Around the World | Spring 2015 | Kent State University

Around the World | Spring 2015

Andrew Wyatt '16

Student: Andrew Wyatt ’16 

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Major: English (Italian minor)

Field experience: Fall 2014 research in Italy on Italian modernist author Italo Svevo, partially funded by Wyatt’s first-place win in the Language and Literature category of Kent State’s 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium 

Research opportunities: Wyatt met with Italian scholars who have studied Svevo, conducted research at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence and visited Trieste, the city where Svevo lived and set most of his works.

Why Svevo?: “In his most famous novel, La Coscienza di Zeno [Zeno’s Conscience], the title character finds the modern world confusing and alarming, as do I. We have new inventions but are still no more productive or happy. Italy has lagged behind other western nations in modernization, so the question of modernity is even more pressing and stressful for them.” 

Key insight: “Trieste lies on the border between Italy and Slovenia and is close to Croatia and Austria. This cultural mix shows up in the language, food and customs. A local gave me a tour; as we crossed a street that had a green traffic light going one direction and a red one going the other, he said, ‘This is very Triestine. Everything is contradicting and conflicting.’ 

I plan to live in Trieste for a month this May to experience it from the inside and will analyze Svevo’s novel from that cultural perspective.”

Why participate in the Symposium?: “It’s a great checkpoint for a senior thesis. Judges examine your research methods and actual work and provide suggestions on how to improve your project.”

Garmai Matthew ’15

Student: Garmai Matthew ’15

Hometown: East Cleveland, Ohio

Major: Economics (International business and Chinese minors)

Field Experience: Summer 2014 three-week course through the College of Arts and Sciences. Matthew and five other Kent State students collaborated on arts-related projects with students from the Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang (capital of North China’s Hebei province), based on their research of Chinese culture and history. 

Project: “I’d seen artwork created from used materials a Chinese student had found at home, and it inspired me to make a skirt from recyclable plastic, used cotton fabric and remnants of digitally printed material I had on hand. By reusing materials that would have been thrown away, I created a fabulous zero-waste fashion.”

Passion: “Sustainable fashion—my main focus is to mass produce garments without harming the earth.”

Why learn Chinese?: “It’s an investment in the future. I can relate to a culture different than my own and collaborate with others to tackle some global environmental issues. China is a manufacturing hub for various industries, and manufacturing is the prime source of the world’s pollution.” 

Key insight: “When I sat at the highest point of the Great Wall of China, I felt a sense of accomplishment. That experience taught me that with some hard work and initiative, my goals are within reach.”

"Once you own a passport, the whole world is yours to explore.”

Garmai Matthew ’15