Research Symposium returns next week

by Sarina Rhinehart and David Talley

It’s time to honor excellence in research, scholarship and creativity at Simpson College again. The third annual Undergraduate Symposium is April 19 beginning at 8 a.m.

All classes will be canceled so students and faculty can watch as students present scholarly work through the presentation of posters, performances, papers and panel discussions.

“There are 27 talks or performances and 36 posters this year, many of which have multiple student authors,” said Clint Meyer, professor of biology and co-chair of the Symposium. “Participation has increased from last year.”

The goal of the Symposium is to give students the opportunity to explore a specific topic that interests them, investigate, research and analyze this topic and then communicate their results to others.

“Students gain many benefits from creating the work itself,” Meyer said. “Communicating the product of the work helps a student hone his/her communication skills. That student is an expert on something they have created, and the Symposium is a chance to explain/describe/perform that work to an audience of people that may not be familiar with that topic at all.”

The day will start with a breakfast in Carver atrium from 8-9 a.m. Starting at 9 a.m., Bian Li from the World Food Prize Organization will be the keynote speaker in Lekberg Hall. There will be several concurrent sessions at 10 a.m. across campus.

Following those sessions at 11 a.m., the honors lunch and convocation will be in Great Hall and the senior art reception will be in Farnum Gallery. Another set of sessions will be from 2:15-3:05 across campus, followed by a poster session and an awards ceremony in the lobby of Pote Theater.

Freshman Caitlin Dicus will be presenting a collection of poetry written for an English class at the Symposium.

“It’s kind of a collection of different things I’ve tried out this year as I’m growing into my new skin as a poet,” Dicus said. “I titled it ‘Freshman Frolicking’ because it literally is just me kind of playing around in the waters, remembering what it’s like to write again and why I love it. I’ve gained my obsession back, and I’m trying out anything and everything because I want to grow into the best poet I can.”

Dicus admits that she is nervous to read her work in front of a crowd but is also excited to present her poetry that she has worked on for months.

“As a poet, it’s very important for me to lose the fear of reading my work to an audience,” Dicus said. “I’d love to have the support of my peers and have them learn a little more about me as a person. Poetry is a large part of me, close to a religion almost, so I’d love to share that with others. I plan to show a large spectrum of my work from making fun of myself to some more traditional or serious work. It should be a good mix.”

Junior Antonio Reyes will also present poetry that he created in his short poetry and writing workshop classes. This will be his second year presenting at the Symposium.

“What I got out of my presentation at the Symposium was a sense of confidence,” Reyes said. “By that, I mean that the hard work that I had put into the written piece and the presentation itself was being valued by the Simpson community. Those that attended my presentation last year congratulated me and showed their appreciation for the work as a whole which means a lot to me and anyone else who presents at the Symposium.”

Reyes recommends that students attend the Symposium because it is a great opportunity to see other Simpson students present amazing projects that they have worked very hard on. Reyes will be presenting during the afternoon session in Madsen Room.

“Students should come down with an open mind and take a seat and relax as engaging poetry fills their ears,” Reyes said.