For the past 6 years, the Undergraduate Conference for Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas (UCMLA) has aimed to teach many students what an academic conference is like.
UCMLA offers students the chance to share ideas and research within a scholarly environment. The conference aims to guide undergraduates on their research presentation and allows graduate students to participate as event organizers.
“It really gives the undergraduates an opportunity to get their feet wet,” said Jeremiah Henry, UCMLA organizer and president of the English Honors Society.
The UCMLA committee began its work last semester by distributing a call for a submission of essays. Fresno City College and Reedley College English students were invited as well.
Organizing this event has allowed Henry to achieve one of his on-going motives: “to foster the love for language and literature, not only in the English department, but around campus.”
Former panelist and current organizer Eryn Baldrica-Guy participated in last year’s UCMLA and found it useful to obtain feedback on research. She plans to apply for her PhD in English and since many PhD candidates do this, she knew she would gain valuable experience.
“I know there are a lot of undergraduate conferences, and I wanted to make sure Fresno State could have a really good one,” Baldrica-Guy said.
Fresno State senior Lupe Remigio is one of the panelists this year. An American literature class she took last semester opened her eyes to the different struggles minority groups face in America. Remigio wrote her class essay on the issues of African-American manhood, and her professor suggested she submit her paper for UCMLA.
Remigio hopes to get constructive criticism from her peers. She encourages other English students to apply in the future and enhance their resume.
“If you do not get selected, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried something to be proud of,” Remigio said.
This year’s conference will begin March 13th at 9:15 a.m. in Peters Building 192.
The guest speaker is Manuel Muñoz, a native of Dinuba, and assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Arizona at Tucson. Muñoz will give a reading from one of his books, “The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue.” On Saturday, a craft talk will be held, and Muñoz will be available to answer questions about creative writing.
“Anyone interested in new perspectives or literature about a variety of cultures and ethnicities in America, not just the United States should come,” Henry said.