IMS Medieval Outreach Program Welcomes Bosque School Students to UNM Campus

Back Row from Left to Right: Lukus Malaney, Casey Brown, Robert Esquibel, and Christopher Geherin. Front Row from Left to Right: Aspyn Maes, Jessie Bonafede, Emma Winegardner, and Jessica Cochran

The Institute for Medieval Studies Outreach Program to the Secondary Schools hosted its first research events for high school students in Zimmerman Library and the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. The two research events were designed by the 2019-2020 UNM Medieval Outreach Fellow and English Ph.D. student Jessie Bonafede and they included an IMS Outreach Research Contest and a Special Collections Manuscript Project. Bonafede stated that “during the fall semester, graduate students working with the Institute for Medieval Studies Outreach actively coordinate with local Albuquerque high school teachers to provide in-class presentations designed to supplement curriculum on the Middle Ages. It was important for me to find dynamic ways to continue this excellent work during the spring semester and provide secondary school students the opportunity to experience researching firsthand at a university institution.”

Glenn Koelling instructing Bosque School students

Both research events were promoted during the fall as part of the graduate students’ visits to local high school classrooms. For the IMS Outreach Research Contest, students were encouraged to submit a medieval-themed topic that they would like to explore and develop as part of an individual or group research project. Participating students were invited to Zimmerman Library to learn about UNM’s library resources and researching techniques and then were given the opportunity to work with graduate students concentrating in Medieval Studies in the library on their projects. Students participating in the Special Collections Manuscript Project were invited to UNM’s Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections for a tour of the facility and selected artifacts, an introduction to paleography and codicology studies, and the opportunity to conduct paleographic research on a selection of medieval manuscript leaves available at the center. Bonafede noted that “it was vital that we offered students a multifaceted perspective on research within a university and the field of Medieval Studies. Plus, what a great way to engage with the beautiful collection of artifacts at Special Collections and bring the Middle Ages to light.”

Christopher Geherin with Bosque School students and teacher

The research events involved the collaborative efforts of Zimmerman Library, the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, the Institute for Medieval Studies, and Outreach Fellow, Jessie Bonafede. Glenn Koelling, Learning Services Librarian and English Liaison, and Christopher Geherin, CSWR and Special Collections Archivist, were essential in facilitating the library tours and instruction. Dr. Timothy Graham, Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies, provided materials central to paleography, such as examples of parchment, oak galls for ink production, quills, and examples of medieval binding. Bonafede also noted the importance of Jessica Cochran’s contributions to the Special Collections Manuscript Project in which she created and delivered a presentation for students on paleography and codicology and worked with Bonafede to develop an integrated worksheet of activities helping students practice paleography as they learned about it. Furthermore, M.A. graduate students from the department of English, including Robert Esquibel, Aspyn Maes, Lukus Malaney, and Emma Winegardner, and Casey Brown, M.A. graduate student from the department of History, assisted visiting students with their research projects for the Outreach Research Contest.

Jessica Cochran instructing Bosque School students

These spring research events were originally designed as a three-part visit to UNM with two days devoted to research and project design and the third day presenting final projects at the MSSA Spring Colloquium. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the follow-up events were cancelled, but Bonafede remains positive. She stated that “this was the first attempt at an Outreach spring research series, and it more than exceeded expectations. While we were disappointed that we could not continue as planned, I remain hopeful that in the future we will be able to host these events to their fullest potential. Everyone who participated, the staff, graduate students, and our Bosque School participants, made these events a huge success, and I’m pleased to report that we outreached to over 800 students during the 2019-2020 academic year.”

Paleography materials provided by Dr. Timothy Graham