A Powerful Voice: History Grad Receives Grants, Awards for Research

By Becky St. Clair on January 16, 2019

In the early decades of the 20th century, a baby girl was born to German parents in Ukraine. In 1957, that baby girl, now grown, immigrated with her family to the U.S. from Germany. In 2014, her granddaughter, Erika Weidemann, graduated from Pacific Union College with a degree in history, and has since won a number of grants, fellowships, and awards for her research on German-American history.For her dissertation, titled "A Malleable Identity: The Immigration of Ethnic Germans to North America, 1947-1957,” Weidemann received research grants from the Glassock Center for the Humanities, the Society for German American Studies, and Texas A&M University. These competitive grants ranged from $500 to $5,000 and were awarded for the significance of her research topic.Weidemann also won the Keeble Dissertation Award, given to the best dissertation project in the history department at Texas A&M, the German Script Award from the Quadrangle Historical Research Foundation for her work with German primary sources, and the Fasken Research Award, given to those who combine excellent research with a passion for teaching.“The family connection got me interested in the topic at first,” Weidemann says, “but the research has become more fascinating the longer I study it.”Weidemann first began...

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Halcyon—Encaustic: Guest Artist Diana Majdumar at Rasmussen Art Gallery

By Becky St. Clair on January 10, 2019

The Rasmussen Art Gallery on the campus of Pacific Union College will host the opening reception for an art show by guest artist Diana Majumdar on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 7-9 p.m. Majumdar’s work will remain on display in the gallery through Feb. 10.Majumdar works primarily with encaustic painting, which utilizes beeswax with damar resin mixed in for elasticity.“While it is melted, the wax can be applied with brushes, one brushstroke at a time, like you would with regular paint,” Majumdar explains. “Except wax begins to harden the second it leaves the hot plate, so I have to work fast.”Though she graduated with a BFA in drawing and painting from Academy of Art University in San Francisco, art was never Majumdar’s career goal.“It was actually my dad’s dream to be an artist,” she says. “His parents insisted he pursue a ‘useful’ profession, so he became an auto mechanic, but we often watched him draw or use watercolors casually at home.”Years later, Majdumar recalls, both she and her sister took an entrance exam to an art school in Estonia—the only way to study art with proper instruction.“Both of us failed,” she says, “but only our dad was devastated.”Passing would have meant...

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Words to Notes: Honors Student Composes Piano Version of Jane Eyre

By Becky St. Clair on January 7, 2019

Many people have created movie adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; there’s even a musical based on the Victorian novel. But few—if any—have attempted to capture their interpretation of the well-read romance on piano.Until now.Laurel Kwon, senior English major and Honors student at Pacific Union College, recently completed her final Honors project, for which she translated her understanding of Jane Eyre into a ten-minute piano composition.“It was more difficult than I thought to write music based on a plot that’s already been written,” she admits. “I usually tend to just improvise and create a melody out of that, but it was actually quite fun to take on the challenge.”Kwon has been playing piano since the age of five, and has grown up creating and composing at the keyboard whenever could. When she took “Victorian Literature in Britain” last year, Kwon felt compelled to delve more into Jane Eyre, crediting her professor, Dr. Linda Gill, with her interest, saying Dr. Gill “can transform boring rocks into blooming, fragrant flowers in her classes.”As she contemplated her senior thesis, Kwon hit upon a unique idea: “I thought it would be fun to connect my English major side with my musical side,” she says....

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