Student-elected professors give lectures to honor students

Student-elected professors give lectures to honor students

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By Reilly Wright, Managing Editor

Within Gillespie Honors House’s first year of existence, it has welcomed both residents and
lectures for Ohio Wesleyan honors students.

The inaugural Honors House Lecture Series began in early March inviting OWU honors students
to attend lectures by student-selected professors and an easy way to see the new structure.

The most recent lecture, the second of the series, took place Wednesday, March 21 with Dr.
Lynette Carpenter, professor of english, discussing “Hollywood Doesn’t Go To War: How The
Wizard of Oz tried to keep Americans home during WWII.”

Filled with snacks, questions and “The Munchkin Land Song,” students actively listened as
Carpenter explained a different interpretation of the “The Wizard of Oz” and how the political
climate influenced the film.

Comparing the protagonist, Dorothy, to the U.S., who is unwillingly thrown into a conflict and
innocently liberates people, Carpenter argues the film’s intent to keep Americans home.

“Dorothy has landed herself in the middle of a political struggle: a fight between the witches in
the East and the West,” Carpenter said.

With the main producers of the film favoring U.S. isolationism as well as the characters praising
courage only when it is wise, Carpenter painted the blockbuster in a new political light.

“I think the lecture series is a nice opportunity for students to interact with faculty around
intellectual content in an informal setting,” Carpenter said. “They were a fun audience, very
engaged.”

OWU junior Cindy Huynh, moderator of the Gillespie Honors House, says the series came to be
when residents pointed out the opportunity for honors students to learn about subjects outside of
their majors.

“Sometimes we are often focused on the classes that we are trying to finish for our majors, but
being an honors student is about expanding our knowledge in more than one way, which is why I
believe that this lecture series is beneficial to all honors students,” Huynh said.

Sydney Douglass, a sophomore resident in the Honors House, said “I think the series is really
interesting and a great way for students to learn about things that they may never take classes
about.”

The first lecture of the series hosted Dr. Jennifer Jolley, assistant professor of music, as she
examined the relationship between politics and music.

“[Jolley] spoke about her journey of becoming a composer and how she uses her music to make
political statements,” Huynh said. “It was really inspiring to hear about; especially in today's
political climate.”

Dr. Danielle Hamill, professor of zoology, is speaking next at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 2.
Later, Dr. Shala Hankison, associate professor of zoology, will lecture at a predetermined time.

“I would definitely like to see this series grow in the future to reach more honors students and
professors,” Huynh said.

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