Students present in Summer Research Symposium

by Ben Rodgers

Students, faculty and staff gather to learn about summer research projects

The past two Wednesdays, Oct. 23rd and 30th, the Simpson community has gathered for the Summer Research Symposium.

Inside Jordan Lecture Hall, biology professor Patricia Singer welcomed students, staff and faculty to Simpson College’s Summer Research Symposium. 

In her opening, Singer explained that when doing research, students are part of a story.  In the story, students are not the authors of the story. Instead they’re “discovering” the story. At Simpson’s Annual Summer Research Symposium, students who participated in summer research were able to tell those stories.

“It’s a chance for those who did summer research to come back to campus, a lot of them go off campus to do research, and then share the results of their research with the Simpson Community,” said Dr. Deb Czarneski, director of undergraduate research.

This summer, Simpson had 22 students participating in summer research, either on campus or at other institutions.

Unlike the Undergraduate Research Symposium, which has students from disciplines across campus, the Summer Research Symposium highlights research from only the biology, chemistry, environmental science and math departments.

On the 23rd, 10 students presented research, five of them in one large group in a lecture form.  The topics of the presentations ranged from research areas from DNA Origami to Prairie Land Restoration.

The second part of the symposium took place on the 30th and consisted of poster presentations, with 13 students presenting.  For the poster presentations, those in attendance had the opportunity to walk through Carver at their leisure to view students’ research and hear about their findings over the summer.

“It was really nice being able to stand up and talk about my experiences and the research that I’ve done,” said Andrew Dexter, senior biology and chemistry double major. “I’d given my presentation once before in Denmark, so it was really nice to be able to relive that experience again, except at Simpson.”

Michael Frank, a senior math and biology major, sees the Summer

Research Symposium as a great experience to excite both students and faculty on campus. 

“It gives the younger students and faculty something to look forward to,” Frank said. 

For Czarneski, the summer research symposium gives her a chance to see growth in her students.

“Sometimes I have these students when they’re first year students and they’re just learning the discipline,” Czarneski said. “Then to see them go off and do research at a large campus with people from across the United States and have them come back and see their growth and ability is wonderful.”