School of Education faculty Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, Director of the Louisiana State University Writing Project and the Coordinator of the Grades 1-5 Teachers Education Program, recently participated in the Earnest Oberholtzer Foundation’s Individual Artists’ and Writers’ week-long retreat on Mallard Island. Earnest Oberholtzer was an early environmentalist and founding member of the Wilderness Society whose legacy Foundation maintains the island much as it was during his lifetime. The highly-competitive honor was the result of Sulentic Dowell’s strong application to participate. Typically, eight to 10 participants are selected annually to spend a week on Mallard Island, an island located in the Rainey Lake Watershed situated in international waters a half mile off the coast of Ontario and the Boundary Waters Wilderness Preserve. Literacy giants such as Louise Erdrich, prominent Native American author, has been a past participant of the prestigious honor.
The purpose of the Oberholtzer Foundation’s Individual Artists’ and Writers’ retreat is to support the work of artists and writers in an intensive week-long experience that provides the focused space to work individually yet within a community of like-minded scholars and artists who offer feedback and critique. For Sulentic Dowell, who earned full professor status recently, the retreat offered the space and time to focus on her next major project, an autoethnography of her experiences as a top-level school district administrator during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“The backdrop, Mallard Island, home to Earnest Oberholtzer’s amazing book collection, archival photographs, and Ojibway artifacts was inspirational, but I recognize not everyone could appreciate the Island backdrop – no connectivity, no cell phone reception, composting outhouses, and rustic housing,” explained Sulentic Dowell, “but I thrived in the isolated setting, focusing my efforts without the distractions of daily living and completing six chapters of a book.”
"Professor Margaret Mary Sulentic Dowell is a highly talented faculty member in the LSU School of Education,” stated Dr. F. Neil Mathews, Director of the School of Education. "The School is proud of her accomplishments, including her selection to participate in the Oberholtzer Foundation's Individual Artists' and Writers' Retreat."
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.
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The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.
Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at lsu.edu/chse