Note: The following is adapted from a news release from Muhlenberg College’s Department of News & Media Relations.
The Allentown Band is the oldest community concert band–meaning composed of local volunteers–in the United States. It played when the College’s first president was inaugurated in 1867, and it has performed at the last 47 commencements.
A long-term goal is to get funding to digitize the band’s archives, and the first step in that direction began this summer with the help of Helen Ranieri-Cordes ’21, of Hellertown, who is a double major in business and media & communication. She catalogued 2,400 items over eight weeks, working through framed photos and binders full of old programs.
Ranieri-Cordes worked with special collections and archives librarian Susan Falciani Maldonado who asked, “As a community partner, what expertise can Muhlenberg offer to this historic local treasure?”
The answer to that question turned out to involve sifting through the band’s materials–which include mostly framed photos and binders full of historic programs–and logging approximately 2,400 cataloged items in a Google Sheet that is organized by year.
“Being able to do community outreach helps me with personal skills,” said Ranieri-Cordes. “For what I’m doing and what I hope to do, to be able to push yourself in a different way and tell a story and make personal connections will get you far.”
More than 60 students are collaborating with faculty on a variety of research projects this summer as part of Muhlenberg’s vibrant research community. Topics can be student- or faculty-driven, and span the natural and social sciences, humanities and arts.
Students are typically on campus for 8-10 weeks of full-time research and receive a stipend, housing and college credit.
The undergraduate research participants join in a weekly summer seminar series in which students discuss their work and an annual poster session allows students to present their work to the campus community at large. Students may also travel off-campus to present their scholarly work in their discipline at regional, national and international conferences, with travel funds provided by the school.
Many students take the opportunity to continue their summer research during the academic year by registering for independent study credit or a research assistantship under the guidance of a faculty member. These programs provide hands-on experience with a faculty mentor to complement their classroom education with practical work experience.
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. The College is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports.