MALS Students Present at National AGLSP Conference

presentation slide from AGLSP conference

In October, the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) hosted its annual conference virtually. Organized by NC State MALS Director and outgoing AGLSP President Michael Garval, this year’s conference focused on the theme, “History, Heritage, and Identity.” MALS students Lani St. Hill and Michele Lynn, and alumni Lori Townsend and Alicia Johnson presented on behalf of NC State’s MALS Program.  Video recordings of their presentations are linked below.

Lani St. Hill is the Outreach Coordinator for NC State’s Waste Reduction & Recycling office. She is also a graduate student in the MALS program, where she is earning a degree in Climate Justice. Her presentation, “Indigenous Hawaiians’ Perspective on Collections, Collectors, and Collecting,” was based on research done for Dr. Garval’s Maymester seminar and explored how collections reflect indigenous Hawaiian values, preserve Hawaiian history, and inspire Hawaiians today to reclaim their heritage and cultural identity.

Michele Lynn is the principal of Michele Lynn Communications, a consultancy specializing in communications for community-based organizations and institutions of higher education. She is concentrating in communications and social justice in the MALS program. Her presentation, “Scratched Records: Silences in the North Carolina State University Archives,” was based on her research for Dr. Garval’s Maymester seminar, “Collections, Collectors and Collecting.” She contends that archival collections reflect the biases and interests of individual archivists and the cultural tenor of the times during which collections are procured, and absences in the collection distort the historical record.  These silences alter the history, heritage, and identity of both the university and the state, leading to gaps and misrepresentation in knowledge of the past. 

Lori Townsend’s presentation, “History’s Hidden Landscapes: Gilbert Town Historic District,” was based on her culminating project research for MALS. Lori designed an applied project about the history of her hometown. She also completed an internship with the Historic Preservation Department in Wake Forest. Lori is currently an Environmental Review Assistant with the State Historic Preservation Office.

Alicia Johnson’s presentation, “Navigating the White City While Black: Exclusion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition,” has been pivotal to her continued study of systemic racism as part of U.S. history and policy.  Applying the same rules of marginalization seen at the 1893 fair, Alicia’s essays focus on the deliberate disenfranchisement of Blacks throughout U.S. History and during the current pandemic. Alicia Johnson is currently writing and living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She plans to pursue a PhD in History focused on the African American experience.

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