Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education Professor, Attends Oberholtzer Foundation Artists and Writers Retreat on Remote Mallard Island

September 19, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA - In August, Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD, Cecil "Pete" Taylor endowed professor, participated in the Earnest Oberholtzer Foundation's Individual Artists’ and Writers’ Week Retreat on remote Mallard Island. 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 space to work individually yet within a community of like-minded scholars and artists. Mallard Island is an ecologically fragile island in the Rainey Lake watershed, located between International Falls, MN and Ontario, Canada. Internet is spotty, composting toilets are used, water is filtered from Rainey Lake, and participants spend their week in rustic structures originally commissioned by Oberholtzer, an early United States (U.S.) environmentalist and founding member of the Wilderness Society.

Sulentic DowellAs the Director of the Louisiana State University Writing Project and Coordinator of the School of Education’s PhD program in PK-12 Educational Leadership, Sulentic Dowell was honored her proposal was considered and the subsequent invitation to participate in the program for the third time. Sulentic Dowell’s participation at the prestigious Oberholtzer Foundation’s yearly retreat is one of the many distinctive recognition awards that she has received the past few years.

Sulentic Dowell’s research centers on the intersectionality of literacy, leadership, and urban education. However, in spring 2022, Sulentic Dowell was awarded a sabbatical wherein she investigated the body of work of Paul Witty, a literacy giant, and for the first time in her career, explored archival research. During the August 2023 retreat, Sulentic Dowell focused on researching and highlighting the archival work of Margaret Elizabeth Thomas (Mardy) Murie, an environmentalist and conservationist who was instrumental in establishing the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

“The rugged setting of Mallard Island was both inspiring and stimulating,” Sulentic Dowell stated, “As a Feminist, I was intrigued by Murie’s corpus of work. She was researching and working right there beside several prominent U.S. environmentalists such as Bob Marshall (after whom the Bob Marshall Wilderness is named) and Oberholtzer, who was instrumental in establishing protection of the Minnesota-Ontario border including Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, Quetico Provincial Park, Voyagers National Park, as well as Isle Royale National Park, but she received limited credit. Murie’s work was certainly equal to other conservationists and environmentalists, but the mentality of the 1930’s ignored women’s contributions to science.” As a result of her participation in the Artists’ and Writers’ Week, Sulentic Dowel is working on both an academic article as well as a children book about Murie.

About Lutrill & Pearl Payne LSU School of Education (SOE)

A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, the SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in Instructional Coaching, educational technology, and urban & community education, the SOE offers a writing pedagogy minor, and a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. Visit the LSU Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education.

About LSU College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE)

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 Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan. Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education.