Students dig deeper into their scholarly interests through Mellon Summer Research Grants
At Gettysburg College, the drive for knowledge is not limited to the classroom. Andrew Monthey ’14 and Sarah Tuttle ’13 travelled across the globe to learn more about their scholarly interests – once in a lifetime opportunities made possible through Mellon Summer Research Grants.
Andrew Monthey ’14
Jezreel Valley, Israel
“The metrology of an Early Bronze Age settlement in the Jezreel Valley”
It was a class in the fall of 2011 with classics Prof. Jonathan David – who also happened to be an assistant director of an archaeological project in northern Israel – that inspired Andrew Monthey ’14 to travel to Israel to conduct field research in the late spring and summer of 2012.
Together with the director of the project, David and Monthey, a classical studies major with a minor in philosophy, proposed a research design that was both novel and groundbreaking in the Jezreel Valley. They studied how Early Bronze Age I inhabitants of Tel Megiddo East designed their structures with standardization, using a standard unit measurement, the cubit. Their end goal was to determine the social role and status of this small settlement in relation to the nearby larger, fortified Megiddo, which featured a temple from the same time period that was designed using the cubit.
Monthey stayed with the research team at a kibbutz (a collective community in Israel), and worked closely with scholars, students, and volunteers from all over the world. They worked 6 days a week, in temperatures reaching up to 105 degrees, digging, measuring walls, and cataloging pottery, animal bones, and other artifacts.
“Travelling for field research is the best way to truly experience first-hand what you are researching. I was able to pursue my passion abroad and was actively involved in novel research. It is quite the experience to be the first one to uncover things that haven’t been seen for 5,500 years,” Monthey said.
He continued, “I think that this sort of project – which was made possible by a Mellon Summer Grant, is valuable to anyone who has a passion and wishes to pursue it, anywhere throughout the entire world…literally."
Sarah Tuttle ’13
“The influence of Buddhism on the late work of Gustav Mahler”
Sarah Tuttle ’13 fell in love with Vienna, Austria, in the fall of 2011 after exploring the music and influential artists of the region, most notably Gustav Mahler.
“Mahler sought to incorporate life's struggle into his symphonies,” she said. “There was one particular summer that marked a huge change for Mahler—he lost one of his two young daughters to sickness and was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. There’s a distinct change in the mood of his music after that point. It’s more subdued, more resigned.”
Upon her return to Gettysburg, Tuttle’s experience abroad inspired her to not only earn a Sunderman Conservatory Concerto Competition victory, but also further study the late works of Mahler—made possible through a Mellon Research Grant.
In her research, Tuttle examined the relationship between text and music in Mahler’s song cycle “Das Lied von der Erde.” She interpreted that Mahler utilizes compositional devices, such as scale and instrumentation, to interrupt the Western familiarity of his music with Eastern elements, spurring a sense of estrangement within his European audiences.
“When the music sounds more ‘Eastern,’ Mahler is expressing an idea more closely affiliated with Eastern philosophy, and when the music becomes romantic and ‘Western,’ it is illustrating an idea with which Western society may be more familiar,” said Tuttle, who will be presenting her findings at Celebration ’13. “It is my opinion that Mahler is coming to terms with his mortality, and may be urging Western society to consider and appreciate the brevity of life.”
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.
Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803.
Posted: Tue, 23 Apr 2013
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