Corinne Philbin ’20
“Flavor of Bethlehem: A Celebration of People and Food”
Major/Minor: English, theater
Hometown: Danbury, CT
Project Advisor: Christopher Shorr
Describe your project.
For my SOAR project, I worked with professor Christopher Shorr on a recipe-gathering project called "Flavor of Bethlehem: A Celebration of People and Food." It focused on the city of Bethlehem and examined how the food from the city represented and reflected the culture within it. I researched the history of Bethlehem, noticed different patterns that emerged, and looked at what groups of people are located in the city. Then, I went around the community and interviewed citizens about their favorite foods, restaurants, recipes, and stories from their time living here. We compiled these interviews into a single document that will eventually become a cookbook about Bethlehem, with personal stories weaved in throughout.
How did your project come about?
Professor Shorr came to me with the idea for this project. He knew that I was interested in journalism and writing in general.
What was the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights did he bring to your project?
Professor Shorr gave me valuable advice and guidance throughout our whole project. He has a lot of background knowledge on food and culture, and much of his theater creations have dealt with community, so that assisted with the goals of our project. We met every week to discuss my progress and he answered any questions or concerns I had. He valued my insight and comments on the process, and it was a very collaborative experience.
What was your biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle with our SOAR project was definitely finding people to interview. I joined every Bethlehem-related Facebook group, posted flyers, went to farmers’ markets, talked to fellow peers, and I did not receive nearly as many responses as I had expected. Therefore, our project suffered a bit from this slow-paced step. However, we did manage to get some valuable interviews and the word was spread as much as possible.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?
My biggest takeaway from my SOAR experience was learning so much from fellow SOAR peers when listening to their projects. Everyone’s project was so different and unique, and I enjoyed listening to the presentations every week. I also gained journalistic skills from this project and learned how to be more comfortable with talking to new people. I needed to let go of my social anxiety and reach out to everyone I could, which is a skill I will take with me throughout my career.
What was the result of your project?
The result of my SOAR project is a website that contains the finished recipes and interviews from residents of Bethlehem. Anyone can visit the site and learn about the unique culture Bethlehem has in relation to its most popular foods. It is the first step in the process of creating a cookbook out of these interviews that will be worked on throughout the year.
Overall, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian College?
I feel extremely grateful to be granted this opportunity. Doing research over the summer was definitely a challenge, but worth it in the end. I learned so many valuable lessons and got to interact with amazing people, as well as learn so much from other student’s projects. Students should absolutely take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian because it is an amazing opportunity to be able to conduct research while working closely with a faculty member. You are able to collaborate on a project that is totally unique to your interests and field of study as well.
Do you plan to expand upon your research?
I plan to continue my research in the 2019 spring and fall semesters. I will be doing either an honors project or independent study with Professor Shorr to continue to build up the number of recipes we have, and we will eventually create a cookbook that will be presented at Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound in October 2019.