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Gabriela Martins ’03 of Newark, N.J. is compiling a glossary for a late medieval French text, La Nef des folles by Jehan Drouyn. Martins is working as an EXCEL Scholar with Olga Anna Duhl, associate professor of foreign languages and literature. In EXCEL, students assist faculty members with research while earning a stipend.

“I’m putting together a glossary for this work,” says Martins, a double major in neuroscience and French. “There are many, many references to the Bible and to classical mythology, all of which are relevant and important to the story of this work.”

Widely read during the late 15th and 16th centuries, the text fell into obscurity over time. Together Martins and Duhl are revisiting it with a modern perspective.

“Among the things Gabriela is doing is comparing the text with a modern French translation, which is a very long and painstaking process,” says Duhl. “She is also identifying and researching the various classical and Biblical references throughout the work and has done a very thorough job.”

One of the biggest challenges faced by Martins is grappling with the archaic language.

“Late medieval French can be pretty hard to read sometimes. The spellings are different, and it’s written in Gothic print, but I love doing this,” she says. “It’s very interesting. This is really a great opportunity.”

Martins, who plans to attend graduate school for neuroscience, will study abroad in Dijon, France this fall and may tackle an honors thesis in French upon her return.

Martins volunteers for the March School, is a residence advisor, and is a member of the French Club.

Categorized in: Academic News