Wooster’s 2023 Senior Research Symposium encompasses individual achievement and shared celebration
The College of Wooster celebrated its 16th annual Senior Research Symposium showcasing the work of seniors on Independent Study (I.S.), their intensive, mentored-research projects during the 2022-23 academic year. In this culmination of their research, scholarship, and creative expression, students gave live presentations, poster sessions, and shared their work virtually on the College’s website.
“I love public speaking, so it was great to have a platform to do this,” said Alice Markey, whose research in sociology and environmental studies focused on cohousing in Denmark. She enjoyed presenting as well as supporting her friends throughout the day as they shared their I.S. projects. “Being able to engage how you want to and personalize the experience both for your research this past year but also how you’re presenting is really awesome. Here’s your chance to engage with your peers.”
The symposium featured 176 posters displayed on the indoor track of the Scot Center, over 100 virtual projects on Wooster.edu, and more than 60 live presentations and demonstrations in five locations on campus, including gallery talks at The College of Wooster Art Museum. The different presentation forms gave students the opportunity to present their work in a way that is meaningful for them and for their projects. “It was great to show how you can have an Independent Study project that is very different from the norm,” said Shane Louis, a history major who developed a podcast about Blues songwriting in the 1960s and presented alongside two other students with digitally oriented projects. “We had two websites and a podcast, and I think a lot of people think, ‘Oh, this is just a big, hundred-page paper,’ and it’s not just that. It can be so much more.”
Louis was one of many students to receive awards for their projects at the symposium. A panel of judges made up of faculty and staff at the College selected several award winners from the many outstanding projects. Megan Conklin, who also received the Critical Digital Engagement Award, highlighted the connection between cultural and intersectional feminism and women’s music. “I am really happy to be recognized for the achievement,” she said. “The work that I did really tries to advance voices that don’t typically get shared, and I’m honored to be able to do the work to share the voices of people that don’t always get shared.” A full list of award winners is included below.
Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Awards:
- Zoe Seymore — (Psychology, advised by Amber Garcia) Overlooked Adoptees: The Effects of COVID-19 Racism and Ethnic Identity on the Psychological Well-Being of Chinese Transracial Adoptees in the United States (in-person oral presentation)
- Kate Larson — (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Psychology, advised by Zareen Thomas, Amber Garcia, and Katie Holt) Breaking Out From Binaries Behind Bars: How Structural Identity Denial Influences Pro/Anti-Social Reactionary Responses and Corresponding Psycho-Social Experiences Inside and Outside the Prison Industrial Complex (in-person oral presentation)
- Glenna Van Dyke — (History and Education, advised by Katie Holt) On This Land: Digital Indigenous History in Wayne County, Ohio (in-person oral presentation)
Dr. Melissa Schultz Sustainability and the Environment Awards:
- Lily Anderson — (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, advised by Jennifer Faust) Measurement & Analysis of Pesticide Biotransformation Products in Ohio Precipitation Samples (in-person poster presentation)
- Hope Carmody — (Urban Studies and Psychology, advised by Hamed Goharipour and Heather Fitz Gibbon) Post-Disaster Urban Reconstruction’s Effect on Mental Health: A Case Study of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Residents (in-person poster presentation)
- Emily Hasecke — (Psychology and Political Science, advised by Susan Clayton and Matthew Krain) Think Globally, Act Locally, Panic Internally: Climate Anxiety’s Impact on Political Participation (in-person oral presentation)
Critical Digital Engagement Awards:
- Shane Louis — (History, advised by Jordan Biro Walters) “Forever On My Mind:” Blues Songwriting in the 1960s (in-person oral presentation)
- Megan Conklin — (History, advised by Jordan Biro Walters) Face the Music: The History of Women’s Music within Cultural and Intersectional Feminism (in-person oral presentation)
- Drake Stolman — (Computer Science, advised by Daniel Palmer and Heather Guarnera) Facilitating Collaborative Gameplay Within an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment (in-person poster presentation)
Most Timely Research
- Fiona Schieve — (Political Science and Religious Studies, advised by Jeremy Rapport and Terry Reeder) GOP Jesus and Trump: an Exploration of the Usage of Evangelical Christianity by Donald Trump (in-person poster presentation)
- Omobolanle Oladeji — (Computer Science, advised by Kowshik Bhowmik) An Analysis of Large Language Models in the HealthCare Domain (in-person poster presentation)
Best Incorporation Study Abroad Experience
- Kevin Poe — (Religious Studies and Philosophy, advised by Mark Graham and Elizabeth Schiltz) Divinity’s Secret Love Song: An Investigation Into The Relationship Between Humanity and The Divine Through The Lens of Sacred Narratives (in-person oral presentation)
Most Visually Appealing Poster
- Jennifer Mynard — (Art History and Environmental Studies, advised by Susan Clayton and John Siewert) A Home for People and Planet: Assessing the Feasibility of Sustainable Affordable Housing by Designing a Proof-of-Concept (in-person poster presentation)
Outstanding Intersectional Research
- Anna Russell — (Archaeology, advised by Olivia Navarro-Farr) Celestial Bodies and Ancient Maya Women: Shedding (Moon)light on Divine Power (in-person poster presentation)
Best Use of Technology to Promote Interdisciplinarity
- Sobika Thapa — (Computer Science, advised by Heather Guarnera and Daniel Palmer) The Evolution of Human-Computer Interaction and its Technological Advancement with a Focus on Applications with Electric Paint (in-person oral presentation)
Senior Art Exhibition Award
- Hayley Nash — (Studio Art, advised by Daren Kendall) A Place to Call Home (in-person art exhibition)
- Ryan Seaton-Evans — (Studio Art, advised by Bridget Murphy Milligan) Soothed by the Sublime (in-person art exhibition)
- Olivia Watling — (Studio Art, advised by Marina Mangubi) The Beauty and Solace in Loneliness (in-person art exhibition)
Established in 2008, the Senior Research Symposium was designed to give students a special forum to share their journeys through Independent Study, Wooster’s renowned senior capstone experience. This rigorous project gives each student, not just those in an honors program, an opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize, and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student’s own choosing. The process has proven to develop a wide range of skills, from independent judgement and analytical ability to project-management and time-management skills, as well as strong written and oral communication skills, all highly valued by employers and graduate schools.
Top image: Katiasofia Gonzales Virto (Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience advised by Grit Herzmann) presents Stressed Out and Struggling to Concentrate: The Relationship Between Cortisol Reactivity and Cognitive Control in College Students.
Posted in News on April 21, 2023.