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Research

Independent research experiences are a vital complement to the course work for English majors. The English Department is fortunate to have internal funding sources such as the Lilly Fund to provide support for student projects. Named in honor of beloved English Professor Henry T. Lilly, who taught a wide variety of classes in British literature at Davidson over a 40-year career, the Lilly Fund provides support for the following types of work and experiences.

  • Independent and class-based student research projects which require travel or have considerable associated costs
  • Class trips to plays, conferences, and other relevant events, and visitors to classes on campus
  • Study abroad grants (need and merit-based) for majors participating in the Davidson College Cambridge Program

In 2016-17, the Lilly Fund helped support the following student projects.

  • Honors student Katie Gomulkiewicz '16 researched and wrote about the relationship between Broughton Mental Hospital and Broughton, the hospital's home town, for her reported creative nonfiction seminar (ENG 401) with Prof. Cynthia Lewis. The Lilly Fund covered travel costs to visit Broughton to interview hospital employees and townspeople, and through that process Katie learned much about the hospital's fascinating history and quirks.
  • Honors student Hwi Eun Hur '16 worked as a research assistant for a longitudinal study of the college's second-language writers from China with Prof. Shireen Campbell and two other colleagues. With support from the Lilly Fund and travel funding through the Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, she was able to attend the annual Association of Applied Linguistics conference in Portland, Oregon and present this research at a poster session.
  • Honors student Stephanie Momot '16 spent the year researching linguistic aspects of text exchanges between female best friends on Davidson's campus for her thesis. The Lilly Fund provided money to offer her participants gift cards for their participation.

In addition, several majors went to Berlin as part of a Davidson College-sponsored spring break program with Prof. Scott Denham (German) and Prof. Ann Fox (English), along with other students and faculty. Following are some takeaways from that experience.

  • Emma Cardwell '17 researched the role of the mother during the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a role whose specifications echo the pressures placed on women in Nazi Germany, as they served their country from the home up, supporting their husbands and children as part of the larger "People's Community." Her visit to Berlin allowed her to interview mothers and children of the GDR in relation to her research topic.
  • London Judge '16 who also worked with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship office in 2016-17, enjoyed exploring Berlin-one of the top European cities for startups. She found inspiring the group's visit to a restaurant owned and operated by two expats, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who also run a nonprofit venture (Spice Dreams) for refugees in Berlin.
  • Leonie Kirchgeorg '17 who studied fashion in the Weimar Republic, particularly enjoyed her visits to the Reichstag and to the Kulturgewerbemuseum, where there was an exhibition of fashion, including many accessories made in Germany.
  • Desmond Niegowski '16 co-led a presentation with Nikolaus Bernau on the reconstruction of the Royal Palace. Desmond focused on the politics at play, examining especially how postcolonial theory, which he had studied in a literary context, fit into a royal palace housing an ethnological museum.