Marymount Majors at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

By Kembry McNeil-Thompson

The only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women's Leadership Conference

English and Criminal Justice Majors Kembry (left) and Naiya (right) at the VFIC Women’s Leadership Conference

At the beginning of November, I found myself in Richmond, Virginia, with nearly a dozen other Marymount women, en route to participate in the first annual Women’s Leadership Conference hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges [VFIC]. The foundation is partnered with roughly 14 colleges and universities around the northern and northwestern Virginia area, and each of the universities sent a few recommended students to Richmond to represent them at the conference.

The women’s leadership conference spanned three days, each packed full of leadership sessions, socializing, professional development, and fun. Each day consisted of a number of engaging sessions on topics ranging from mindfulness to networking to being a woman in the workplace and more, as well as free time and icebreaker activities. Each session was delivered by a woman who was in a leadership position of her own, and some of the speakers were from the many companies that sponsored the event. There were opportunities to connect with a number of powerful, inspirational women, and there was also time to connect with people from your own school as well as others.

So much transpired over the course of those three days that it is hard to try to sum it up, but there are three major takeaways that I will not forget from my VFIC experience: 1) there is no one way to be a leader, 2) you must lead by example, taking care of yourself as you do others, and 3) there are opportunities, adventures, and memories around every corner. Being a leader encompasses so much more than what we previously grew up believing, and the only way to become a great leader is to take the next step.

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Regie Cabico Delivers the Bisson Humanities Lecture

By Macy Pope, Class of 2022

One of the biggest events of the year hosted by the Marymount University graduate Humanities Department is the Bisson Humanities lecture.  The hallmark event brings all different types of students, faculty, and Arlington community members together for an evening to celebrate literature, language, history, art, and free thought.  

The speaker of this year’s lecture was none other than the “Lady Gaga of spoken word,” poet Regie Cabico.  A queer Filipino writer and performer, Cabico recited his poetry about mangos for his mother, his relationship with diabetes, his dating history, and his place in “the American Dream deffered,” as he refers to it. The life stories and quippy humor were a fresh reminder of the life that literature and stories hold in today’s society.  He spoke quite a bit on the “orientalizing” of asian actors in America, but also what his fluid identity means to himself and how to it can impact others. One of his most popular poems, “I’ll Check Other” speaks to the division that he and other Asian-Americans feel as their identity has been restricted only to their native ethnicity, much like only being able to check one box on a full page.  My personal favorite part of the evening was during the “conversation” portion, where after being asked a question about his worst performance, he proclaimed “Well, I don’t suck, ever.”

I believe Cabico brought a total new light to what modern humanities can be.  In a university environment where my non-humanity major friends poke fun at me for loving dusty old books and the philosophies of dead white men, this outspoken queer poet has shed a new light onto what the present and future of the humanities will be.  It is full of diversity, inclusion, and performance. It is not just for the majors and minors of what some may call expired knowledge— it is for all people to appreciate and enjoy.

Cabico also gave two spoken word workshops as part of his engagement with MU, allowing students to take an active role as spoken word creators.

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Spotlight on Jeidy

Senior English with Secondary Education Licensure student Jeidy Luperon was recently featured in the Arlington Catholic Herald discussing her story of faith and education. Jeidy, who is from the Dominican Republic, is here at Marymount on scholarship, and she plans to attend graduate school and teach high school, sharing her determination and love of the language with her students. Catholic Herald author Zoey Maraist interviewed Jeidy for the story, learning about her life in the small, rural community of Bánica and how she came to be an English major after spending just over a year learning the language formally.

Though living here has been an adjustment, Luperon said she’s come to love her adopted home. “I’m so grateful for Marymount. I love everything about it — the education I’m receiving, the relationships you can make, strong bonds with faculty members,” she said. “I’m grateful that I’ve encountered people who have helped me grow spiritually and have challenged me to be a better person.”

We are grateful that Jeidy is here, too, and we look forward to hearing about all her purposeful future!

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Dr. Rippy awarded NEH stipend for research on Welles

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has anounced that Dr. Marguerite Rippy, Professor of Languages and Literature, has been awarded a $6,000 summer stipend for her project “Orson Welles, Macbeth, and Africa: Collective Genius and the Diaspora.” As only one in ten stipend proposals are funded, this is a great opportunity to have Marymount research be supported by NEH.

More information is available on the NEH website and the full NEH press release.

Congratulations, Dr. Rippy!

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Mary Karr, award-winning author, speaks to Marymount students

On April 18, the first day of Easter Break, Marymount students were out in force to hear author Mary Karr talk about writing, trauma, memoir, and more. Spanish minor and Biology major Aya Raihanoune introduced the author.

Karr’s first memoir, The Liar’s Club, was the shared text read this year by all first-year composition students at Marymount. All students in EN102 will be sharing research inspired by this book at the annual final exam conference event on May 4th. Karr spoke with humor about her life as a writer, growing up in a dysfunctional family, religion and spirituality, and dealing with alcoholism and sexual trauma.

The Liar’s Club won nonfiction prizes from PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters. Recently, Entertainment Weekly rated it number four in the top one hundred books of the past twenty-five years. Her second memoir, Cherry, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, also hit bestseller and “notable book” lists at The New York Times and dozens of other papers nationwide. Her most recent book in this autobiographical series, Lit: A Memoir, is the story of her alcoholism, recovery, and conversion to Catholicism.

Great turnout on the first day of Easter Break for Mary Karr!

Great turnout on the first day of Easter Break for Mary Karr!

Karr talks with students on April 18

Karr talks with students on April 18

Karr is an award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling memoirs and five poetry collections, most recently Tropic of Squalor. Karr is also a songwriter, having collaborated with Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and others on a country album called KIN. Her many awards include The Whiting Writer’s Award, an NEA, a Radcliffe Bunting Fellowship, and a Guggenheim. She is also a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry magazine. Karr is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University and she lives in New York City.

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