My name is Megan Abrahamson, and as a product of a similar outreach program which I attended as a student of Albuquerque High School, I am now personally dedicated to the vibrant Medieval Studies community at UNM and committed especially to reaching out to students in the Albuquerque area. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from UNM in English and History with a minor in Medieval Studies, and am now in my final year as a Master’s candidate in English with a Medieval concentration, where my research focuses on Middle English language and literature. Because I benefitted from an excellent outreach experience, I wish all the more to promote a positive view of UNM broadly, as well as of Medieval Studies and the medieval period. I am honored to have been selected as this year’s Outreach Fellow, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with Albuquerque’s students.
The Institute’s Outreach Program is designed with the goal of connecting secondary school students with university students in two ways:
1. We bring university students to Albuquerque classrooms to give presentations that supplement teachers’ curricula. In the past, graduate students have presented interactive sessions on the history of the English language, Beowulf, Chaucer, Arthurian legends, medieval manuscripts, monsters, the Crusades, and daily life in the Middle Ages (and this is by no means an exhaustive list!). Presentations tailored precisely to a given curriculum are also an option, whether they treat the topics above or another topic being explored in a class. Graduate student presenters will work with interested instructors teaching specific events, texts, or themes of the Middle Ages.
2. We are pleased to offer high school students the opportunity to work with a university student on a research project in a peer-mentoring program. This is an excellent chance for high school students to delve deeply into a topic of their choice and personal interest using UNM library resources, and also to get a taste for the kind of academic writing done on college campuses.
Presentations can be devised for any class on virtually any aspect of the Middle Ages, relating to art, culture, drama, history, language, literature, or music, and can be created with a teacher’s specific class and lesson plans in mind.
IMS Outreach Fellow (2013-2014)
The Medieval Studies Outreach Program to the Secondary Schools is the curricular enhancement arm of the Institute for Medieval Studies. The Outreach Program has been operating since 1992 and provides support, encouragement, and professional collaboration for those who are looking for resources for learning and teaching about the Middle Ages in primary and secondary schools.
Peer-Mentoring in Secondary Schools (Modules) and On-Campus Peer-Mentoring revolve around a close interrelationship between UNM faculty and students and secondary school students and faculty in the New Mexico private and public schools. This program's mission, with regard to secondary school students, is to share with them the curricular resources of UNM in advance of their coming to the university.
The Medieval Studies Outreach Program has received national and international attention in the top professional instruments of Medieval Studies: The Medieval Academy Newsletter, the Old English Newsletter, and a special issue of a major journal devoted to its peer-mentoring activities: "Initiatives in the Secondary Schools: The New Mexican Model" in SMART [Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching] 5:1, n.s. (Spring 1997).