Student Research Spotlights in Miscellaneous Disciplines


Regina behind a fence
Photo courtesy of Regina Franceschi

Regina Franceschi, ‘22: “Turn of the Century: An Exploration of Historical Construction and Designs from 1890-1910”


Please describe your research.

This study reconstruct[s] and reinterpret[s] historical evidence [from Kassia St. Clair’s The Golden Thread] like photographs, illustrations and a privately owned artifact [to] give insight…into the construction and fitting techniques of the period, but also a glimpse of the daily activities and needs of upper-middle class women of the past.”


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“I decided to conduct undergraduate research [because] I was unlikely to find an opportunity to work [with] such supportive faculty, which has proved invaluable through the challenges of research. I [also] wanted to show that while fashion is often considered an art, we still have a need for experimental archeology and study within the field to understand how we got to where we are and where we're going from here.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“I wanted to participate because it is an opportunity for researchers to share their passion and experience, and for others to be introduced to new perspectives.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“I am looking forward to the Q&A, both getting to ask and answer questions. And I am looking forward to being there to support my friends and classmates as they share their research.”


Would you encourage other students to participate in CSA Day?

"If any student has something they are passionate about, and wants to show others…I would encourage them to participate in research! Think deeply about what makes you interested/excited to research and try to communicate that, and be delighted when you are surprised by what you find, even if your assumptions were wrong.”



Gwyneth next to a tree
Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Thomas

Gwyneth Thomas, ‘23: “Mariachi: The Quintessential Music of Mexico”


Please describe your research.

“I will be providing an overview of mariachi music [by] defining it and exploring its history. Mariachi is music, but it's also a Mexican cultural icon—both at home and on the international scene.”

Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“Because of interest in research in general. I'm planning on pursuing research in graduate school and into my career.”


Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“I enjoy public speaking and the exciting chance of getting to share my research with others! I consider myself quite the nerd, so this is a dream come true!”

What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“This is honestly the hardest question of all! Probably the chance of getting to speak about my passions and to hear the passions of my peers.”


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“Take the chance to explore your interests to the fullest! ‘Go where no man has gone before,’ as Star Trek tells us, and share what you love with the rest of the world!”



SarahElla in an elephant costume -- SarahElla-Phant
Photo courtesy of SarahElla Trustman

SarahElla Trustman, ‘24: “Songs of Knowledge: An Exploration of the Music of Indigenous North America”


Please describe your research.

“I will be exploring the music of North American Indigenous peoples and discussing the ways that music was and is used to keep and share knowledge. My presentation compares and contrasts the music of six regions across North America, highlighting both the diversity and commonality of music across the continent.”

Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

“The Global Music Seminar class that I am taking requires a research paper, and so I was excited to have the opportunity to further explore indigenous music of North America, a topic I am passionate about.”

Why did you decide to participate in CSA Day?

“There is such a need for more awareness centered around the importance of Native American music. So much information is contained in their music, and due to the concentrated efforts of colonization, much of this knowledge has been destroyed.”


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

“I am looking forward to having the platform to share this important research with those of an academic mind, so that others might also work to preserve the much-needed music of Native Americans.”

Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

“When I first learned that I was to present at CSA Day, I was intimidated. However, once I began my research, excitement replaced intimidation. Find a topic that you are passionate about and you will enjoy every step of the journey.”



Lila with an umbrella
Photo courtesy of Lila White

Lila White, ‘22: “Denim Kintsugi: Beauty out of the Breakage”


Please describe your research.

It focuses on denim upcycling processes informed by literature review. The inspiration is Japanese Kintsugi, and how that might aid and guide our efforts for changing “old waste” into something new and valuable. I am focusing on how this could further sustainability solutions by presenting a different perspective on DIY and waste minimization.


Why did you decide to conduct undergraduate research while at Meredith?

This is a great opportunity to apply my design skills as well deepen my understanding and inclination for "working with what I have" and producing something beautiful at the same time.


Why did you decide to participate in CSA day?

CSA Day provides the other side of being a designer: publicly showcasing the designs. It also serves as a platform for presenting my ideas for others' benefit and consideration


What are you most looking forward to on CSA Day?

I'm looking forward to seeing my family there, and knowing what they'll think of my final results.


Is there any advice you would give to future CSA Day participants or undergraduate researchers?

Certainly, especially if students want to apply their skills to a professional setting. CSA Day can definitely provide that experience of tangible results presented in a public atmosphere. Plus, you can have family and friends there too! So, they can also get a snapshot of what you're learning.


Interviews compiled by Aminah Jenkins and Rachel Van Horne, Associate Editors, and Piper Carriere, Contributing Writer

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