Kent State Undergraduate Student Enhances His Research Through Study Abroad Experience
Kent State University student Andrew Wyatt’s research evolved from flipping through pages of scholarly writing in Kent, Ohio, to viewing the walls of historic museums and libraries in Trieste, Italy.
With the help of his participation in Kent State’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, Wyatt, a senior English major and Italian minor, was given the chance to enhance his research on author Italo Svevo with a study abroad experience in Italy. Svevo was an Italian modernist author whose works take place and involved the city of Trieste.
First Stages of Research
Working with Kristen Stasiowski, an assistant professor of Italian language and literature in Kent State’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences, Wyatt used his research to bring discussion about a popular Italian author to the United States, where he says it previously has received little critical attention.
“I began researching Svevo because I connected to his work on an intellectual and personal level, specifically his most famous work, La Coscienza di Zeno,” Wyatt said. “Having particularly identified with La Coscienza, I thought it would be a great way to analyze modern Italy with a fascinating text that anyone can enjoy.”
Wyatt’s research, titled “La Riscoperta e Rivaluazione delle Opere d’Italo Svevo,” focused on presenting a global, literary conversation about Svevo to the United States.
“The title translates to ‘The Rediscovery and the Re-Evaluation of the Works of Italo Svevo,’” Wyatt explained. “I chose this title because Svevo’s novels have been discovered and evaluated at length, but not in the United States. Part of my goal for the project was to bring what many consider to be deep works of literature into a discussion that currently doesn’t involve them.”
At the 2014 research symposium, Wyatt entered in the Language and Literature category and won first place. It is with the help of the symposium that Wyatt had the chance to study abroad in Italy in fall 2014 and continue his research on Svevo. Wyatt and Stasiowski said the trip would not have been possible without this support from Kent State and additional scholarships.
“The research symposium takes students and their research seriously and demonstrates to faculty that important scholarly work can be done at an undergraduate level,” Stasiowski said. “I am especially proud of what Andy has done because it would not have been possible for him to continue his research without the funding that the symposium provided.”
Expanding Research Abroad
In Italy, Wyatt was able to access resources that will contribute to his senior thesis on Svevo, for example, meeting with Italian scholars who have studied him, researching at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale and visiting Trieste, the city where Svevo lived.
“My time in Italy has added a level of depth to my research that would have been impossible in the United States,” Wyatt explained. “The Triestine culture is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and it would be impossible to do his novels justice without having a working knowledge of the history and people.”
As far as international research, Wyatt recommends anyone with the chance to go abroad to take the opportunity.
“I would encourage students of all majors to consider travel and cultural interaction as a highly valuable form of research that adds authenticity to academic work and makes it truly useful for others to understand the world,” Wyatt said.
Stasiowski echoes Wyatt on the importance of study abroad and said she applauds him for the work he has done so far.
“Andy is the best example of what can happen when a student does study abroad and is studying some type of language,” Stasiowski said. “We designed a project that could not have happened if he didn’t go abroad, which many students choose not to do because they believe it will get them behind in their studies when instead it can be the hallmark of their academic career at Kent.”
Wyatt plans to participate in the symposium again this year using his current work in Italy as a continuation of his research from last year.
Undergraduate Research Symposium
Wyatt said those students who do not study abroad as part of their research still have a valuable experience to gain from participating in Kent State’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
“On a practical level, the symposium is a great checkpoint for students working on senior theses,” Wyatt shared. “It also looks great on a résumé and is a great talking point for job interviews.”
The 2015 Undergraduate Research Symposium is on March 11 from 1-5 p.m. and is sponsored by Kent State’s Office of the Provost, Honors College, Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, Undergraduate Studies and University Libraries. The symposium celebrates research and scholarship across all disciplines. It also serves as an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain experience presenting or performing their work in an academic setting and for networking with faculty members. To participate in this year’s symposium, students must submit an abstract that describes their research or creative endeavor by Feb. 6.
“The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an ideal venue for promising undergraduate students to present their work, receive constructive feedback and see what their classmates are doing,” said Douglas Delahanty, Ph.D., a Kent State professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and co-chair of the symposium. “Last year’s event was very exciting for all in attendance, and this year promises to be even better.”
Undergraduate students attending any of Kent State’s eight campuses and representing any major are eligible to participate. All research, scholarly work or creative activity must be completed in collaboration with a faculty or graduate student mentor. Monetary awards will be given out for winning presentations and performances in various discipline categories.
Wyatt encourages participation in the symposium and in finding passion through research topics.
“Taking up a research project in your area of interest can jumpstart your enthusiasm about your career choice,” Wyatt said. “Finding what you’re passionate about in your specific field makes all the difference.”
For more information about Kent State’s Undergraduate Research Symposium and how to submit an abstract, visit www.kent.edu/ugresearch/symposium-details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-672-7876.