While little about the format of the 2020 Senior Research Symposium was familiar, one constant remained–The College of Wooster community once again reinforced its commitment to mentored undergraduate research through its thoughtful and creative celebration of seniors’ Independent Study (I.S.) projects.
“This is such a cherished tradition at the College,” remarked Christa Craven, professor of Anthropology & Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Dean for Faculty Development. “Classes are all cancelled, the campus and community come out to celebrate our seniors’ work through presentations, posters, exhibits, installations, and performances across campus.”
Craven has attended 11 in-person Symposium events at Wooster, since they began in 2008, but then a global pandemic made that impossible. “COVID threw us off for a minute,” Craven admitted, “but that just meant we needed to retool, get a little more creative… and go virtual!”
In fact, it turned out to be the most well-attended Senior Research Symposium ever. A total of 4,186 visitors made their way to news.wooster.edu/symposium throughout the day on Friday, May 8. They logged 17,218 unique pageviews, and left 3,382 comments and questions across individual student’s pages.
Over 70 seniors participated by developing innovative digital presentations about their work—from videos, posters, and documentaries to digital zines, excerpts of creative writing, art exhibitions, and virtual reality demos. The day began at 8 a.m. in Ohio so students who had to remain on campus because of the pandemic could participate from their dorm rooms, but family and friends in different time zones across East & South Asia, Africa, South America, Europe and the Pacific could join them before nightfall. The digital format also allowed students who had been able to make it home across the United States and to countries throughout the globe to participate with friends, faculty, and other supporters no matter where they were physically. In total, guests from 51 countries came to appreciate Wooster students’ work.
Presentations represented over 30 of Wooster’s majors and minors, including Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Business Economics, Chemistry, Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience, Communication Studies, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Computer Science, East Asian Studies, Economics, Education, English, Environmental Studies, French & Francophone Studies, Geology, Global & International Studies, History, International Relations, Journalism & Society (self-designed), Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Russian Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Studio Art, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Each student presenter had their own webpage where visitors could leave comments, questions, and congratulate them, and they could respond to those comments in real-time at designated times throughout the day.
By the end of the day, most students’ pages had well over 50 comments and a few pages had been visited nearly 400 times. The webpages will remain active (though comments were limited to that day) so that family, friends, community members, future students, and potential employers can appreciate their hard work & ingenuity. Guests also had the opportunity to vote for honorary prizes for the presenters.
Congratulations to all of the Seniors who presented, as well as their dedicated faculty advisors, and supporters across campus and around the world.
Here are the winners of the 2020 Virtual Senior Research Symposium Honorary Prizes:
- Most Adaptive to the Virtual Context: Thuy Dinh (Computer Science & History), Remembering the City; An Augmented Reality Deconstruction of Memory, Power, and Identity in Ho Chi Minh City
- Most Eye-Catching Presentation: Kelsey Nolin (Studio Art), Through the Looking Glass: A Self Portraiture Exploration of Selfhood and Identity
- Best Use of Technology: Maya Lapp (Mathematics), SimCity meets The Lorax: Simulating Community Forest Management
- Best Ah-Ha Moment: Rebecca Wells (Communication Studies & Music), Welcome to the Masquerade: Deception in the Preliminary Job Search Process
- Deepest Questions: Pedro Adami Oliboni (Mathematics, Philosophy, Economics), On The Long-Term Future Importance of Investments in Economic Growth and Global Catastrophic Risk Reduction
- Best Music: Daphne Letherer (Global and International Studies (History), Russian Studies), Make Some Noize: Rap as a Form of Political Protest in Russia
- Best PowerPoint: Koral Kasnyik (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Investigating Changes in Protein Ubiquitylation Following Sleep Deprivation in Drosophila melanogaster
- Best Poster: Kendal Lloyd (Mathematics & Education), Calculators in the High School Classroom: Anxiety Levels and Attitude Towards Mathematics
- Most College of Wooster Spirit: Isaiah Corso-Phinney (History), Redemption of the Gàidhealtachd: The Formation of Highlandism from 1745 to 1822
- Best Use of an Interjection!: Margaret McGuire (Mathematics), What a Mouthful! Modeling Geographic Tongue as a Reaction Diffusion System
- Most Inclusive: Casey Lohman (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, English, Theater, Communication Studies), The Scars and the Moon: Theatrical Monologues Telling LGBTQIA+ Stories
- Most Collaborative: Desi LaPoole (Journalism & Society, self-designed major), Repairing a Nation: A visual exploration into the American debate on reparations for slavery
- Best Discussion of Research Ethics: Eliana Kahn (Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies), The Continuation of Violence: Analyzing the Retraumatization of Incarcerated Survivors of Domestic Violence and Evaluating the Potential of a “Trauma-Informed” Prison Model
- Most Inspiring: Mia Palmejar-Takaki (Psychology & Communication Studies), We’re All in This Together: The Relationship Between Ethnic Identity and Friends for Multi-ethnic Individuals in Emerging Adulthood
- Most Timely: Kaci Carpenter (Communication Studies & Education), “First the Pain, Then the Rising”: Assessing Student Knowledge of Title IX Policies and Procedures at The College of Wooster
- Most Enthusiastic: Isaac Weiss (Mathematics & Political Science), Compactness Measures for Legislative Districts
- Best Literary Critique: Eleanor Linafelt (English & Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies), Write It Slant: Queerness and Form in The Argonauts and Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through
- Most Relatable: Samantha Green (English), Greenbean Comics: An Independent Study!!!
- Most Creative Video: Bao Chau Nguyen (Neuroscience), A Boolean Model of Microglial Phenotype Transitions Under Acute and Chronic Inflammation
- Most Visited: Sharah Hutson (Philosophy), All My N*ggas is Casket Pretty: Projects of Sustainability for Black Folks