Students Achieve Great Things at LMU

Students in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA) at LMU pride themselves on putting their classroom knowledge into practice. Both alone and with the assistance of faculty mentors, our students have demonstrated tremendous achievements.

Restoring History

Jordan Stone, student of archaeology, took an ancient wood Egyptian coffin mask, from c. 2000-1500 BC, that had been hideously painted by a modern dealer. The wood was authentic, but the awful paint job was not. Jordan figured out ways to restore the mask to its original state, and spent many hours of painstaking work doing just that. What, when painted, looked like a very late and clumsy coffin mask turned out to be a hauntingly beautiful and expressive mask dating to more than a thousand years earlier than we had expected. (See the before and after photos below.) The mask is located in the museum of the Archaeology Center on the 3rd floor of University Hall.






Scholarly Presentations at SCCUR

On November 18, 2006, 4 BCLA students had the opportunity to present at the 16th annual meeting of Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR). Together with faculty mentor Dr. Jennifer Eich, Dale Kotchka-Smith, Ayra S. Laciste, Krystyna C. Grycz, and Isabel Arrastia worked through the abstract submission process and preparation for these oral presentations:

Dale Kotchka-Smith La Araucana: Avaricia, apoteosis, antítesis y adorno” [in Spanish]
Ayra S. Laciste “The Transformation of Human Beings into Human Bodies in Waiting for the Barbarians”
Krystyna C. Grycz “From Heretic to Mystic: The Poetic and Philosophical Brilliance of St John of the Cross”
Isabel Arrastia “Death: The Key to Life”


These students did an outstanding job and have a publication as well as a scholarly presentation as a result of their efforts.

Student Wins Writing Award

English major Chris Mandia recently attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Utah. His play, "Fighting a Fish," won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Best 10-Minute Play, Region VIII award. With this win, Chris earned a fellowship to the Kennedy Center April 16-22. There he will compete against finalists from other Regions. The winner will receive $1000, publication of his/her play and several other accolades. According to Chris, “Two teachers: Dr. Bannister and Dr. Younger--they exposed me to a world I never knew existed.”

Students Take Part in Alternative Breaks

Magali Del Bueno Riancho, double major in Spanish & Theology and minor in History, took part twice in Alternative Spring Breaks. During 2006, Magali worked in Jackson, Mississippi. She helped take down deteriorating homes that had been abandoned because of “white flight,” the action of Caucasian residents fleeing West Jackson because African Americans moved into the area. She also worked in a soup kitchen. Magali recalls, "When people found out we were volunteering on our Spring Break, their eyes lit up like nothing I had ever seen. I had never been so convinced that I was in the right place at the right time than in that moment, as I happily served them more lemonade."

During 2007, Magali worked in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. While working with the Mission of San Lucas, she experienced the hard labor, including pouring cement and building brick stoves, that the people of the community engage in each day. She was amazed at the dedication of the people whom she assisted. She had such respect for the workers and especially for the indigenous Mayan women of the town who carried heavy baskets on their heads and their babies wrapped in cloth on their backs. "It changed my perspective of what “strength” is. I hope to carry that image of strength always to imitate the power of the Guatemalan people and their drive to care for their loved ones," commented Magali.





Jackson, Mississippi
Spring, 2006

San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala
Spring, 2007


The most significant experience doing service for Joshua Johnson, 2006 LMU graduate with a double major in Spanish & Humanities and a minor in African American Studies, was the life changing weeks he spent in Franco Bidó and Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic for Spring Break, partnering with Education Across Borders. He went once in the spring, and was so changed that he returned that May after graduation. It completely redefined the term "poverty" for him. At the same time, it also redefined and personalized "generosity." The families he interacted with showed him so much love and generosity, even though they had barely anything. This is when his belief of what is truly important in life was confirmed: to seek out the God in others and to foster strong human ties by affirming the humanity in others, building the sense of community, and emphasizing solidarity and our interconnectedness. He became so close to the people in Franco Bidó, Dominican Republic that he felt like he left his heart there with them.

To this day Joshua keeps in touch with his Dominican brothers and sisters as they will forever be a part of him. He went to the D.R. thinking he was bringing them help, not realizing the tremendous ways these Dominican families would help him to redefine who he is and help him to see his own true purpose.

Joshua_brother Joshua_kids

Joshua with his little host
brother Amauris

Joshua with kids in the community


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