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Four UMN Morris Students to Present Research in Ireland

Four portraits of young women, juxtaposed. All are facing the camera and smiling.
Trina Vue ’20, Communications and Marketing
Publication date: 
January 29, 2020

Four University of Minnesota Morris students will present their research at the 70th Annual Irish History Students' Association (IHSA) conference in Dublin, Ireland, next month. Inspired by a conversation with author David Ebershoff, the students worked with Distinguished McKnight University Professor of English Michael Lackey to do serious research about the nature of biofiction. Their collaboration illustrates the kinds of opportunities students have at UMN Morris.

Uncovering Opportunities

Bailey Kemp '19, Claire Larson '20, Nora Lund '22, and Johannah Woodley '22 first became interested in researching Irish biofiction after enrolling in Lackey's class, where they read and analyzed biographical novels by Irish authors. Lackey urged them to submit their work to the conference.

"My students were doing such high-level work about biofiction that I encouraged them to consider submitting an abstract for a conference," says Lackey. "My hope is to inspire students to do the kind of research, presentations, and writing that we do as professors."

"I don't think I would have found this opportunity without the support and advice from Michael," says Kemp.

Close Collaboration

Lackey mentored the students as they worked together to refine their abstracts. He believes this kind of close partnership is what makes the UMN Morris experience so impactful.

"Our classes are small, so I can work closely with students," he says. "This is why I love Morris so much. Because we have so much contact with our students, we can make a real difference in their lives. And when our students succeed, that makes a huge difference on our lives as professors."

Kemp agrees, adding, "I feel incredibly lucky to have these opportunities as an undergrad, and even luckier to be in a place where the faculty and staff care so much about making these opportunities available and affordable."

"Going to an international conference is a huge honor and it's one of the great opportunities that the Morris campus offers," adds Larson.

To learn more about research opportunities at UMN Morris, visit

About the Irish History Students' Association

The Irish History Students' Association is the national association for third level history students in Ireland. Their annual conference consists of some of the best Irish based students, and those interested in Irish history internationally, who present papers to a well-read audience of undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers, academics, and many others. To learn more, visit

This activity was made possible by the English Discipline and the Division of the Humanities.