Make The Connection

December 23, 2021 | By Sarah Jonassen ’22

Ohio Wesleyan student Adrienne Wentling '22 enjoys a visit to Le Grande Roue de Montréal during her fall trip to Canada to research identity in French-speaking cultures. (Photos courtesy of Adrienne Wentling)

Francophone Feminism

Ohio Wesleyan Senior Conducts University-Supported Research in Montreal

Adrienne Wentling '22 is using her research in Montreal to combine her studies of French, Sociology-Anthropology, Psychology, and Women’s and Gender Studies into ‘a coherent examination of how language influences identity, and vice versa.’

Name: Adrienne Wentling ’22
Hometown: Westlake, Ohio
Majors: French, Sociology-Anthropology, and Psychology
Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
OWU Connection Experience: Researching “Francophone Feminism: An Examination of Montreal,” supported by an OWU Connection grant

Wentling spent her Thanksgiving Break traveling to Montreal, Québec, Canada, to conduct research on identity in French-speaking cultures through Ohio Wesleyan’s Small Grant Program, part of The OWU Connection. She was advised on the project by Mary Anne Lewis Cusato, Ph.D., associate professor of World Languages and Cultures.

“I chose this OWU Connection experience to further my research for my senior thesis, focusing on language, power, and identity in francophone contexts,” Wentling said. “My thesis combines my French, Sociology-Anthropology, Psychology, and Women’s and Gender Studies into a coherent examination of how language influences identity, and vice versa.”

Wentling traveled with Lily Callander ’22, who wrote personal narratives on discomfort.

What I Learned

“I learned a lot about indigenous and women's voices, the influence of power and language, as well as how important it is to fight for equality.”

Why These Experiences Matter 

International experiences are important for personal and professional growth, and this experience was an immense learning experience for me. It taught me humility, especially with my French language skills.

“Having taken French for eight years, I thought I was well-prepared to go to French-speaking Montreal. However, the language is spoken in a different dialect, and I found it difficult to use my French. When someone detected that I was not a native French speaker, they began speaking in English.

“At first, I was disheartened, but I quickly realized that it is important to make an effort to learn the language and speak what I could, and also to accept that I am learning, and it will not be perfect.

“Learning is not about perfection, it is about making mistakes and learning from them. In this way, this experience taught me a lot about myself, especially as a student and as a professional.” 

Why I Chose OWU

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan because of the incredible travel opportunities, small class sizes, and connections to the professors. In addition to these amazing opportunities, the new Marching Band also was influential in my decision to choose OWU.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I have accepted a position with City Year for the 2022-23 school year. With all of my career goals, I hope to do work that is meaningful and has a purpose. I am striving to help people and make a difference. OWU has been impactful in these goals, specifically the guidance and support from my professors. They have given me the tools and skills to succeed in anything I put my mind to.

“This experience has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the experiences of women in Montreal as well as Indigenous people. I hope to use this research to not only further my thesis, but use it to apply to graduate schools in the future.”