Lee Hosts Latin American and Iberian Studies Conference
By Olivia Webb
Lee University’s Department of Language and Literature recently hosted the seventh annual Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies.
This conference aims to cultivate academic excellence among undergraduate students and to unite students and professors from a wide variety of disciplines. Local high school students were also invited to take part in a poster presentation session, which was organized by Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Carmen Guerrero, her Spanish classes, and high school students from the community.
“Even after seven years of this conference, we continue to see the fruit of teamwork and passion for language, literature, and culture,” said Dr. Alexander Steffanell, associate professor of Spanish. “I’m so happy to share in this experience with such a professional and devoted group of colleagues and students and to see the fruit of the Kingdom among us.”
Presenters included students from Colgate University, J. Frank White Academy, Lee University, Messiah College, Northern Kentucky University, Princeton University, University of Memphis, University of North Alabama, University of Richmond, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of the South, and Western Carolina University.
Lee University presenters included Timothy Bideshi, Sarah Clayton, Elyssa Edwards, Chase Filasky, Loren Garcia, Kenzie Holton, Annelie Johnson, Micaela Lucas, Victoria Lentz, and Allie Toombs.
Panel presentations included “Culture, Philosophy, and Societal Issues,” “Linguistics in the World,” and “Institutions and Human Right,” as well as other topics related to the culture of Latin America and Iberia.
The presentation panel moderators were Dr. Jean Eledge, Audra Chaney, Dr. Sara Ortega-Higgs, Dr. Betsy Poole, and Hannah White, all from Lee University, as well as Dr. Scott Infanger of University of North Alabama and Renee Congdon of Colgate University.
“The symposium was an incredibly rich, inspiring experience,” said Eledge, chairperson for Lee’s Department of Language and Literature. “The preparation and organization combined with the enthusiasm, energy, and obvious level of engagement of all who presented or participated in any way made this academic opportunity one that truly furthered understanding and appreciation of other languages and cultures.”
Lee alumnus, Zachary Greene, was the guest speaker at the conference. Greene graduated in 2013 from the Department of Language and Literature and the Department of History, Political Science, and Humanities. In 2017, Greene worked in Peru and Ecuador with indigenous communities. He teaches Spanish at J. Frank White Academy.
“I would definitely come back to Lee University for its next annual undergrad conference on Latin American and Iberian studies,” said Congdon. “It was great to talk among peers about similarities and differences between our research and our areas of study, and I would recommend this conference to others in the field.”
For more information on Lee's Department of Language and Literature or the Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies, call (423) 614–8210.