About

The Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium is an annual symposium hosting students from across the nation interested in presenting their scholarship. It is the first conference of its kind: there has been no other national platform for undergraduates in the humanities to share their work. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been held virtually. The third annual Macksey Symposium will likewise be held virtually, April 8th-10th. We are currently accepting applications.

Johns Hopkins University has long been a hub of humanities research and innovation. We are proud to welcome students from across the country to become a part of this rich history.

For its third year, the Macksey Symposium will be presenting a private virtual speaking engagement for our conference participants. This year, we welcome award-winning poet Elisabet Velasquez, author of the recently released When We Make It, as our keynote speaker. The conference will include research presentations from up to 600 undergraduates, and the opportunity to submit a paper to the Macksey Journal, where it will be peer-reviewed with one-on-one editing help.

We welcome applications from undergraduates currently enrolled at any two- or four-year college, university, or community college. Conference presentations will be a maximum of ten minutes long and can consist of reading a paper (approximately 1,200-1,500 words), presenting a PowerPoint slideshow, reciting an original piece of creative writing or poetry, or even showing an original short film. We are excited to showcase undergraduate students’ undergraduate research across the humanities and in a variety of formats.


Symposium Staff

Natalie Strobach

Natalie Strobach, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Research
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Strobach directs the undergraduate research programs for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is founder of the Humanities Collaboratory at Johns Hopkins, a summer research initiative for visiting community college and HBCU students, and a member of the Homewood Council on Inclusive Excellence. The creation of a national humanities symposium has been one of her long-time goals, and she is thrilled that Hopkins can be its home. She did her doctoral work in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California Davis, where she was a University of California Provost’s Fellow. She was also a postdoctoral researcher at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. A low-income and first-generation student herself, Dr. Strobach recognizes the access that undergraduate research can grant to a burgeoning scholar. As undergraduate researcher in the McNair Scholars Program, Dr. Strobach went on to work with two McNair programs, most recently directing the program at the University of Wisconsin, before coming to Johns Hopkins.


Julie Lirot, Ph.D
Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences


Caitlin Larracey, Ph.D
2022 Director of the Macksey Symposium; Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Program Design and Student Mentoring
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Larracey completed her PhD in the English department at the University of Delaware. She is a writing studies and higher education scholar, interested especially in cross-campus connections, educational justice, and institutional equity. During her doctoral work, where she asked questions about the circulating and counterstories around first-year writing on a research university’s two-year branch campus, Dr. Larracey collaborated with undergraduate researchers-graduates of that two-year campus. As someone whose journey through higher education has been shaped by her own experiences as an undergraduate researcher, and her mentorship of undergraduate researchers, Dr. Larracey is excited to continue to learn with student-researchers at Hopkins as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Program Design and Student Mentoring and the 2022 Director of the Macksey Symposium.