New Cohort of McGillicuddy Humanities Center Fellows Begin Research


Four University of Maine students have joined the McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) this semester as research fellows: Delaney Burns, Elizabeth Dalton, Grace Royle, and Haley Santerre. This new cohort joins existing fellows Nolan Altvater, Hailey Cedor, Nola Prevost and Katherine Reardon, who will finish their research at the MHC in Spring, 2021.

Incoming fellow Delaney Burns is exploring the intersection of art and science.  Burns, a fourth-year student from Gorham, Maine, is double-majoring in Studio Art and Marketing with minors in Art History and Graphic Design. For her fellowship, Burns will create a series of large-scale wood block prints titled, “Pinus Iongaeva: Discovering Form and Value through Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees.” She hopes to learn and share new printmaking techniques, understand more about Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees, and their importance to the ecosystem, and explore their personal connection to her father, a UMaine Forestry graduate.

Elizabeth Dalton has begun her research into, “Analyzing the Harmful Effects of Historical Inaccuracies in Medieval History as Seen in Popular Culture.”  A third year History major from Lamoine, Maine, Dalton is minoring in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  While recognizing the potential that binge-worthy shows and popular movies have to engage the public with history, Dalton’s project will investigate and describe the problematic ways in which accuracy is overlooked for the sake of entertainment. Her fellowship research will focus on depictions of the Medieval Age, as in Netflix’s The King.

Grace Royle is a third year Communication major and Legal Studies minor from Minot, Maine. Royle has begun work on a scholarly paper tentatively titled, “From Self-Help to Self-Harm: An Analysis of the Dangers that Fester in the Self-Help Industry.” She is particularly interested in exploring the hidden dangers of the industry, with self-proclaimed gurus practicing without certification, or sufficient qualifications or regulation. Her research will also look into the complicated psychology that comes into play, where people are being promised self-help but instead partaking in dangerous, self-harming activities.

Incoming fellow Haley Santerre asks, “Are the Gods to Blame?” Santerre is a third year Studio Art major and Art History minor from Portland, Maine. She is creating a series of six paintings that examine recent catastrophic events, such as the Coronavirus pandemic or Australian wildfires, through an historical and theological lens. By examining how ancient cultures, particularly those in Greece, would have responded, she hopes in turn to learn more about people’s beliefs today.  Haley is the inaugural Richard and Karin Anderson Undergraduate Fellow, whose generous donation funds the research of one fellow per year.

More information will be announced soon about a two-part showcase event in April featuring the research of the four fellows completing their research this spring. Future tribal educator Nolan Altvater has been doing his fellowship research on “Decolonizing Maine Education: Creating an Educational Resource to Improve the Implementation of The Wabanaki Studies Law.”  Fellow Hailey Cedor is completing research related to local involvement of Lithuanians in the Holocaust and how that currently informs national views and identity in relation to that horrific moment in time. Like many, Fellow Nola Prevost is interested in the historic use of fairy tales to represent societal issues or moral messages. She has been using fairy tale conventions and feminist scholarship to create her own modernized collection of fables. Lastly, Katherine Reardon is putting final edits on her work on, “Family Stories, The Truth, and How It Shape Us,” which examines family lore and storytelling within her own Irish family.

The MHC funds a rotating cohort of eight undergraduate fellows, providing $4,000 each per semester for two semesters to complete the research or creative projects of their choosing.  In addition to honing their research skills and building their academic networks, fellows serve as humanities ambassadors to their peers, the campus, and beyond. Many past MHC Fellows have stayed on at UMaine for graduate school.

Students interested in becoming a McGillicuddy Humanities Center undergraduate fellow have two deadlines to apply annually. Proposals to become a fall 2021 through spring 2022 fellow should be submitted by March 17, 2021. Research and creative work of all types across the humanities will be considered, from academic papers to art gallery shows, community workshops to educational video series. While the project has to be centered in the humanities, students from other disciplines are welcome to submit proposals for humanities-based projects. Students must be in their junior and/or senior year during the length of the two-semester fellowship term.

More information, including application instructions, proposal guidelines, and a rubric, are all available at or by contacting the MHC’s Humanities Specialist Karen Sieber at