April 17, seniors in the Latin American and Iberian Studies major presented their papers at the annual LAIS student symposium. Each student did a 10-minute presentation in Spanish about various topics in literature and film.

Marielle Mahan, a senior LAIS major, presented her paper, "Espacios poeticos de la mujer en el Renacimiento espanol," or "Poetic Spaces of women in the Spanish Renaissance." This subject inspired her to write and present this paper because of the role and perception of women in literature, she said. Mahan was also the recipient of Outstanding LAIS major.

Jackson Taylor, another senior LAIS major, said his topic came up through a seminar course on the Modern Spanish Narrative, led by professor Angel Otero-Blanco.

"I think the beauty of working in these courses on topics and papers such as that of the symposium gives students the opportunity and encouragement to seek out their own analytical voice," Taylor said.

Taylor's symposium paper was an analysis of the feminine characters in Pedro Antonio de Alarcon's "El sombrero de tres picos." It outlined how the characters' interactions and characterization provide the author a vehicle for criticizing or commenting on the socio-political situation in 19th century Spain, Taylor said.

"The symposium was as professional as a normal conference so that the students participating could see how they did," Aurora Hermida-Ruiz, LAIS associate professor and chairwoman of the department, said. "The students were also having dialogues with their peer," she said.

Contact reporter Olivia Simons at olivia.simons@richmond.edu