Symposium provides students with outlet to showcase their skills

By Shannon Keough
April 24, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

For some Cabrini students Tuesday, April 15 was nothing more than a day off from classes, but to many others it was a day in which they could engage themselves in a real professional experience. Tuesday was the second Undergraduate Art, Research, and Scholarship Symposium at Cabrini College.

“It’s a good opportunity to act professional,” Erin McCole, junior chemistry major and poster presenter, said. “It gives a chance to explain your research and build confidence.”

The symposium gave students the chance to do extensive research in their field of study and it created an outlet for them to show off their skills. “It’s [presenting at the symposium] is better than just handing it [the project] in,” Kristen Mariana, junior psychology major, said.

The day kicked off at the opening ceremony in Grace Hall that included a poster session as well as continental breakfast. Posters were set up throughout the atrium while students stood proud in their formal attire next to them. The posters represented the long hours, hard work and research that students put forth in an attempt to show other students and faculty members what they are capable of.

Other students participated in the event as observers. “All of the speakers are well-articulated and well-briefed in their subjects,” Matthew Leitch, junior biology major, said as he viewed the work of his fellow students.

While Dr. Charles McCormick, dean for academic affairs, wandered around the atrium, stopping to admire each students’ work, he was in complete awe by the entire collaboration. Although he was a mere “spectator,” he claimed to be “very impressed with the students” and thought they did a “fantastic job.”

The day continued with more presentations around campus. There were four session times ranging throughout the day. These presentations took place in different classrooms and everyone was welcome to attend. Some of these presentations were organized by major, common theme or classes such as Seminar 300.

The symposium wasn’t only to showcase research that juniors and seniors have done; there was a very diverse crowd that ranged from freshmen to seniors and included work that students have been working on for one semester to three semesters.

Not all of the students who took part in symposium were forced to do so by their professors. Onyinye Okorji, a freshman biology major, Allison Udris, a freshman psychology major and Laura Woods, a senior elementary and special education major, all presented on topics that were of importance to them and were not being graded.

Okorji spoke about how she came to the U.S. from Nigeria when she was 12 and now, 17, she plans to become a medical doctor here, then go back to Nigeria to open a hospital.

Udris spoke about her experience of working as a counselor at a summer camp in Baltimore. Her purpose was to persuade the audience that educational reform needs to be made in Baltimore.

Woods presented an educational packet that she created to motivate teachers to inform their students about different global issues, such as fair trade.

One of the presentations featured a Seminar 300 class that focuses on global social justice as well as the impact of communication outlets in fighting for justice. The students in the class concentrated on specific issues, including HIV/AIDS, Food Security, Micro-lending and Iraqi Refugees. Each group produced a various multimedia projects to raise awareness of the problems.

Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology, was responsible for organizing the symposium. During the poster session Dunbar said, “This is intellectualism at its greatest.” He thought the symposium was a unique experience for students to “think outside the box” because this was a campus-wide event and they were able to share their work with students and faculty in other departments as well as get feedback from them.

“It’s exciting to see their [the students’] creation of knowledge,” said Dr. John Cordes, an assistant professor of communication who helped coordinate the symposium.

Shannon Keough

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