2023: Faculty-Driven Projects

In the summer of 2023, CAAD  supported three faculty-proposed projects for summer creative research. Students worked one-on-one with faculty mentors as research assistants and collaborators. 

Drone photo with students posing on grass.

2023 projects

Project Title: Visual Representation of the Impact of the Measles Vaccine in New York State

Alicia Atwood

Assistant Professor

Project Summary

This project will utilize historical data from New York State to estimate the causal impact of the measles vaccine on childhood health. The student will then create visual representations of the data and their estimated results to communicate their findings to a broad audience. These visual representations will include maps, figures, and infographics. This is the ideal opportunity for a student to explore how data visualization can aid in communicating results. While experience with stats, econometrics (or other advanced statistical) coursework, GIS experience is a plus, it is not required. 

Project Title: Investigating the Infrastructure for Medieval Pilgrimage

Elizabeth Lastra

Assistant Professor of Art

Project Summary

Throughout the Middle Ages, millions of travelers traversed hundreds of miles of unfamiliar, foreign lands to venerate the bodies of saints. From England to the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, from Scandinavia to Rome, medieval pilgrims embarked on months-long journeys to seek spiritual favor, perform penance, or simply escape quotidian life. The art of medieval pilgrimage is traditionally studied from the perspective of the pilgrim or spiritual traveler; however, mass pilgrimage can only exist as a symbiotic partnership between the walkers and the infrastructure that at once supports and is supported by them. 

The CAAD Fellow will participate in a research project that investigates the monuments of Carrión de los Condes, a prominent city on the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, one of the most popular pilgrimages of the Middle Ages, and questions the ways in which the city’s visual culture addressed both pilgrims and local audiences. Along with contributing to the research project on Carrión, the CAAD Fellow will have the opportunity to contribute to and shape the digital projects RomanesqueSpain.com and ThePilgrimsGuide.com, as well as develop a potential Vassar course The Art of Pilgrimage. 

Project Title: Medea and Her Sons: Unpacking the Ultimate Survivor

Peter Gil-Sheridan

Assistant Professor of Playwriting

Project Summary

“What if Medea never killed her sons and they grew up to be the most insufferable queens?” 

“What if Jason and his princess Glauce (not melted down by poisoned vestments) lived just down the road in a nicer house with central air and she had to run into those assholes all the time at the Stop N Shop?”

Assistant Professor of Drama, Peter Gil-Sheridan, is posing questions that could spark an alternative telling of this staple of Greek Mythology and Dramatic Literature. Drawing from his personal history and curiosities about a modern re-telling of this classic, Gil-Sheridan aims to write a modern adaptation of this tale and seeks an assistant to help. deeply understand the mythological origin stories that inform countless adaptations, the differences between prominent adaptations, and scholarly and performance criticism around these adaptations. Professor Gil-Sheridan states, “I’m also deeply interested in exploring real-life Medea stories: tales of women who have been compared to the tragic heroine or, more, tales of women who have avoided that fate.”

Working in tandem with the Ford Scholars Program, this is a unique opportunity that includes travel to Greece, participation in a resident training program, visits to performance sites, and more. While there are no course prerequisites, the ideal candidate would have a working knowledge of Drama and who loves scholarly and practical research. An interest in dramatic literature, performance, and popular culture is also preferred.