understanding the intersections of these diverse players and overlapping goals, we hope to gain a better understanding of the unique ”Western” form of Islamic authority that is created: the Muslim chaplain. For this project, I will conduct both qualitative and quantitative research on Chaplaincy Programs. Changes in these programs since the last “check-in” in summer of 2019 alongside insight from program graduates will be monitored and researched through various means. These include but are not limited to news articles, relevant books, and virtual conversations. Additionally, I will provide feedback on Dr. Jalalzai’s completed chapters in light of the research that is conducted.

Watch Aliya’s Symposium Presentation!

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Power, Truth and Distrust: The Discursive Formation of Media Discourse over the Paraxylene (PX) Scare in Kunming

Runyu Li (Trinity ‘23) and Dr. Zhaoxi Liu 

In 2013, multiple anti-PX (paraxylene) protests broke in the Chinese city of Kunming against the construction of an oil refinery. The protestors were mostly concerned about the paraxylene that they believed the refinery would produce. The protests shook the city and generated enormous media attention, both in traditional media and social media. Guided by Foucault's theory on discourse and discursive formation, this study will analyze 288 local newspaper articles and 110 social media postings to explore the discursive formation that emerges from these dispersed, but interrelated discourses. Discourses are social actions involving power, knowledge, and truth. The study therefore examines various social forces, relations, and conditions that shape the discursive formation.

Read more about Runyu’s project!

Turkey’s Foreign Policy and the Syrian Refugees

Maria Zaharatos (Trinity ‘22) and Dr. Sussan Siavoshi

In the last decade, Turkey has hosted and warmly welcomed one of the world’s largest refugee populations, Syrians fleeing the raging war in their home country. However, Turkish policy has changed in recent years to one less accommodating to their Syrian refugee population: the country has threatened to push Syrians out towards Western Europe. This dramatic shift in policy is not easily understood nor explained, with so many political, social, and economic factors determining the approach states’ take in receiving refugees and asylum seekers. How did Turkey’s foreign and domestic policy impact this refugee policy shift? Considering the gravity of the Syrian crisis and the often cited “migration problem” relating to Europe, such a study of Turkey’s political role is essential to further present understandings of international dynamics in the region. This research aims to gain insight on the motivations and foreign policy goals (and possible domestic factors) that shape Turkey’s current refugee policies, and more specifically analyze the nexus of refugee and foreign policy of Turkey.

More than a Beer: A Walking Virtual Exhibit of Adolphus Busch's Career

Gabriel Odom (Trinity ‘21) and Dr.Todd Barnett

Although Adolphus Busch co-founded a brewery that would become the largest in the United States, reducing Busch to his brewery is a disservice to the public and the historical community. Busch’s business career was vast in scope, and is sorely understudied in the historical field. Studying his career will allow historians to better understand not only the business climate of St. Louis, but national and international business networks through the complex network of Busch’s ethnically German friends and family who helped him run an interconnected empire of businesses as diverse as hotels, mines, railroads, utility companies, engine manufacturers, and of course, breweries.. Using primary sources, we hope to shed light on the complexities of Busch’s career as he navigated through turbulent events such as the rise of nativism, the Civil War, and the Prohibition movement, and how he affected not just St. Louis, but the entire United States through his companies’ innovations in marketing, scientific research, and vertical integration. We will create a travelling poster exhibit that incorporates groundbreaking research on Adolphus Busch’s life, career, and the connections between his brewery and his other business ventures, as well as a website that provides an audio tour and archival materials like documents and artifacts, and subject-specific written entries providing historical context for people, events, and ideas mentioned in the exhibit. 

2021 Mellon Institute

The Trinity University Women’s Athletic Oral History Project: Missing Records and Perspectives

Zoe Grout (Trinity ‘22), Samantha Henry (Trinity ‘23), Ardi Saunders (Trinity ‘22), Hope Walker-Tamboli (Trinity ‘23) and Abra Schnur, Dr. Lauren Turek, and Dr. Carey Latimore

In 2015, alumni Peggy Kokernot Kaplan (class of 1975) was thinking about her time at Trinity University. Encouraged by then physical education instructor Shirley Rushing Poteet, Kokernot Kaplan had founded the first-ever women’s track team. After viewing the Trinity athletic website, she was unable to find any references to track and field records prior to the 1990s. Email contact with Trinity’s athletic department revealed the university did not have team performance records dating back to the 1970s. Determined to pursue the search, Peggy enlisted the aid of Poteet, whose service to Trinity dated back to 1960. In turn, they sought the assistance of Dr. Doug Brackenridge. From this inquiry a project evolved: to trace the 150 years of Trinity women's efforts to be an equal partner in intercollegiate athletics. Poteet, Brackenridge, and Pasley worked with archival staff to uncover and begin chronicling this story. However, they realized something more was needed: the perspectives of Trinity women athletes. As such, they launched The Trinity University Women’s Athletics Oral History Project to gain insight into those experiences and perspectives from the defining years of women’s athletics. Focusing on the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the project has been able to document incredible insights into the formation of the program under Title IX, the value and benefits of Division III athletics, and the lasting impact coaches and administrators have made on these athletes, none of which was evident in the historical documentation of Trinity. From the committee’s work over the past four years, a manuscript is being developed to capture the 150-year story in book form. In support of the history project and the forthcoming book publication, the Mellon Institute project team will design, develop, and publish a digital archive and exhibit space that will illuminate a collective history of Trinity women athletes. The project team will lay the groundwork for the continuation of the oral history project by researching modern challenges and progress within women’s athletic programs across the county. They will work to identify additional Trinity women athletes to interview. There are several perspectives the current oral history project has yet to explore that this project will delve into. These include women athletes who are BIPOC, part of the LGBTQIA community, and recent graduates (2000-2015). The interdisciplinary structure of this project enables students from diverse backgrounds to work together. Students who are involved in athletics, history, english, classics, biology, and women and gender studies will learn from each other as they conduct archival research and oral histories, build the digital archive, and develop a public-facing digital exhibit. Once the digital space is published, the site will serve as a sustainable platform to host additional research findings and archive documentation as it is generated, as well as make this research and documentation available to the Trinity community and public at large. Developing a digital archive will allow for the promotion, discoverability, and access to the archival materials. The digital archive will have the ability to feature digital exhibits; curated content from the archival collections that will enhance digital scholarship.