On February 5th and 6th, students from over ten different departments in the College of Arts and Sciences will present their individual research to their peers and professors at JSU.
Presentations come from a wide variety of subjects, from young adult literature to phytochemical analysis.
Since 1995, the College of Arts and Sciences has invited students to show their work at an annual Student Research Symposium.
Research projects come from countless subjects – music, art, chemistry, math, psychology – and cover a vast array of topics. Students selected to display their work give a ten to fifteen minute speech, either reading from a formal paper or presenting a poster.
Oftentimes, the projects are the product of close collaboration between the student and a faculty member, a rather unconventional phenomenon.
Dr. Jan Case, the director of the Symposium, finds this one of the event’s most inspiring aspects.
“That’s one of the great things about JSU. To have this many undergraduates involved in research with their faculty is really unusual.”
Students have many incentives to participate, however, aside from the pleasure of working closely with their professors. Although
it’s difficult to judge an English essay against a scientific report, the Symposium Committee and Judges have found a way to reward the best presentations.
Awards are categorized by subject and level (undergraduate and graduate).
Even the cover of the Symposium program is an art competition, the best submitted design selected in advance and used during the proceedings.
Of course, presenting at the Symposium isn’t about winning to most of those participating.
According to Gillian McCary, senior at JSU and participant in the Symposium, “Regardless of who wins, I am honored and thrilled to be able to share my work about the burgeoning genre of literature for young adults with an appreciative scholarly audience, as well as hear the work and research of other participants.”
It’s certainly clear why students from across the many departments of the College of Arts and Sciences choose to present.
But it’s not just those conducting research that have something to gain.
Anyone with a sincere interest in learning and expanding their intellectual horizons has firm reason to attend. Dr. Jan Case confesses that the week of the Symposium is her favorite week of the year. “I learn so much. They’re doing chemistry experiments, looking at interpretations
of literature, different art techniques, art history, political science.. There’s just so much. You’ll see stuff you had no idea was going on at JSU.”
Even more exciting this year is JSU’s collaboration with the Alabama Junior Academy of Science.
AJAS works in conjunction with the Alabama Academy of Science, and strives to inspire interest in science in high school students.
The top students from seven different counties have been invited to present their work this year at JSU.
“About an hour of the event is blocked out for these students,” says Dr. Case. “It’s nice that they’ll be able to see JSU and maybe think about coming here one day.”
The College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Symposium will be held on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library. Presentations
on the 5th of February will begin at 8:30 and continue until 4:00.
Presentations on the 6th of February will begin at 9:00 and end at 5:00. Awards will be given that same day at 5:30.