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Kayla Goelz ’21
Goelz worked with Associate Professor of English Ben Goluboff to connect Emily Dickinson’s interaction with the physical environment to her poetry. They also looked to explore whether or not Dickinson was familiar with the findings of botanist William Bartram.
Q. What kind of research are you conducting with the Richter Scholar program?
A. I worked with Professor Goluboff from the English department, and we studied Emily Dickinson’s relationship to the botanist William Bartram. Emily Dickinson wrote a poem in 1864 titled “It Bloomed and Dropt a Single Noon” and what we are trying to do is connect it to the Franklinia alatamaha plant, which is a plant that William Bartram discovered but lost. No one has seen it since. Because Emily Dickinson’s poem tells a similar story, we were trying to prove that Dickinson knew about Bartram and the Franklinia alatamaha story.
Q. How do you think your experience with Richter will impact your future?
A. Working one-on-one with a professor, I received the type of experience that allows me to work in a more professional environment. Doing this type of research with Professor Goluboff has helped me with my English skills, especially my writing. He’s proofread several drafts that I wrote and gave me really good feedback, which I found very helpful while conducting my research. I will definitely be able to apply those skills to my work in my academics and beyond.
Q. Is there an end goal for your project? What are you working toward?
A. Professor Goluboff and Professor Adelson are doing a series of papers about Emily Dickinson, different poems of hers, and her inspiration for these poems. My research is the next step for their series of papers and Professor Goluboff is aiming to publish our collaborative work.
Q. What did you learn about yourself during this program?
A. I came into Richter having almost no interest in English. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, but I was more focused on the environmental studies side of the project. As my research progressed, I learned a lot about Emily Dickinson and it opened my eyes to a new field of study I will probably pursue in future semesters.
Q. What were some highlights of your Richter experience?
A. One of the main things I enjoyed was working one-on-one with Professor Goluboff. He’s a really interesting guy to work with and he knows a lot about Emily Dickinson, so it’s really interesting to learn about that from him. Another thing that I enjoyed was how our research involved specifically looking at nineteenth century newspapers—old documents we think Emily Dickinson would have read. I really enjoyed the experience of looking at these old documents through Emily Dickinson’s lens, trying to contextualize the materials she would have read. It was really cool and I really enjoyed it.
—Sangjun Hornewer ’20