By Hayley Cox
In August, HUR’s Cecilia Morales was announced as a 2013 National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Portz Scholar. The NCHC Portz Scholars Program began in 1990 to enable NCHC to acknowledge John and Edythe Portz’s many contributions to honors education. The NCHC continues to honor their memory by selecting the top research/creative papers by undergraduate honors students who have been nominated by their institutions for their outstanding work.
Cecilia Morales, a senior English student at Texas A&M University, was nominated by Honors Director Dr. Sumana Datta. Morales wrote a research paper entitled “Creating Mother: Mother’s Legacies in the Context of the Conduct of Literature of Seventeenth-Century England,” which had already been selected for the Best Thesis Award at Texas A&M. Each collegiate Honors department in the country is allowed to submit only one thesis to nominate its author for the Portz Scholarship (The University of Nevada at Reno and The University of Arkansas at Little Rock were also awarded with Portz Scholars).
In Morales’s words:
“This paper examines the genre of 17th-century Mothers’ Legacies in relation to the conduct literature written during the same period. It discusses the manner in which the women writers of Mothers’ Legacies both confirm and deny the ideal form of womanhood laid out by conduct writers. By writing from the place of the mother, these women were fulfilling a socially prescribed role, but by publishing for a wide audience, they stepped out of their traditional domestic domain. The paper ends by delineating and explaining the gap between what 17th-century women were told to do and what they actually did.”
The three NCHC Portz Scholars will present their papers at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans on Saturday, November 9th. Morales is excited to meet other undergraduate researchers from around the country, as well as to present her own research. She said, “I am extremely honored to receive this award and to have the opportunity to represent A&M at such a prestigious conference. I put a lot of time and energy into my research project, so it’s quite gratifying to have it recognized nationally.”
Post-undergrad, Morales plans to attend graduate school in order to receive a PhD in literature and hopes to become an English professor. She is grateful for the research experience she gained at Texas A&M because it will help her further down the road in her career pursuits.
Morales’s advice to her fellow students was to pursue undergraduate research, even if you do not plan on attending graduate school. She said it is “a great opportunity to make the most out of your college education.”
Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) would like to congratulate Cecilia Morales on becoming a Portz Scholar. We wish her luck at the NHCH conference in November! HUR is so proud of its students for the positive impact they make at Texas A&M University.