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Connect and Collaborate

Isabel McKenzie ’19, an English literature major and a double-minor in art history and museum studies, has completed research about Edwardian writers in twentieth-century English literature and culture, mentored by Associate Professor of English Carla Arnell.

 

Isabel McKenzie ’19, an English literature major and a double-minor in art history and museum studies, has completed research about Edwardian writers in twentieth-century English literature and culture, mentored by Associate Professor of English Carla Arnell. Professor Arnell brings to the classroom more than 17 years of experience teaching classical and medieval literature and history of the British novel.

Paired through the College’s Richter Scholar program, Isabel assisted Professor Arnell with researching how Edwardian writers were shaped by the twentieth-century “mystical revival.” Isabel’s role in the project was to examine the fictional work of Edwardian writer R.H. Benson, challenging herself to interpret and contextualize depictions of mystical experiences in his novels.

For Isabel, Professor Arnell has been invaluable in helping her carve a future path. “Between serving as my First-Year Studies professor and then my English professor and Richter Scholar mentor, she has encouraged me to pursue additional opportunities at the College,” said Isabel.

Some of those opportunities have entailed working closely with other English professors. For instance, Isabel designed an independent study about “Mysticism and Modernist Poetry” with Associate Professor of English Joshua Corey and later became his research assistant as he sought to represent the “uncannily mythic” history of the once-famous Chicago Boxer Barney Ross through prose and poetry.

For Professor Arnell, Lake Forest College nurtures creativity, curiosity, and intellectual discovery. “The skills that our students build by assisting professors with their scholarly research are varied and have lasting value; students hone research skills, develop a more sophisticated analytical vocabulary, and leave with an enriched cultural and intellectual repertoire. In the process, our students come to understand both familiar and unfamiliar literature through a scholarly lens,” said Professor Arnell.

“My success so far at Lake Forest can be attributed to having supportive professors and utilizing the College’s various resources. College isn’t easy and neither is being a young adult. A small college with attentive professors and outstanding student resources can prevent students from falling through the cracks.” -Isabel McKenzie ’19

Isabel plans to attend graduate school and obtain her PhD, possibly focusing her studies on the work of Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle’s epic Trilogy. Her goal is to publish extensively and teach English literature, particularly women’s modernist poetry—an interest that was first sparked by her English professors. “The diverse research opportunities in the English department, paired with invaluable guidance from Professor Arnell, have helped me identify and shape my future career path,” said Isabel.

A place like no other, Lake Forest College provides an intellectual space in which students can develop deep and meaningful relationships with faculty. These one-on-one relationships are the hallmark of a liberal arts education and give students access to faculty like Professor Arnell.