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`Time of Silence, With Company'


Bunting fellows may pursue very different projects during their year at the institute, but all of the 1989-90 fellows have one thing in common: wholehearted praise for what the Bunting Institute offers them on both a personal and a professional level.

According to fellow Marie Howe, a year at the Bunting Institute is "a time of silence, but with company."

Howe, a poet whose book The Good Thief was selected for the 1987 National Poetry Series, describes the positive atmosphere at the institute as "contagious."

"Someone's always brimming over with some-thing they've just read, something they've seen or someone they've talked to," she says. "Everyone's very eager to share."

According to Sheila Ffolliott, an art historian who is researching attitudes in the visual arts toward queens during the Renaissance, "Women tend to be interested in issues that men tend to think of as peripheral."

At the institute, Ffolliott says there is a strong sense of support for trying new approaches.

"It reassures you about the whole academic endeavor," she says.

Adele J. Wolfson, a biochemist, says the fellowship program encourages women to look at different issues in their studies.

"It really validates the things women do that are outside the mainstream of academia, and I don't think there are many places that do that," Wolfson says.

Despite their unqualified enthusiasm for the Bunting program, many fellows seem reluctant about spending their time with undergraduates.

Although she says she enjoys teaching undergraduates, Howe says she views the fellowship as a year-long break from her teaching job. Since the nature of her work does not require research assistants, she says more contact with undergraduates "is not something I'm eager to do."

Although Wolfson says she is happy to talk to undergraduates about women in science, she says she would find other obligations "unwelcome."

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