Symposium: Jamie Harker’s The Lesbian South

Harker speaking with enthusiasm to an audience member at her symposium.

Many of the best-received symposium at the University of Tampa offer something new and fascinating for students to explore alongside an expert in any given field. Of a plethora of rarely discussed topics, southern lesbian feminism was definitely something that few knew much, if anything, about. Yet Jamie Harker, author of The Lesbian South, offered the information with such experience, enthusiasm, and intrigue that most attendees left the talk with an altered perspective. Harker presented her findings on the southern subculture of lesbian feminist literature with vigor and passion. Fellow literary figure Trysh Travis describe her landmark scholarship below:


The fact that she writes not only with insight but also with genuine affection is sweet icing on a delicious—and much needed—cake.


If you happened to miss the symposium presentation you can still find her book The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon here.

Symposium: Mario Chard’s Land of Fire

Mario Chard discussing his flagstone book, Land of Fire

Born in Utah to an Argentinian immigrant mother and American father, author Mario Chard offers a unique and fascinating perspective on a variety of things. This becomes clear as you leaf through passages of his poetry, each more gritty and moving than the last. Land of Fire, his greatest work, has won a variety of notable accolades, from Tupelo Press’s 2016 Dorset Prize to Boston Review’s Discovery Poetry Award. The University of Tampa had the honor to host Chard recently, and students enjoyed a poetry reading and presentation from the author himself. The various Honors Symposia give students the opportunity to remain on the cutting edge of notable authors and scholars alike, many of them among the greats just as Mario Chard is.

Aquarium Assistance with Jessica Larson

Larson seated with one of the ambassador penguins at The Florida Aquarium

Seeking out your dreams and aspirations is an important aspect of college, yet one that most students save for graduation. Freshman honors student Jessica Larson, however, seized the opportunity the moment that one arrived. Rising from a impermanent assistant at the Halloween event to a consistent staff member, Larson was able to earn a position at The Florida Aquarium through persistence and perseverance.


Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to work at an aquarium in some way. When I came to college, I was originally going to wait a semester or two to adjust before getting involved in any extracurriculars. However, because I needed hours for my Pathways class, I decided to go for it. 

Now, she gets to work with a variety of animals, including otters, penguins, and lemurs. When something special comes around, never hesitate to chase after it!