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Moravian College

Savannah A. Brown ‘16

Major/Minor: English/Sociology
Hometown: Northampton, PA
Project Advisers: Dr. Crystal N. Fodrey

Briefly describe your project.

The purpose of my project was to create an autoethonographic multigenre creative composition that connects the past women of Moravian College’s experience. This project considers the history of these women, the history of feminism, and how each of these has created and strengthened the community of women at Moravian College that it is today.

I read scholarships on feminist rhetorical theory, archival research, and used these sources to create my personal research methods and methodology for my project as I searched through the mass of archived material. I then used this research to connect the paths of Moravian College women and to display how my position as a Moravian College female student came to be what it is today through the evolution of time.


Describe the origin of your project.

I expressed that I wanted to do a SOAR Project and Dr. Fodrey  pitched the idea of going through the archived photos and using a feminist rhetorical lens.  From there, I ran with the idea as it quickly blossomed into a wealth of information, ideas, and analytical findings.

While I did find many interesting topics throughout my research, Dr. Fodrey helped me analyze certain topics successfully through a feminist rhetorical lens. Occasionally, things I found interesting and worthy of mention, she was able to point out ways they could further be analyzed that I had not recognized. Initially, the most challenging aspect of my project was the reading on feminist rhetorical theory scholarship, and incorporating the language into my writing. There were many times in the beginning of my project that I was unsure of how to use the key terms properly because they almost seemed to be in a foreign language

What’s the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights have they brought to your project?

Dr. Fodrey had told me that I’m her biggest cheerleader here at Moravian College, but I believe she is mine as well and I am extremely grateful for the knowledge and advice she shares with me. She has helped me grow as a writer and a scholar everyday for the past year and a half and continues to do so to this day.  Even more so, Dr. Fodrey helped me believe in myself as a scholar through her guidance, even when I doubted myself. She always found ways to encourage me, even by simply pointing out what I had done properly through my writing tangents.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

My biggest obstacle has been incorporating feminist rhetorical theory terminology and sifting through the mass of information I have collected throughout the summer to decide what important analytical ideas to include within my essay. I also found there was a lot of information I had collected that would serve better as an analysis of it’s own, and that I had to decipher between what ideas best suited the purpose of my essay, and unfortunately part with the ideas I simply found interesting.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

This experience has helped me  learn more about feminist rhetorical theory, as my knowledge before this project now seems very limited. It has also helped me decide on what I would like to major in throughout graduate school.

The opportunity has also made me realize just how much I appreciate history, as I was able to manually go through the archived Moravian College and Female Seminary items. There is something about tangibly holding history within your hands and the smell of old books that feels both inviting and exciting as a scholar!

What was the result of your project? Was it congruent with your hypothesis?

My project resulted in a wealth of knowledge about the evolution of the Moravian College female student throughout time, and even though I discovered that the earlier existence of Moravian was not a college, I found that Moravian has always been far ahead of its time in educating women!

Do you think you’ll be able to extend on your research after this summer is over? If so, where would you like to see it go?

I  believe I’ll be able to extend my research after this summer because I will be able to use my knowledge in feminist rhetorical theory and creative writing within my Honors Project.  I also believe I could write a smaller piece that takes a few key analytical elements from my SOAR Project, and submit it as one of my articles for The Comenian this semester to reach a wider audience.