Wednesday October 5, 2016

Student Profile: Liz Turnwald

University of Dayton junior Liz Turnwald has always been one to explore the arts. Originally from Kalida, Ohio, the music and Spanish major with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, has deeply explored Spanish culture during the past two years. From traveling to Argentina during summer 2015, to studying Latin American protest and folk music with the Berry Summer Thesis Institute this past summer, Liz has kept busy by staying in tune with her passions.

What made you choose Spanish and music as majors?
I started taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old and was in band and choir. I really loved it but I was torn between doing English, education or art when I entered college. I think that what did it was that if you want to be a music major, you have to audition into the program and I did it and went with it. It has always been something I’ve loved. There is also something about the work ethic of music majors that I really enjoy being a part of. As for Spanish, I started taking classes in high school, and I love the language and the culture. All Spanish-speaking countries are so different and it’s so fascinating, you just want to get involved.

Tell me about your study abroad experience to Argentina during summer 2015. 
It was a month-long trip led by three UD faculty. I took Sociology of Tourism with Dr. Stephanie Litka and the History of Latin America with department of history lecturer Tracey Jaffe. We were in Buenos Aires for much of the time and we visited Colonia, Uruguay, for a day. But just to be in the midst of everything and to experience the culture was amazing. It was awesome to use the Spanish I have been studying for years on the streets.

What inspired you to focus on Latin American protest/folk music from the second half of the 20th century for your Berry Summer Thesis Institute research?
I found a document about Latin America feminist theology and I started thinking about the time that Dr. Jaffe, my friend Lisa and I went to a Catholic church while we were in Argentina. They sang a protest song from the ‘60s, Gracias a la vida, and I started to think about how music that we would interpret as popular or secular could be used in a liturgical setting in Argentina. The blurring of that line is what gave me the idea.

What did you explore within these two genres?
I mostly focused on that one song, Gracias a la vida, and I looked at its role in a sacred setting due to the many religious overtones in its lyrics and performance. We had North American protest music at the same time, from singers like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, but their works are more separated from religion and more anti-war, so there wasn't very much overlap from what I noticed. What I tried to look at with the Latin American protest song was how this music can be used in a religious setting within these devoutly Catholic countries, as well as how Catholicism played a role within it.

How has the University of Dayton benefitted you?
I think the College of Arts and Sciences itself promotes a lot of growth. Being a liberal arts school, it also encourages students to go beyond how they are used to thinking and seeing the world. With UD being a perfect size, students have a chance to make an impact.

What are your long-term goals?
At this point, I know I am going to graduate school, I’m just not sure of which program I want to pursue. I want to look into doing a year of service after undergrad or to apply for the Fulbright scholarship. Long-term, I want to get as much education as possible and work in academia. It would actually be a dream to come back and teach at UD one day.

- Dawnn Fann ‘19

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