NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies joined the McNeil Center Consortium this past fall. Based at the University of Pennsylvania, the McNeil Center is an interdisciplinary community studying the histories and cultures of North America before 1850. It supports a wide range of scholarly endeavors, from seminars and conferences to fellowships, published works, and public history initiatives.
One program is the Undergraduate Research Workshop (URW). Now in its 10th year, the URW extends the benefits of the McNeil Center to undergraduate students enrolled at consortium institutions by holding a workshop for advanced undergraduates writing an honors thesis or research paper in early American studies. Each spring semester, a select group of students are accepted to become a part of the McNeil Center’s intellectual community. Participation in the URW includes: touring Philadelphia’s archives, attending the prestigious Friday Seminars, presenting research at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania, and support along the way by peers, graduate student mentors, and faculty from the participants’ colleges.
The experiences of traveling to Philadelphia, meeting like-minded young scholars, working with graduate mentors, attending scholarly seminars, and giving a presentation at an Ivy League university often combine to make participation in the URW a highlight of student’s college careers. While admission to the workshop may be competitive, the atmosphere is one of mutual support, collaboration, and celebration. Undergraduate Research Workshop participants are now enrolled in Ph.D. programs in history, attending law school, and working in public history.
Iona’s inaugural participant this spring was James McGlashin '18, a student in political science and history whose research interests include the role of Irish soldiers and thinkers in the American Revolution, labor history in the nineteenth century, and the social role of the Emmet family, particularly involving immigration and anti-slavery activism. McGlashin is especially active in public history in the New Rochelle community, single handedly spearheading fundraising and restoration initiatives for the Emmet family gravesite, amongst other efforts.
Application information for the 2019 URW will be available in the fall. Questions can be directed to Iona’s faculty advisor and McNeil Center research associate Nora Slonimsky, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org.