Finals week is almost here and students are pushing to finish papers, projects and presentations before they head home for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Some students have another challenge to complete before they even get to their finals. On Monday, Dec. 7, while some students are at home sleeping/cramming for finals, many other students will be giving capstone presentations at Scholars Day.
Assistant Professor of Communication Suzanne Berg Ph.D., one of the main planners for Scholars Day, said the event is meant to give students experience with presenting their ideas and research in front of an audience.
“They will be asked many times over the course of their career to present various forms of data to a group of people,” Berg said. “Employers are constantly ranking the ability to communicate as one of the top skills needed in an employee, ranging from hard sciences to the humanities.”
The presentation of original scholarship is a requirement for graduation under the Newman Studies Program. This year, Scholars Day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. Oral presentations will be in Eck Hall (Rooms 126, 127 and 136) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Poster presentations will be in the Dugan Library lobby from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Performances will be in the Jabara Flexible Theatre in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Coffee and donuts will available in the Eck Lobby from 9 a.m. until they run out. Pizza will be offered beginning at noon in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center.
This year more than 110 students will be at Scholars Day, making 67 presentations on topics ranging from the “Role of 2-Ca on Growth Rates in Human Colonic Adenocarcinoma Cells,” and “Scaffolding Strategies in Pre-Kindergarten,” to “National Pro Fastpitch” and “The Emerging Problem of the Modern Christian.”
Senior communication major Ellen Healy said she is presenting research on standup comedians and depression, specifically Robin Williams and Brian Copeland.
“I explored why so many comedians, who we assume to be the ‘funny guys’ who are incapable of sadness, are often the saddest people, battling demons and suffering from depression,” Healy said.
Healy said the experience, though it was difficult and time-consuming, helped her become a better academic writer and improved her public speaking skills.
“I also feel more comfortable when presenting in front of a crowd, which is something that I have always feared and struggled with,” she said.
Healy said she thinks students will enjoy the presentations because they are contemporary topics, and that if they don’t come for the topics, they should come to get an idea of what it will be like when they present, themselves.
Berg added that Scholars Day is not just for students, though; professors can also get a lot out of the presentations.
“We spend a lot of energy focused on teaching students how to think and do research. This is a rare moment where we can see the scope of this output and take pride in the original research output of our students,” Berg said.