April 19, 2011

Recap of the 16th Annual Student Symposium

With more than 220 students in attendance at this year’s Annual Student Symposium, the record turnout marked a milestone in the event’s 16 year history. Originally started in 1996 with only 10 hand-selected projects, the event has grown to 166 projects—and counting. “The Sixteenth Annual Student Symposium was an extraordinarily successful event—both in terms of the numbers of students represented, and the variety and depth of projects,” said Kristi Koriath, Director at the Sponsored Programs Office.

Organized by the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO), the symposium provides a forum to showcase the accomplishments of Ball State University undergraduate and graduate students who have carried out research projects, creative endeavors, and other scholarly activities.

The event took place from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29 in the Student Center Ballroom and Cardinal Hall C. Due to the large number of entries, this was the first year that two venues were used to display projects. Entries were separated based on the student’s selection of “research” or “creative” on the registration form. “It’s only because the Ballroom was so crowded last year,” said Augusta Wray, one of the program’s event coordinators. “Last year we had 116 submissions and 175 students and this year we had 166 projects and 228 student participants. There just wasn’t enough room. It certainly wasn't the ideal situation, but next year we plan on having a larger venue."

Students from various fields of study, under the direct mentorship of faculty advisors, were given the opportunity to explore research interests and personal passions, such as the exploration of Benthic and Planktonic Forminiferal Biostratigraphy of the Middle Eocene Cockfield Formation of Eastern Mississippi (Jordan Edmunds), while for others it was simply examining The Visibility of International Students in the Midwest (Jenny Klucarich). Whatever the topic of interest, each project provided symposium attendees with ample opportunities to learn about both new and familiar subjects.

“Many of the projects were highly technical and very detailed,” said Koriath. “However, everyone with whom I spoke had a ready grasp of their project, but yet could make their work comprehensible to someone not necessarily in-the-know about the discipline.”

Submissions were separated into two distinct categories, Creative and Research, and were also evaluated by two separate sets of judges. Under the Creative Projects category, the judges were Jen Blackmer, Associate Professor of Theatre; Lori Byers, Associate Dean of the College of Communication, Information, and Media; and Kecia McBride, Associate Dean Associate Professor of English.

Research Projects were judged by Derron Bishop, Associate Professor of Physiology, and Assistant Director of the Center for Medical Education; John Emert, Associate Dean of the Honors College, and Professor of Mathematical Sciences; Jeff Grigsby, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Humanities, and Professor of Geology; and Michael Holmes, Director of Insight and Research, and Professor of Communication Studies.

Prior to the start of the Symposium, judges spent 3.5 hours reviewing, evaluating and rating individual projects. Evaluation was based on the quality of poster design and informational content provided. At the close of the event, a formal awards ceremony was held in Cardinal Hall A where Provost Terry King congratulated the student participants for their hard work and contributions to their field. Following his remarks, Jeffry Grigsby, Professor of Geological Sciences and Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Humanities, announced the winners under the Research category and Jennifer Blackmer, Associate Professor of Theatre, announced the winners under the Creative category.

The Student Symposium Awards were established in memory of Dr. Linda Keys, Mr. Jeffrey Litten, and Ms. Sandra Smith, all of whom served in Sponsored Programs Office. They were instrumental in developing the Symposium as the premier event for students to showcase their work and were avid supporters of student research endeavors.

For a full list of 2011 student participants click here. You may also view exclusive video interviews from some of this year’s student presenters by visiting the SPO YouTube Channel.

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