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Milne Library Scholar

Academic Year 2023-2024 Cohort

Name: Margaret (Peg) Engasser

Major: Museum Studies   

School: Cooperstown Graduate Program


By the end of the 2024 school year, I will translate the book, El Museo De Ciencia Transformador (“The Transformative Science Museum”), from its original Spanish to American English. The book’s premise is that a visit to a science museum can and should be much more than an afternoon’s entertainment, or even “learning experience”. Visiting a science museum should change people.

The book’s author bases his work on the use of the “museographic language”, which is what makes museums unique. No other mode of communication can reach people in quite the same way a museum can. Learning a new language takes time and diligent effort, but until now, professionals in contemporary science museums had no tools to help them. They were left to design their own professional paths using existing resources, which focus on operating science museums as the sites of school field trips and destinations to visit on a rainy afternoon. Just as when learning to speak any language, picking it up here and there is ineffective, and takes a lifetime. (My own journey to learn Spanish is an example.) If science museums are to contribute to 21st century society, then those who design museums and museum programming must be trained first to think of themselves as agents of transformation, and then to use the museographic language to design museums and museum programs to inspire visitors to learn, and to act.

This book will unite science museum professionals around a common understanding of their potential.


Name: Tuuli Hoaas

Major: Family and Consumer Sciences/Adolescent Education

School: Education, Human Ecology, and Sports Studies


Over the last few centuries, students with disabilities, now collectively referred to as exceptional students, have endured systemic neglect and suffered severe violations of their rights within the education system. These students were too often placed in institutions and asylums, driven by a lack of understanding and pervasive discrimination by educational professionals. As we move away from the events that once sparked outrage and prompted legislative change, it becomes significant to acknowledge and remember the painful history of abuse experienced by individuals with disabilities to ensure they never reoccur. My research will compose of a comprehensive exploration of studies and media written in the 20th and 21st century, offering a contrast between the prejudiced treatment and instruction of exceptional students with current educational framework designed to promote inclusivity and equity. This study aims to contribute a better understand of the challenges faced by students with disabilities in the past and how it’s led to the classrooms we have today.


Name: Emily Petramale

Major: Adolescence Education: Mathematics

School: School of Sciences


During the Fall 2023 semester, I will be completing an independent study revolving around an ancient medieval board game, Rithmomachia. The goal of the course is to produce an article that will be published by Convergence, an online peer-reviewed journal of the Mathematical Association of America, as their editorial board has already expressed interest in the subject. The article will explore the history of Rithmomachia, the mathematical origins of the numbers involved in the board game as well as its connections to Medieval European society. Additionally, the article will provide insight into how Rithmomachia was utilized in ancient classrooms, with a focus on its connection to a recent hot topic in mathematics education: gamification. This project will add to the research on the history of gamification and provide detailed steps for utilizing elements of games to captivate the attention of today's highly diverse student population in primary, secondary and post-secondary education settings. In collaboration with the art department, the goal is to build a physical copy of the board game from scratch using plywood and a laser cutter. This will serve as a visual model for the project with the hopes of hosting a game night with the math club at some point.

Inaugural Cohort (2022-23)

Name: Dorothea Caposito 

Major: English

School: Liberal Arts and Business


This study will examine queerness as it relates to horror and the “other” in 19th-century English society. While the main focus of the study is a close reading of literature, a New historical lens will be used to explore the author's background as well as the culture of Victorian England in relation to the novels. Gothic Horror of the Victorian age, including The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula, and Frankenstein highlights the way authors have expressed either recognized or unrecognized “otherness” through their writing in a socially acceptable, widespread way.

Name: Gabriel Mora 

Major: Computer Science/Mathematics

School: School of Science


a² + b² = c², popularized as the “Pythagorean Theorem,” has been known since the Ancient Babylonians. The most basic example of this would be for the integers {3,4,5}, ex: 3² + 4² = 5². This is what's known as a "Primitive Pythagorean Triple." There's also {6, 8, 10} and {9,12,15}. The previous two set of integers are known as, “Non-Primitive Triples.” It is known that there is an infinite amount of both Primitive and Non-Primitive Pythagorean Triples. Euclid of Alexandria found a formula that always results in a Pythagorean Triple. The formula says, for any whole integers where m>n>0 and m and n must be relatively prime, {2mn; m²-n²; m²+n²}, will give the sides of a triangle that satisfies the Pythagorean theorem). After creating my own C++ program that implements Euclid's formula, I am focusing strictly on the inputs m and n that are used to create these triangles. As an example: when inputting in my program 2,1 (where m stores the value of 2 and n stores 1), I get an output of 3, 4, 5. While also studying a known list of the first 100-1000 Primitive Pythagorean Triples, I'll be looking at any relationships, inconsistencies etc. about the relationship between m and n solutions and a, b, c solutions of Pythagorean Triples. 

Name: Samantha Kaminski 

Major: Adolescent Education/English

School: School of Education, Human Ecology, and Sports Studies


The use of derogatory language has been a staple in American language dating back to before the 15th century, but how has that language changed to fit the modernized agenda of Americans today? With the new wave of feminism in America, and across the world, we see a shift in language like never before. Words that were once seen as derogatory are sparking new meanings and making headlines. The reclaiming of words that were once offensive may be feminisms biggest stride yet. In this research project, I will explore this shift of language with connection to the new wave of feminism in order to examine the effects on women of the 21st century in relation to hot topics such as body and sex positivity.

Name: Katherine Novko       

Major: Museum Studies

School: Cooperstown Graduate Program


The goal of this thesis is to utilize material culture to introduce discussions of broader historical themes. Using one object—a clock in the collection at Hyde Hall in Springfield, NY—as a case study of this method of interpretation, I will explore how objects within historic house museums might be leveraged to enrich and complicate the interpretation presented to audiences. In this case, the clock allows for a better understanding of complex social and economic systems that operated within the Atlantic world in the early nineteenth century.

Studying the personal financial context of George Clarke, builder of Hyde Hall, as well as the social context and industry of consumption, allows me to explore broader meanings related to Clarke’s purchasing habits. George Clarke constructed a domestic environment at Hyde Hall rife with material culture chosen to convey a sense of authority and reinforce his personal identity as an elite member of society while occupying a remote location in Otsego County.