Students speak at undergraduate medieval and early modern studies conference


Sebastian Abt ’24 (left) and Veronica Gonzalez ’23 (right) speak during 7th Annual Hudson Valley Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference at the College of Mount Saint Vincent

Two New Paltz students recently presented their work at the 7th Annual Hudson Valley Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference.

This year’s event, held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, New York, was the first in-person meeting since the pandemic. Over the course of the day, 13 students from Hudson Valley institutions, including SUNY New Paltz, Vassar College, Marist College, Mount St. Mary College, Iona College, and Mount Saint Vincent, presented their ideas and interpretations.

New Paltz was represented by Sebastian Abt ’24 (English, with a minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies) of Hopewell Junction, New York, who delivered a paper entitled, “Unimaginable Danger and the Role of Women in ‘Beowulf’ and ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.’” In addition, Veronica Gonzalez ’23 (Communications) from Newburgh, New York, presented her work on “Religion and Magic Among Peasants: The Ways Socioeconomic Class Determined the Beliefs of the Lower Class.” 

Abt’s paper was originally written for a class led by Professor of English Thomas Olsen, who also attended the conference; Gonzalez’s essay was developed in a class led by Heather Morrison, associate professor of history.

“I am honored that I got to share my paper with a group who shares my passion for history. It was an experience that taught me the importance of academic community,” said Gonzalez.

“These students had written excellent papers, so it is wonderful that they had this opportunity to present their work,” added Eugene Heath, the coordinator of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies minor at New Paltz. “No doubt those in the audience benefitted too. The engagement of our students and the commitment of the faculty in our medieval and early modern studies program is remarkable.”   

The minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is an interdisciplinary program in the art, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and political institutions of Europe and its colonies from the periods between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the French Revolution.

Students take courses from seven academic departments: Art History, Black Studies, English, History, Languages, Literatures & Culture, Philosophy, and Political Science.

For more information about this minor, please contact program coordinator Professor Heath via email at