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Senior Symposium

The Senior Symposium highlights the diversity of undergraduate scholarship at Gallatin. The annual event showcases a select group of seniors who present live talks that share ideas at the heart of their academic passions. Developed from individualized majors and colloquium topics, the talks span a range of disciplines and are meant to teach and to inspire the community.

11th annual Senior Symposium will be held on April 17, 2019


Join us from 6:30-8:00 in the Jerry H. Labowitz Theater for the Performing Arts


This year's speakers are Rachel Stern, Nyelah Sawyer, Lila Rimalovski, Maria Polzin, Sadie Mlika, Jonathan Ji, Hajra Jamal, Sabrina Illiano, Emily Gordin, Jenzia Burgos



Senior Symposium 2018

Natalia Barr - Beyond Cock Rock

Natalia's academic interests include music history and musicology, journalism, gender and sexuality studies, fashion, art history, and critical theory. Her interests in the intersection of music and style and subculture were heightened during a semester abroad in London in Spring 2017. Natalia's concentration confronts the theory of "cock rock," the idea that rock music is inherently male, and considers that the presentation of gender and sexuality within the realm of rock music and performance reveals centuries of hegemonic institutions’ endeavors to maintain gender hierarchies through the development of taste. Natalia hopes that treating rock music historically and critically can impact societal expectations of the presentations of gender and sexuality within music and art, and benefit the journalistic coverage of non-white-cis-het-male artists. Natalia has interned and written for publications such as OutInterviewPaste, and Rolling Stone.

Gabriella Bower - Classroom Empathy for a Democratic World

Gabriella is from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and came to NYU with dreams of pursuing a career in fashion journalism. After the 2016 election, she had a wake-up call and realized she wanted to spend the rest of her life making the world a more just place. She firmly believes we all have a profound capacity to empathize, and Gallatin has provided Gabriella the freedom to examine empathy and ethics from many different angles. New York has also been her classroom for the past four years - she has pursued internships, ranging from fashion to editorial to tech, and was a part of the Washington Square News for three years as the Beauty and Style Editor. After graduation, Gabriella will join the Digital Team at Zeno Group, and she dreams of opening her own school that centers on empathy.

Rachel A.G. Gilman - Rational Creatures

Rachel's studies at Gallatin have focused on the role that gender, femininity, and sexuality play in literature and film. She is passionate about promoting the stories of women and femmes across multi-media platforms, especially concerning issues of gender politics and sexual exploration. She received the Dean's Award for Summer Research in 2017 and travelled to Block Island, Rhode Island, last summer to produce a radio documentary called "Island Life”. Rachel also created The Rational Creature, a feminist arts journal dedicated to showcasing intersectional feminist writing, photography, videography, and artwork. She hopes to expand the publication nationally after graduation. Additionally, Rachel has acted as General Manager of NYU's radio station, WNYU-FM, and hosted the award-winning talk show, The Write Stuff, as well as contributed to TV Guide Magazine, Popdust, and other publications. This fall, Rachel will continue her studies at the University of Oxford in the MSt Program in Creative Writing.

Fiona Gorry-Hines - Dramatic Realism and the Potential of The Uncanny

Fiona is a playwright and theater artist who studies the dynamic relationships between form and content in the writing and production of the play. Her concentration traces the evolution of dramatic Realism from the 19th century to the present as it reacts to historical moments, and uses these changes to consider the potential role of Realism and its elements in contemporary theater. She is excited particularly by work that draws on elements of Realism while disrupting somehow the canon of the "real", and she identifies these anomalies as critical to the meaning of a play. Her ideas on this are influenced not only by critical theater studies but also by anthropology, literature, fine art, and feminist studies as well as by her experiences as a playwright, director, actress, and choreographer. Ultimately, she aims her studies at identifying new potentials and goals for contemporary theater using this interdisciplinary analysis.

Elaine Lo - Technology Alone Won't Save Us

Elaine studies the intersections of technology, art, and culture. She is interested in deconstructing how we think about the relationship between technology and social justice, drawing on urban studies, climate justice, art anthropology, and decolonizing methodologies to inform her work. By focusing on the ways in which Eurocentric and colonialist frameworks persist in shaping ideologies and discourses surrounding technology today, Elaine strives to uncover how oppressive power structures like race, gender, and class can be reinforced within the infrastructures of an increasingly data-driven world. She examines the importance and urgency of intertwining political, ethical, social, cultural, historical, and economic issues within technological spaces and discourse. Elaine ultimately aims to imagine and explore alternative ways to conceptualize and build our relationships with digital entities. She plans to pursue work through this critical lens of tech and social issues as a digital product/experience designer after she graduates.

