News

Symposium Day: An Educational Day Off

BETH HANSON, News Editor

 

Thursday, April 12 marks both a day off from class and the largest spring Symposium Day ever, with 87 presentations.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors will present 20-minute symposiums in six venues throughout the day. The earliest presentations will begin at 8:35 a.m., with the latest starting at 4:50 p.m.

Darrah Chavey, associate professor of math and computer science and coordinator of Symposium Day, said, “The symposium represents the best of what we do at Beloit: students being inspired by their teachers, their readings or other things they’ve learned here—and then going a step beyond that.”

All symposiums are the result of student research, whether it was a recent semester- or year-long project, a semester abroad, or an internship. Provost and Dean of the College Ann Davies believes that such projects are “profound experiences” for both students and their faculty mentors.

“It’s one thing to conceptualize and write a really good research project,” Davies said. “It’s another to think about how to distill it into a compelling public presentation to an audience. That kind of translation is an art unto itself and an incredibly valuable one to practice again and again and again.”

This year, topics include a comparison of American and Turkish feminism, a study of male soccer players’ spit, music therapy as a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and studies in steampunk.

Students who participated in the Jamaica Field School will individually present on their research in a series of eight presentations starting at 8:35 a.m. Five students currently taking IDST 201 will reflect on their fall 2011 study abroad experiences through digital storytelling at 4:25 p.m. Both series are in Richardson Auditorium, Morse-Ingersoll Hall.

One of the benefits of Symposium Day is that it’s inspirational. Davies said, “To me one of the best things about Symposium Day is the way it sparks possibilities—students thinking to themselves, ‘I want to do something like that; I can do something like that.’”

Chavey echoed, “Students who go to these talks learn what their friends have been doing, learn little nuggets from many disciplines, from all over the world, and often learn that they too could do something like this.”

Look for the symposium booklets in your mailboxes today for more information on the presentations.

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