What is a memory?
How does our brain create and store memories?
Why should we remember anything?
This year’s Honors Institute featured a day-long symposium on the “Intersections of Memory.” The 150-plus participants heard from a variety of presenters, including historians, psychologists, archivists and high school students.
“The theme applies to such a wide range of people,” said junior history major Sarah Aisenbrey, one of the institute’s student assistants. “Everyone has memories, and those memories shape our lives.”
Presented by the Wright State University Honors Program, the symposium included six breakout sessions. During one session, Oakwood High School students presented their documentary, Perspectives on Dayton: The Riots of the 1960s. During another, Wright State psychology professors explained how we store memories and how we can lose them.
“We always try to look at a topic from an interdisciplinary perspective,” said Susan Carrafiello, director of the honors program. “We hope that people leave thinking about memory in multiple ways.”
“As a historian myself, I was drawn to the theme,” she said. “Memory is very important to our view of history.”
Wright State alumna and creative entrepreneur Monaqui Porter-Young gave the institute’s luncheon address. She recounted some of her personal memoirs, telling the audience stories from her international travels and the founding of her organic tea company.
Porter-Young also encouraged students to follow their dreams and not to feel bound by their major.
“There is no script,” she said. “If something doesn’t exist, make it happen.”
This annual event is part of a multi-track learning experience available to honors students. Classes are offered during Winter Quarter that complement the theme of the institute. For example, this year students could take a course on memoir literature or world wars in modern history. The symposium itself is designed to expose students to a scholarly conference setting.