Students ‘streamline’ annual conference

Students ‘streamline’ annual conference
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photo by Dr. Will Kanyusik

On Saturday, Nov. 5, six Loras students participated at the ninth annual Streamlines Conference, held at the University of Dubuque. This all-day conference, which is a collaboration between Loras, Clarke University, and the University of Dubuque, encourages undergraduate students to participate and share their scholastic and creative works. Over 40 presenters showcased their literature analysis, creative works, and language presentations in English and Spanish, as those are the two main scholarship focuses of the conference.

“The experience and most rewarding part of Streamlines is seeing students enjoy themselves and present their work with confidence,” said Dr. William Kanyusik, assistant professor of English at Loras, who worked with Streamlines this year.

“Students present their work on panels organized by topic, so fun and fascinating conversations often take place during the question and answer sessions.”

Registration for the conference began bright and early in the morning on Saturday, followed by four sessions of presentations, which were categorized by theme and type of submission. The Loras students who presented throughout the day were seniors Jacob Butlett and Lori Obendorf, juniors Justin Busch and Ashley Pudil, and sophomores Sophia Muzzarelli and Shannon Schuster.

Each presenter was given 15 minutes to showcase their work, followed by answering questions from the crowd or other presenters on the panel. A majority of the panels included students from different colleges not just from Dubuque, but from states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

“Since the conference draws students both locally and from across the country, the conference is a fantastic opportunity for Loras students to share their creative and scholarly work with peers from other institutions,” Kanyusik added.

The highlighted part of the conference was the keynote address from Barbara Lounsberry, a Professor Emerita of English at UNI. Lounsberry has written books on literature and writing and has edited three mystery novels set in Iowa, with each chapter written by a different Iowan author. Her latest books, and the focus of her presentation, revolved around diaries and novels of Virginia Woolf, a 20th-century English modernist.

Lounsberry began her presentation by engaging the crowd with a simple lesson she learned from Woolf: read 30 minutes every day and write 30 minutes every day. She emphasized that while it may seem simple and easy to some, not everyone reads or writes every day. On average, when a student spends 18.5 hours of their day with technology for school and socializing, there’s only 5.5 hours left for everything else, including writing.

“When you read 30 minutes a day and write 30 minutes a day, this method is the foundation of your reading and writing skills. It’s important to develop them in the midst of all the technology we have,” Lounsberry emphasized.

Using this method, Lounsberry connected her presentation back to Woolf and the diaries she kept. While diaries are usually seen as something  secret and to be kept daily, Lounsberry stressed that writing for oneself can help with writing as a whole, both academically and non-academically. Many of Woolf’s diaries were not kept on a daily basis- instead, writing a few times a month was considered normal. Additionally, Woolf also attributed her growth as a writer to the diaries she kept.

In the closing minutes of her keynote, Lounsberry discussed how she became an author and professor by starting to write during her college years. That eventually led to a temporary, then permanent teaching position, as well as editing and working with other well-known authors from around the country.

Her method of teaching, writing, and studying has helped her to write many books on Woolf and inspire many of her former students, including a professor at the University of Dubuque, to do the same. She closed her presentation with giving the students, faculty, and staff from a variety of colleges a challenge for them to implement in their daily lives.

“Create the atmosphere in which your gifts can flourish, and make space for this atmosphere to take shape,” Lounsberry said.
The next opportunity for Loras students to share their scholarly work will be at the annual Loras College Legacy Symposium.

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