Léah Miller - Queerness of Language

Léah came to NYU and to Gallatin from an unschooling background, leaving high school at 15 and working in theater. They decided to come to school to expand their understanding of the world and to develop as a human. They identify as queer and non-binary; their personal and academic pursuits have intertwined with an interest in the freedoms and limitations of language to capture the complexities of gender, sexuality, and relationality with a particular focus on post-structuralist theory: questioning the “nature” of everything, including nature. Throughout their time at Gallatin, they have been interested in these nuances across languages, studying French, American Sign Language, and German. Expanding from a class project, they created their podcast about queer aesthetics, Looking/Feeling/Queering, asking interviewees what it feels like to “look” (or not look) queer. Their senior project focuses on self-narration/definition and the process and feelings of labeling.

Brennan O'Rourke - Embodied Performance: Mourning in the Public Sphere

Through their concentration, Dramatizing Justice and Peace, Brennan investigates the interplay of theater, memory, history, and justice building. They study the ways in which history and memory are formed in the context of theater-making and theatrical intervention in applied contexts. Brennan’s work is focused on how gaps in histories can be imagined for new understandings of memory and history to make attempts at building justice. Their studies in London, Berlin, and Hiroshima deeply impacted their understanding of justice, memories, histories and places. Brennan co-founded, with Shayna Feuer, the first Gallatin Mental Health Arts Festival, which connected their interests in storytelling and the political. Brennan is the President of Gallatin Student Council, the Chair of Student Senator’s Council on Health and Wellness Committee, a theater practitioner, and a program manager for Arts for All. After gradutation, they will pursue an MA in Applied Theatre at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Micah Prussack - Blood and Soil: Political Dreams of Kinship

Through her concentration Kinship and The State, Micah studies a mixture of sociology, political science, queer theory, and anthropology. Starting with an inquiry into white nationalism, Micah sought to rethink the discourses of political movements and governments through the lens of kinship, a previously antiquated method of analysis. She argues that kinship politics are ever-present in sociopolitical landscapes: they have the power to dictate historical events and processes, and enact visions for the future. Lately, Micah has been concerned with the various methods by which kinship politics take shape and exercise their power, namely media and culture. Through a year-long internship at GLAAD, Micah has had the opportunity to work firsthand with activists, organizers, and media professionals to help develop ways to use media to influence culture and "accelerate acceptance" for the queer community as part of an ongoing effort for the collective liberation of everybody suffering under global capitalism.

Maria Alejandra Torres - Borderlands: US Empire, Mexico & Postcolonial Mestizaje

At Gallatin, Maria has explored the genealogy of marginalization that informs the modern violation of human rights. Employing a mixture of disciplines, she examines how today’s marginalization is a consequence of imperial debris, in the way in which empire materially and discursively compartmentalizes the world in a racial-economic hierarchy. Alejandra studied abroad in Paris where she analyzed the ways in which the U.S. and France are empires in denial. A semester in Prague also deepened her understanding of imperial dynamics. Alejandra’s concentration, Empire and Postcolonial Subjectivity, has been not only an academic project, but a modality through which she reflects on her subjectivity as an immigrant Latina in the US. Alejandra intends to go to law school to be able to work within the international human rights corpus. She is an intersectional transnational postcolonial feminist, and proud Colombian-estadounidense who loves reading, writing, photography, food, traveling, and, of course, social justice.

Melody Xu - The Reciprocity of "Real" and Artificial Intelligence

Melody’s academic interests include history and philosophy of science, science and technology studies, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. Her concentration—History and Philosophy of Intelligence—examines the way these disciplines have come to define and measure the construct of intelligence. Her research topics include the factors that led to the creation of the intelligence quotient in the early 20th century, and the way young children develop the ability to adapt to changes in their environment. Lately, she has been thinking about trends in artificial intelligence research in the mid-twentieth century and their impacts on popular conceptualizations of human intelligence. In addition, Melody assists in teaching an introductory programming course at the NYU Courant Institute and volunteers at Futuristas, an organization geared towards making STEAM more inclusive, accessible, and relevant to youth. Post-graduation, she will pursue a research career in developmental psychology and a PhD in history of science.

Senior Symposium 2017

Michael J. Abraham - “woman is perfect:” The Poetry of H.D.

Omayeli Arenyeka - Data, Beauty, and Action

Hannah Baek - Reimag(in)ing North Korea

Felix Ho Yuen Chan - Chinese Contemporary Art

Senior Symposium 2016

Jacob Ford - Tomographic Topography

Natalee Ho - Critical Faith: International Law, Human Rights and the “Third World”

Senior Symposium 2015

Julia Lee - Art in the Anthropocene

Megan Powers - Beyond Partisan Politics

Senior Symposium 2014

Rachel Brazie - Towards a Haunted Community