MCKEESPORT, Pa. – In pursuit of new knowledge, Penn State Greater Allegheny students collaborate with faculty mentors to conduct research projects on topics of interest. Each semester, those research projects are presented to the campus community during the Student Research & Creativity Conference.
At the fall 2019 conference, first-year student Curran McCune received the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award for his research project titled, “Imperial Chinese Views on LGBTQ+ Issues, As Illustrated By Poetry.” The award recognizes outstanding student work and undergraduate research that showcases exceptional information literacy skills.
McCune developed his research question under the guidance of his English 15 instructor and honors option faculty mentor, Associate Professor of English Mildred R. Mickle.
“I was inspired to select this topic by my friends in the LGTBQ+ community,” said McCune. “My love of history and literature and the 2019-2020 Teaching International topic of China determined the rest,” said McCune.
McCune and Mickle discussed his interests and began to focus on China’s literary Renaissance during the T’ang Dynasty. “I was impressed with Curran’s desire to tackle such a complex topic as LGTBQ+ issues in fiction in China,” said Mickle. “However, I suggested that Curran narrow his focus to poetry, particularly since we were focusing on Han-shan's Cold Mountain, a fine example of T’ang Dynasty poetry. The T’ang Dynasty period produced some of China’s greatest poetry, and I knew that Curran would find some of what he needed in the poems in Cold Mountain. I then put Curran in touch with Andrew Marshall, Greater Allegheny’s interim head librarian. The research paper Curran produced for his Honors Option was simply outstanding, and I do not say that lightly.”