Annual Senior Symposium April 19 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Annual Senior Symposium April 19

At the Colleges, the annual Senior Symposium offers seniors and students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program the opportunity to showcase their intellectual passions to the entire campus community. Coordinated by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), this year’s Senior Symposium is slated to take place on Friday, April, 19.

Student presentations for the fifth annual event will be held in the Warren Hunting Smith Library’s several presentation venues. Projects of the symposium span a variety of interest areas and across academic disciplines, demonstrating the wide range of students’ scholarly abilities. Among this year’s more than 100 participants are Megan Van Dorp ’13, Matthew Hynd ’13 and Deepak Vallabheneni ’13.

Titled “Wild Ox to Foster Mother: Retracing Bos Taurus’ Path Into the Cultures of the United States, Spain, and Argentina,” Van Dorp will present a portion of her honors project that focuses on cows and cultures. “In this project, I explore bullfighting, gauchos, feedlots, family farms and how each of these things shapes human culture,” Van Dorp says.

Van Dorp grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York, which fostered her interest in bovines and culture. With the help of a grant from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Van Dorp spent time in Seville, Spain, researching her topic. A study abroad experience in Mendoza, Argentina, provided Megan with additional insights for her work.

Van Dorp has been working with Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter, who led her study abroad group in Mendoza. She says Salter is phenomenal to work with, praising his ambition and open mindedness.

While Van Dorp is pursuing her area of interest, Hynd is investigating “Eikon Basilike” (or The Royal Image), a work thought by many to be one of the most controversial writings of the 17th century. His project is titled “Who Wrote Eikon Basilike?”

“The book was so popular that it went through 34 editions in 1649 alone and would see more printings than the King James Bible over the next 50 years,” Hynd says. “It portrayed the king as a martyr of Anglicanism and champion of his subjects’ rights against the encroachments of a parliament hijacked by radical Puritans.”

Hynd is working with Assistant Professor of English Rob Carson, who, like Hynd, shares an interest in Renaissance English literature. Hynd also praises Professor of English Grant Holly and Associate Professor of History Matthew Kadane for their encouragement in researching the “Eikon Basilike.”

Pursuing a subject he’s been absorbed while at HWS, Vallabheneni has devoted much of his time on campus to cancer research, which will play a major role in his work at the symposium. Vallabheneni’s presentation focuses on the anti-cancer activity of depsipeptide HDAC inhibitors and the potential ramifications of slight changes in these compounds. The title of his project is “Can HWS Knock Out Cancer?: Testing Drugs That Have Never Been Made Before!”

“This information will allow our CHEM 241 ‘Organic Chemistry II’ and BIOL 232 ‘Cell Biology’ labs to synthesize and test anti-cancer compounds that are most likely to be effective and have real potential,” says Vallabheneni, a biochemistry major. “Participating in the symposium is an honor and a privilege. It will allow some students to take a step back and put in perspective how much we have developed since matriculation.”

Ruth Shields, assistant director of CTL and Senior Symposium coordinator, says the Senior Symposium is an excellent, academically-centered campus event. She says the way in which the event is structured enables for the successful advancement of connections between faculty and students, as they work together on their respective academic pursuits. Bridging connections is a defining characteristic of the symposium, enriching the experiences of both student and professor.

For more information about the Senior Symposium, visit:

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