Ellen Hinck ’17 could have graduated last year.
As a Psychology major, she would have graduated from Saint Mary’s University in just three years. But she quite literally couldn’t help but pursue her love of literature. With one additional year, she could add Literature with Writing Emphasis as a second major and then pursue a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from Saint Mary’s.
“I realized by the end of my sophomore year that something was missing, and literature was always a passion. So my junior year, I decided to go a full four years so I could change my English minor to a major,” she said.
Hinck has found the pairing of these two majors beneficial in many ways.
For starters, she hopes to become an English teacher to high school students, which undoubtedly will use her interdisciplinary knowledge. “I had a fantastic experience in my high school with great teachers, and I want to have that same impact on my students,” she said. “I loved being in high school and I hope I can help them with the next step. Humor is a huge factor, and I want to help them analyze literature and develop their writing skills in a fun way.”
Hinck presented her thesis, “Modernism and the Water Motif,” on April 28 during Celebration of Scholarship at Saint Mary’s. She was one of more than 100 students—from nearly every discipline—who presented throughout the day at the Winona Campus.
For her thesis, Hinck examined a similar water motif in two modernist texts, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. Modernism, she explains, occurred after the Victorian Era, which is often equated with morality and restraint, whereas Modernism brought about more of a trend in capitalism, sexual liberation, and secularity. Modernist authors, she said, were melancholic and disillusioned with their “lost generation,” which they felt had no religious foundation and desired a form of purification. The water motif, she said, symbolized purification in their literature to relieve the anxieties felt by the “lost generation.”
Hinck also utilized her knowledge and skills from both of her areas of study this past semester as she interned with the Women’s Resource Center. She attended court hearings, filed paperwork, wrote grant proposals, created presentations for an advocacy training course, met with clients, performed receptionist duties, and wrote an article for a local newspaper.
“I got to write and be an advocate and work with amazing people,” she said. “It was a fantastic experience.”
Although she said it was difficult to hear about the severity of what clients have gone through, she found inspiration in the people who passionately advocate for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
“It was such an amazing experience to see how people have the patience to deal with these situations every day and remain positive,” she said. At Saint Mary’s, she advocated for victims during a sexual assault awareness campaign.
As for her experience at Saint Mary’s, she smiles and says, “I’m coming back.” She credits faculty and internship experiences with helping her find her life’s path, and for helping her uncover her passion.
For photos of students presenting at the Celebration of Scholarship, go to smumn.edu/photos.
Also, enjoy the talents of our students Julia Kirk on violin and Hongdou Ge on piano from their Celebration of Scholarship performance.