Kassie Kelly ’18 attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 7th-9th at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Along with six of her Trinity peers, Kassie presented her own research project entitled “Classical Music in San Antonio, 1910-45: The Forgotten Roots of Our City’s Musical Heritage,” which she conducted as a Mellon Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow in 2015. Kassie shares her experiences presenting at NCUR below:
My project began with the goal of identifying additional factors/details surrounding the creation of the San Antonio Symphony in 1939 and a general look at the classical music realm of San Antonio in the 1910s-1930s. Early on in research, my faculty mentor, Dr. Leafstedt, and I came across a passing reference to a "San Antonio Federal Orchestra," established in 1936. From that point on, our project shifted focus to this institution. We worked to uncover its beginnings, activities, personnel - pretty much any information we could find that was useful in rediscovering it, seeing as how little scholarship exists detailing it. In addition, we looked for possible connections to the San Antonio Symphony.
I chose to apply to NCUR somewhat on a whim. Dr. Dupertuis and other administrators for Mellon SURF encouraged us to, but I didn't pay it much thought until a little bit before the deadline. Dr. Dupertuis applauded my research and told me he thought it was worth sharing with others at a national conference given its interesting content, so I went ahead and applied.
A lot of preparation, revision, and rehearsal went in to my presentation. At the end of the summer, I did a poster for the research symposium, so I had to do a lot of work crafting an essay for an oral presentation with the help of Dr. Leafstedt. Thankfully, we co-presented at a conference 4 days before NCUR, so I had a lot of practice speaking and presenting the paper beforehand. Lots of late nights, though.
That last-minute decision to apply was a great one. I'm so thankful for my experience at NCUR - and to have conference experience early on in my undergraduate career as a sophomore is very important to my growth as a student. NCUR was a great conference to start with. There were more than 4,000 presenters in attendance, and all sorts of research topics presented and discussed. I learned a lot - both subject matter, and the do's and don't's of presenting. It was an awesome way to learn as an individual in my own preparation, and to learn from others in their presentation styles and refreshing topic choices.
Dr. Leafstedt and I have discussed submitting our paper to the Conference Proceedings, a journal that publishes conference papers. I would love to participate in my conferences. As for future research, our next step would be visiting Washington DC and look in the Library of Congress, where many relevant records exist. Whether these records have anything to do with our San Antonio Federal Orchestra is another question, but there's only one way to find out...