Mount St. Joseph University

A Nontraditional Spring Break for a Traditional Student

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Monica Brucher

File Under: dateline

This past month, I was awarded the Thrailkill Student Scholar Research Fund and was able to attend the Center for Learning and Development’s Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning conference in New Orleans, La. This scholarship aided in my attendance fee and lodging for the conference, held over the Mount’s spring break—March 13 through 15.

The conference covered a wide variety of topics that would interest education majors—how to teach informational text writing, how to plan small group work stations, inclusive active participation, and much more. Big names in learning and literacy (names that might mean nothing to the average person) such as Anita Archer, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey spoke to us on varying topics—the biggest speaker name was Wes Moore. Moore authored the book The Other Wes Moore and his speech focused around the extraordinary teachers that helped him along his journey. Being in the presence of these impressive leaders in learning and literacy was an honor for a junior in college.

This was a unique opportunity for an undergrad to attend, and I thank my success in my scholarship proposal to my reading professor Jan Maltinsky for insisting I apply for this opportunity and for writing my recommendation letter. I have been very vocal about the Thrailkill Student Scholar Research Fund since my acceptance—most of my classmates are unaware of this opportunity the Mount has given us. This scholarship was the legacy of former Mount President Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill, and it’s a gift to Mount students.

It was not a traditional spring break by any means (not only because it was 50 degrees and cloudy in New Orleans) but I wouldn’t have traded the professional experience and academic value I gained from this conference opportunity for any other trip. I’m happy to be able to return to the Mount and share a great deal of my newfound information with several classes and other professors—so they can in turn share the information with their students. Being able to share this newfound knowledge has been a great reward of being granted the scholarship.

You can obtain more information about the Plain Talk Reading Conference at