Flessen, Lamonica, Stockley selected McGillicuddy Humanities Center fellows

University of Maine students Ivy Flessen, Bria Lamonica and Leela Stockley are the spring–fall 2020 Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center undergraduate fellows. 

Fellows receive $4,000 a semester for two consecutive semesters while they work on their chosen humanities projects and serve as humanities ambassadors to peers, the campus and beyond.

Flessen, from Oswego, Illinois, is a third-year political science major, with minors in legal studies, ethics and political philosophy. She is involved in a number of honor societies and student organizations, including the Pre-Law Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and University Singers.

Flessen’s project, “The Morality of the Life of the Mind in Plato’s Dialogues,” also is her Honors thesis. She’s examining the perennial tension between self-interest and altruism in Plato’s dialogues. Flessen asks whether Plato regarded a life dedicated to wisdom as the zenith of public service, or a selfish enterprise. She plans to one day work in academia and realizes modern academics still face charges of elitism and irrelevance. 

Lamonica is a third-year English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in psychology. The native of Turnersville, New Jersey is particularly interested in the works of feminist poets, including Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Adrienne Rich, as well as more contemporary poets. 

For her fellowship research, which will inform her capstone and Honors thesis, she’ll create a collection titled, “Out of Darkness: Contemporary Feminist Poetry.” She’ll use poetry to fight oppression and speak up for women who cannot speak for themselves. Lamonica writes for the Maine Campus, is involved with Phi Mu Fraternity, and is a member of Sigma Tau Delta National English Honors Society. 

Stockley is a third-year journalism and anthropology double major from Chester, Maine. The news editor at the Maine Campus thinks a lot about journalists’ duty to provide unbiased media coverage. 

Her research, “Ethical Implications of the Protest Paradigm on Marginalized Communities: Examining the portrayal of social justice movements in mass media based on lines of class and race,” will explore how language choice in news coverage often conflicts with this ethical duty. 

When media use language that emphasizes deviant behavior, violence and confrontation, but ignores core tenets and goals of a movement, Stockley believes they blur readers’ understanding of the social justice movement and marginalized communities. 

Three students also are returning for their second semester as McGillicuddy Humanities Center Fellows: Noah Loveless, Sarah Penney and Matthew Ryckman.

Loveless is researching Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, Penney is examining Icelandic sagas, and Ryckman is exploring the history of geometry textbooks through the lens of a 1732 edition of Euclid’s “Elements.” 

All six of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellows will attend the National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium on April 3–4 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. 

Student applications for a fall 2020–spring 2021 McGillicuddy Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellowship are due by March 27. More information, including application instructions, proposal guidelines, and a rubric, are available at umaine.edu/mhc/grants-scholarships or by emailing mhc@maine.edu

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777, beth.staples@maine.edu