Two Pitt Undergrads, One Alumnus Honored In Dublin for Their Research Work

Issue Date: 
November 18, 2013

University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students and a recent graduate were honored Nov. 13 in Dublin, Ireland, for writing outstanding research papers.

Allison Gianotti, Sarah McFarland, and now-alumnus Liam Swanson received honorary awards of commendation at the Undergraduate Awards 2013 Global Summit in Dublin. The Undergraduate Awards program honors and supports exemplary undergraduate research conducted by students across the globe. According to its Web site, the program “aims to celebrate the world’s brightest and most innovative students by recognizing their best coursework and projects.”

The three Pitt honorees all received Highly Commended honors in their respective subjects. Their names and the descriptions of their award-winning research follow.

Allison Gianotti, a sophomore with a double major in nonfiction writing and communication, was honored in the category of Media and the Arts for her research paper “The Mission.” Gianotti profiled two Pennsylvania street preachers who differ in race and in how they approach their audiences, each positing questions about religion in America and drawing connections between religion, education, race, and social class. Gianotti is from Coudersport, Pa.

Sarah McFarland, a junior with a double major in sociology and anthropology, was honored in the category of Classical Studies and Archaeology for her research paper “Change in Cahokia: A Case Study for Uniting Processual and Materialist Theories.” McFarland integrated social and political theories to enhance cultural understanding of archaeological sites, specifically focusing on a site in southwestern Illinois occupied by Native Americans during the Mississippian period (800 to 1500 CE) in eastern North America. McFarland is from Columbus, Ohio.

Liam Swanson, whoLiam Swanson graduated in April with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing and history, was honored in the category of Literature for his work “Adventure Time with Rancière and Mallarme: The Siren in the Land of Oo.” Swanson studied philosopher Jacques Rancière’s literary theory alongside early Christian Encratite movements and psychoanalytic theory to investigate the apocalyptic world of the Cartoon Network’s children’s show Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. Swanson is from Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. 

The honorees received award-application support from Pitt’s University Honors College, which advises undergraduate students who are interested in participating in national or international competitions for scholarships, fellowships, and grants.