Registration Open for Senior Symposium – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Registration Open for Senior Symposium

What do hydrofracking, children’s literature, community development and public health have in common? All these and more can be on the schedule for this year’s Senior Symposium, which will be held Friday, April 18.

Now in its sixth year, the day-long conference gives students the opportunity to showcase their intellectual interests to members of the HWS and Geneva communities.

“I think that the Senior Symposium is one of the most important ways we have for allowing our students to demonstrate their ability to do independent research and explain that research to a lay audience,” says Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies Richard Salter ’86, P’15. “For those who participate, the Senior Symposium is a capstone experience; for students in other classes, the Senior Symposium can be a model for what they can do in the future.”

The registration deadline for Symposium participants is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12. Registration requires the following: a faculty sponsor, an application form, and a publication-ready abstract submitted online. Procedures for registration are available on the Senior Symposium webpage. Interested students also can sign up for abstract writing sessions that will take place between Wednesday, March 5, and March 12.

Professor of Dance Donna Davenport says the Symposium is the most important annual academic event on campus.

“At the Symposium, evidence of intellectual curiosity and growth is demonstrated concretely by every student, especially the seniors,” she says. “It’s a moment of pride for the institution. Ironically, only at this event is the essence of the liberal arts education, across disciplines, witnessed in an experiential, rather than symbolic, fashion. As a professor I have been involved every year in two or more ways, depending on the year: either assisting with student preparation before the symposium, advising research students who are presenting, moderating a panel, or sending a whole class to the event.”

Assistant Director of CTL Ruth Shields, who facilitates Senior Symposium, says the event is a great opportunity for students to share their work and academic passions with a wider audience.

“I am impressed every year to see the breadth of work our students are interested in as well as the connections among the work of our students,” Shields says. “I feel more connected with the students after working with them on presentations and abstracts and then seeing their final product. The passion our students bring to this event make it one of the best days of the year for me.”

For more information, contact Shields at

The photo above features Art Garvey ’13 and Caroline Coster ’13 presenting in 2013. 

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