With 139 students scheduled to showcase their research that ranges from experiential education and health issues to the digital age and the environment, the Colleges’ sixth annual Senior Symposium is having a record-breaking year for participation and engagement.
Putting students in the spotlight, the day-long conference, which will be held on Friday, April 18, gives them the platform to share their academic work and intellectual passions on campus with members of the HWS and Geneva communities.
Featuring 115 presentations across 31 different panels, the Symposium will be held in The L. Thomas Melly Academic Center. Presentations will be in the Geneva Room, Sanford Room and in Learning Studios 1 and 2. For details, visit the Senior Symposium page.
“I was drawn to the program because of the wide audience and the opportunity it provides for my students to participate in a conference like event that draws in a diverse audience from different disciplines,” says Assistant Professor of American Studies Beth Elizabeth Belanger, who is sponsoring two students conducting original research projects. “As a faculty member, I feel strongly that events like the Senior Symposium are critical for my students learning outcomes in a number of ways.”
This is the first year that Belanger, who joined the faculty in 2013, is sponsoring students for the Symposium, both who are taking her capstone course AMST 465, “American Studies.”
“I think the most important learning outcome of a liberal arts education is an authentic, authorial voice,” she says. “I want my students to graduate with an understanding that they have something to say. I want them to take ownership of their ideas and feel a sense of mastery in their chosen field. The Senior Symposium helps to achieve this by placing students in the position of experts, asking them to present on their original research and field questions from the audience.”
Center for Teaching and Learning Assistant Director Ruth Shields, who facilitates the event, says whether a student is showcasing an Honors project or other academic research, the Symposium allows them to demonstrate what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown during their time at HWS.
“Whether a participant is heading off to work or graduate school, the Senior Symposium is a way to show what they can do before heading out into the world after HWS,” Shields says.
In addition, Shields says the Senior Symposium is the perfect platform for faculty to engage with students outside of the classroom. There are 82 faculty and staff members involved with this year’s program as sponsors, moderators, and/or those who have facilitated workshops.
“It provides an opportunity for seniors to present the work they’ve been doing, while other students can see what kind of research they can pursue through the liberal arts,” she says. “All of the students should be proud of the work that they’ve done.”
At this year’s event, the panels will run on the Monday, Wednesday, Friday class schedule. There will be question-and-answer seasons after each of the panels. Two of the panels will be about Geneva and engaging locally.