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Recent IC grad to present at humanities conference


Cressie Halberg ’20 finished her Illinois College degree last month, but she has some unfinished business from her undergraduate career.

Halberg will present her senior seminar paper "Society's Role in Guilty Moms: The Perfect Mother vs. The Disabled Mother" at an Illinois Wesleyan University humanities conference this month. Halberg’s degree is in English with a concentration in editing and publishing and two minors — Spanish and entrepreneurship. Her paper was inspired by her interest in women’s health.

“It is about the way that the image of the perfect mother that society promotes is damaging to mothers, especially those who are disabled or struggle with mental illness,” she said. “My paper also concludes that the perfect mother is a myth. My research included reading four primary texts written by disabled mothers and researching the main ideals of mothering that society promotes.”

MUSE: An Undergraduate Humanities+ Conference is a day-long conference Jan. 25 organized by Illinois Wesleyan University’s humanities fellows and the university’s chapters of Sigma Tau Delta and Sigma Delta Pi honor societies. More than 40 presentations by undergraduate students from across the region will cover a variety of topics in the humanities, creative writing, poetry, fiction and drama. Additionally, panel discussions will be held on professions in the humanities and the process of having a book published and a keynote address will be given by Professor Andrew Delbanco of Columbia University.

Halberg wrapped up her IC career in December. Outside of the classroom, she participated in the cheer team and theatre performances; was an officer for the English Club and Environmentalists of Illinois College; held on-campus jobs working with the English Department and the College's grant writer, Melissa Pantier; and traveled to Cuba during summer 2018 BreakAway. 

Halberg plans to pursue a career in publishing by beginning with a position as a medical scribe, which she said will bring her love of reading and writing together with her interest in women’s health. In January, she begins training to become a certified doula.

To learn more about the English Department at Illinois College, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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