Each semester at Newman University, students at all academic levels practice professional presentation skills using months of gathered research and findings.
Scholars Day at Newman has been happening at the end of both the fall and spring semesters for many years now. Participation is part of a Newman student's graduation requirement, but the event is not limited to seniors.
Lesslie Martinez, a junior biology major, participated a year early.
"Doing Scholars Day as a junior is nice," said Martinez. "It'll be good to have this done, but I do hope to keep learning more by helping Dr. (Michael) Bradley and other students next year."
Martinez mentioned that scientists are competitive, but they love to learn from each other. "I think this event will help me learn how scientists discuss things on a professional and peer level. And presenting to our teachers and others is a great way for us to receive and learn how to respond to positive criticism."
Assistant Professor of Nursing Amelia Hopper said the main purpose of Scholars Day is to prepare students for the real world.
"Doing research project and disseminating information, this gets them ready for any job field. Hopefully, they can take the comments they receive throughout the day and do a better job when they have to present in the future to their boss or at a conference."
Assessors are poised and ready to evaluate presentations and provide feedback. This semester's Scholars Day added a new feature — portable assessment stations. Laptops on rolling cars were available to all assessors for the day.
Hopper said, "We're trying something new this time, on a trial basis. Instead of using Scantron, we are allowing assessors to utilize the wheeled carts to move freely around the space, and enter their assessments in Google Forms. They can use the Scantron if they wish, but we wanted to see if the Google Forms option works more efficiently for them."
There are two or three assessors per poster or oral presentation, and the assessment can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes. Things could take a little longer depending on how many questions the assessors have, and students have access to their results in about four or five days. The students are evaluated on things such as presentation and poster quality, whether they've cited their material, their professionalism and their ability to answer questions.
Laura Cox, a senior history major, plans on applying at museums, libraries and other similar organizations after graduating.
She transferred to Newman from Wichita State University and said she's found a great home here. After meeting with Professor of History Kelly McFall, Ph.D., she dove into the history program and fell in love with the field.
"Regarding Scholars Day, I think being able to present professionally has been a great opportunity," exclaimed Cox. "And learning skills that can also help in an interview setting futuristically is an amazing benefit."
Senior nursing major Lori "Amber" Hemmen said working with others has been a great experience for her throughout her Scholars Day preparation.
"I think the benefit of Scholars Day is learning how to work with other people, collaborating and collecting evidence in order to present to others. Working with my group was easy, each of us took on an individual role and then brought everything together in the end. They were a really great group to work with."