“Latter-day Saint Women and Scripture: A Student Symposium” features insights from the research of Maxwell Institute student research assistants. Each presentation is mentor-guided and student inspired—grounded in larger research assignments from Maxwell Institute faculty and researchers, but representing the students’ own inspiration and thought.
We invite interested university and community members to celebrate the achievements of these students, as well as the achievements of our foremothers in faith.
SESSION I—Women and the Early Christian Material World
9:30 am–10:30 am
Dr. Catherine Taylor, chair
Kris Kryscynski, “The Power of Prophecy: Images of Women Teaching in Early Christianity”
Kris is a second year Master’s student at Brigham Young University in Comparative Arts and Letters. Her research interests center around female engagement with sixteenth-century devotional art, particularly in understanding how women perceived themselves in relation to Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Allison Foster, “Done in Good Faith: Exploring the Acts and Legacy of Saint Thecla, A Disciple of Christ”
Allison is a senior majoring in Art History and Curatorial Studies, and minoring in Global Women’s Studies. Her interests include American Women in Architecture, particularly those who practiced in the early 20th century. Allison enjoys studying historic material culture and discussing what it can teach us about the lives of those who came before us. She hopes to one day be a professor of Art History.
Meredith Hanna, “Household of Heresy: Early Christian Anxieties and the Faithful Noblewoman”
Meredith is a Senior majoring in Art History with a minor in French. She has completed internships at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and Christie’s, and a fellowship at the BYU Museum of Art, and conducted research funded by grants from the BYU Library and Humanities College. Her research interests include fashion, new media, and Mormon studies.
Josie Ableman, “Mater Ecclesiae: Exploring Mary, Archetype of the Church in Word and Image”
Josie is a first year graduate student in the Comparative Studies program. Her emphasis in the program is art history. Her research interests include Medeival and Renaissance depictions of the Man of Sorrows and its connections to thresholds and devotion.
SESSION II—Women and Scriptural Exegesis
10:45 am–12:00 pm
Dr. Deidre Green, chair
Mallory Jones Oniki, “Doth Not Wisdom Cry?”
Mallory is from Provo, Utah. She served a mission in Long Beach, California which is where she met her husband! She is a foodie through and through and has won two BYU intramural basketball championships. She is a senior in the Finance program and interned at JP Morgan last summer. She loves balancing her business degree with religious studies. She has been a Maxwell Institute research assistant for Fiona Givens since September of 2019. She has thoroughly enjoyed the research she has done thus far on Heavenly Mother and the Spirit. She is passionate about Heavenly Mother and tries to speak of Her often.
Sydney Ballif, “Reimagining Eve: The Early Judeo-Christian Tradition”
Sydney is a sophmore at BYU studying interdisciplinary humanities with an emphasis in philosophy. She is excited by the learning process and has found a plethora of opportunities to integrate her academic endeavors with the ideas and projects she is part of in her religious study. Her faith and intellect continue to blossom as she tries to live her faith and refine her craft of scholarship. She aspires to take a seat at the table of interfaith dialogue and be part of the conversation on culture and religion are interconnected. After serving her mission in Thailand she became interested in understanding the relationship between Eastern and Western traditions and exploring the great overlap they share. She enjoys Russian literature, the summer time, and spending time with her family.
Emily Ostler, “Mother in Israel: What Deborah Teaches About Deliverance”
Emily is a senior studying international relations and international development, with an emphasis in Asian politics and history. Her experiences performing research and studying in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East have left her with a conviction of religion’s continually profound impact in global society and in the lives of individuals. Therefore, upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in religious studies, focusing on the role of religion in international development.
Kayla Bach, “Role Models for Feminine Identity: Women of the Scriptures in the Relief Society Magazine”
Kayla is an undergraduate at Brigham Young University studying sociology and Global Women’s Studies. She is the editor-in-chief of A Woman’s Experience, the Global Women’s Studies student journal. Outside of her academic life, she is the co-founder of a project called Seeking Heavenly Mother, which invites individuals to acquire knowledge about Heavenly Mother from scholarly and artistic sources. At BYU, Kayla has worked as a research assistant, focusing on women in the scriptures. Her current plan after graduation is to go to divinity school, where she hopes to study the intersection of women, religion, and understandings of authority.
Britta Adams, “‘Build up the Kingdom’: How Latter-day Saint Women use Interpretation, Experience, and Authority to Create Community”
Britta graduated from BYU in April of 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Since then, she has worked at UVU’s Writing Center as a Writing Fellow and graduate tutor. There, she helped students develop writing skills and succeed in writing focused courses. She also led GRE prep workshops and assisted students as they worked on graduate school applications. She recently started working as a research assistant on the Joseph Smith Papers project at the Church History Library, and is passionate and excited about the work.
12:00 pm–1:00 pm
SESSION III—Nineteenth Century Women and Scripture in Relationship
1:00 pm–2:30 pm
Dr. Janiece Johnson, chair
Audrey Saxon, “Lucy Mack Smith: Claiming Spiritual Authority through the Book of Mormon”
Audrey grew up in Redmond Oregon and graduated from Brigham Young University in 2018 with a BA in English and minors in Latin and Women Studies. Currently, she is a graduate student at The Pennsylvania State University where she studies medieval literature, especially texts written in Middle English during the 14th century, and she will graduate with her Masters in English Literature this spring. She plans to continue her studies at Penn State as a doctoral student in the fall.
Olivia Moskot, “Mary E. Lightner: Presumption, Desire, and the Pursuit of Gold”
Olivia is originally from Marion, Iowa. She is an English major with a minor in Theoretical and Applied Ethics, both of which she uses to pursue and apply studies in contemporary feminist theory as pertaining to psychological trauma and human vulnerability. She plans to continue her education through graduate school and eventually go on to teach literary criticism and/or moral philosophy in a university setting.
Emma Croft, “A Record Kept Among You: Patty Sessions and the Enduring Power of Mundanity”
Emma is an English major from Everett, Washington. She is interested in studying marginalized voices in history and literature, with particular focus on racial, sexual, and gender minorities in Mormonism. She plans to begin a master’s in creative writing next fall.
Elizabeth Broderick, “Jane Manning James: Scriptural Interpretation of Restoration and Race”
Elizabeth is originally from Fullerton, California and now lives in South Jordan, Utah. She served a mission in Jacksonville, Florida from 2015-2017. She is an American Studies major and History minor, with emphases in constitutional rights and world religions. Elizabeth interned over the summer for Stand Up Republic, a national grassroots lobbying organization in Washington, D.C. promoting electoral reform and representative multicultural democracy, and continues to be deeply involved in current events and political activism. After graduating this April, she plans to pursue a graduate degree and ultimately write about the intersection of religion and politics and the protection of First Amendment rights. She has especially enjoyed researching the role of the Book of Mormon in early Latter-day Saint women’s religious group consciousness and rhetoric.
Garrett Maxwell, “In the Words of Nephi: The Composition of a Female Visionary Account”
Garrett is from Idaho, where he learned to love the mountains and deserts almost as much as the library. He is majoring in Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic with interests in languages and comparative literature/theology, specifically scriptural hermeneutics.