On November 4, doctoral candidate Rachael Vause presented "Embodiment of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England" at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association in St. Pete Beach, Florida.
Rachael writes: "On a chilly November morning I left Philadelphia and the SEPTA strike behind and set out for sunny Florida to present my first paper, Embodiment of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England, at the 82nd meeting of the Southern Historical Association. I arrived in Tampa on the 3rd and after a stop at the Salvador Dali Museum, I joined members of the European History Section at a gathering on St. Pete Beach. This year marked the first time the group had extended its ranks to medievalists, and I was honored by the invitation to speak. It seemed an ideal start to a productive weekend of making professional connections on a variety of levels. But, as I was to discover the following morning, not everything can be a stroll on the beach. I’d planned for all eventualities; I’d brought a laptop, a flash drive, and a laser pointer and arrived thirty minutes before the start of my session, only to find that the room was not equipped with AV--a vital component of any art historical presentation. The request had been mislaid and it rapidly became clear that no equipment was available for the session. Our makeshift solution? Print outs of the slides from my PowerPoint presentation, distributed to the audience. The black and white copies did little justice to the gleaming gold artifacts featured in my slideshow, and the oversight challenged my usually enthusiastic demeanor. In that moment I had to choose between a reactionary response (however warranted), or to meet an unanticipated obstacle with poise, grace, and quick, creative thinking. I chose the latter and was rewarded by an audience full of curiosity regarding my unfamiliar paper topic. Professionalism is forged through experience, whether easy or arduous; to quote my beloved Churchill, 'an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.'"