Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 12, 2016

Research Symposium Gives Students Chance to Present their Ideas

Erin Fralick

Get ready for a meeting of the minds because Manchester University’s annual research symposium will be held on April 29. Students from all areas of study and from any year are welcomed and encouraged to submit their research to the Student Research Symposium Committee.

The symposium is also open to students from both the North Manchester campus and the Ft. Wayne Campus. The research abstracts are due on Mar. 4, and the poster PDFs will be due on April 1 as are submissions for the writing award. Keynote selection will take place the week of March 26. Students who submit their work for the oral presentation will be notified via email the week of March 28 whether they have been accepted. The symposium will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m in the Jo Young Switzer Center.

There will be one keynote speaker, who will present his or her research for the entire university community and families of the other presenters. Christer Watson, associate professor of physics and the chair of the Student Research Symposium Committee, says that the committee looks for high-quality research that can be clear and interesting to a broad audience. Mike Martynowicz, professor of education and member of the Student Research Symposium Committee, says that he looks for a keynote speaker who can speak about their own experiences and what they’ve learned.

The rest of the research will be presented either through posters or through an oral presentation. The oral presentations will last for 15 minutes each with 3 minutes for questions and answers, and the posters will be put up in the Jo Young Switzer Center for about an hour. Martynowicz says the major thing he looks for in an oral presentation is whether the work can lead to more research, but it doesn’t hurt for the work to be thorough and something the student is passionate about. He also says that he considers whether the student took a risk, while he is evaluating the results and the design of the research.

Both Watson and Martynowicz offered advice for students planning doing research projects in the future. Both suggested that students work with a faculty mentor. Watson says that a mentor can help students learn the tools they need to master in their subject and help them learn what they are expected to do. He also says that topics can come from anywhere whether it’s work done abroad, in class, or over the summer. Martynowicz suggests that students start early so that they have more time to let their research develop. He also suggests that students look into branching out and connecting seemingly unrelated fields with interdisciplinary research.

Last year’s keynote speaker was Rachel Ulrich, sociology major in the class of 2015, who presented “Peace-Making Embodied: Dance as a Connecting Thread Weaving Senegalese Ethnicities.” Her presentation explored the role that dance played in promoting peace among different ethnicities. Ulrich’s faculty advisor was Dr. Abigail Fuller, associate professor of sociology.