Patricia Lilienthal and Benjamin Wessel

Bethany Students to Present at State Capitol

A pair of Bethany students will represent the College at the annual Private College’s Scholars Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. 

Every Minnesota private college selects two students for the annual capitol event, where each presents a professional poster describing their research methodologies and addresses implications for future research. Representing Bethany are seniors Patricia Lilienthal and Benjamin Wessel. 

Lilienthal will present her research on “Victorian Commercialization of Death and its Discontents.” She explained her purpose for researching a bit of a morbid topic. “I chose this topic during a Victorian Britain Class I took in Fall 2016. I have always been fascinated by how cultures treat the topic of death. It seems to be very telling of the culture itself and the Victorians have a plethora of sources about it.” 

Lilienthal is excited to present her work to a large audience. “I hope the experience grows my ability to feel comfortable with my own work and the idea of sharing it.” 

Wessel’s research in entitled, “A Question of Universals: The Palamite Controversy in the Byzantine Empire and the Nominalist/Realist Debate of Western Europe.” His research, like Lilienthal’s, is based in historical study. 

Wessel explained, “Basically it deals with two major philosophical/religious debates which swept through Europe in the High Middle Ages, and discusses how they influenced each other. I became interested in this topic mostly through my own self-study, since I am strongly interested in both philosophy and theology. Since I was studying the history of the High Middle Ages in a class at Bethany, it seemed like a natural subject for me to research.”

Wessel hopes the experience will broaden his skill in academic presentation. “I hope this event will give me experience discussing my research and explaining it to others who do not have much background in the subject. This is especially important in the context of this paper, since it deals with a rather obscure and complex subject that very few people outside of certain circles know about. This will also be my first taste of participating in the larger academic world, and will be my first presentation in an academic setting. I am greatly looking forward to the experience that this event will give me.”

While presenting on a statewide stage can seem daunting, both Lilienthal and Wessel have a lot to gain by participating. Dr. Eric Woller, Bethany’s Vice President for Academic Affairs noted,  “By participating in the Scholar’s Day event, students have the opportunity hone their presentation skills and gather feedback outside of the academic setting. The experience also provides participants with valuable resume material.”