"I applied to the University Scholars Program because Professor Louthan told me it would be a good way to broaden my academic horizons and challenge myself. I have always enjoyed writing essays, and at its core the USP program is focused on writing a research essay. My goals for this year are to research and develop my USP project, and then to expand that project into a thesis for the History Honors Program."
My primary academic interests are primarily in the humanities, especially English and medieval literature. I am also interested in classical Latin literature and history. My research combines my interests by using literature to focus on medieval history.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- National Merit Scholarship (2009)
- College Bowl
- Catholic Gators
- Newman Club College Democrats
Catholic Charities Tutoring.
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading, strategic board games, and Starcraft II.
Magic, Superstition, and Religion in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods
My project focuses on the relationship between magical superstition and Christianity in the middle ages and Renaissance. I am particularly interested in the role of quotidian rituals and customs in the lives of everyday men and women, and in the role that elites played in either denouncing such superstitions or abetting them. My paper traces the development of superstitious beliefs from their origins in Ancient Greek and Roman traditions, through their dominance in the middle ages, and into the Age of Enlightenment and the “disenchantment of Europe” that followed. I began my research in the spring of 2011 by enrolling in an independent study course with my advisor, Dr. Howard Louthan. During that semester, we investigated topics and writers of the Renaissance period, and I found myself drawn to explore who and what influenced their views on the relationship between magic and religion. Dr. Louthan suggested that I travel to the United Kingdom to have better access to primary material, so in July I used my University Scholar award to fly to London and study in the British Library. There I was able to read fascinating accounts of daily life and scholarly thought in the middle ages, including a fifteenth-century manuscript titled Dives and Pauper that gave an incredibly detailed account of the role of magic in everyday life. During the fall semester of 2011, I took an honors thesis seminar and focused on expanding my primary and secondary sources, reading not only Renaissance scholars such as Thomas Browne, but also contemporary scholars such as Euan Cameron and Keith Thomas. My finished paper is the culmination of three semesters’ work, and hopefully a valuable contribution to the understanding of superstition in the medieval and early modern periods.