2021 Virtual Senior Research Symposium

Wooster students present I.S. research in 2021 Virtual Senior Research Symposium

Seniors received awards in critical digital engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainability and the environment, and other categories

April 16, 2021   /  

The College of Wooster celebrates Independent Study as part of the 2021 Virtual Senior Research Symposium, launching online Friday, April 16, and giving students the opportunity to answer questions about their research from the Wooster community. Nearly 200 seniors—more than double the number that participated in last year’s first, virtual version of the event honoring Wooster’s recently-recognized mentored research program—will share digital presentations of their work on personal webpages. Students will answer questions live about their research in two-hour blocks between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Fellow students, faculty, alumni, as well as family and friends can participate and search the program directory by the student’s name, advisor’s name, major, minor, chat time, or award winners.

“Although we miss the opportunity to gather together physically, it has been a joy to see the creativity of our students in digital formats, and to share this opportunity with seniors studying both remotely and on campus, as well as with friends, family, and supporters from all over the world,” said Christa Craven, dean for faculty development and professor of anthropology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies in an address celebrating the event.

A total of 6,704 visitors from more than 96 countries made their way to news.wooster.edu/symposium-2021/ throughout the day on Friday, April 16. They logged 33,538 unique page views and left 7,910 comments and questions on individual student’s pages.

The digital celebration included a congratulatory message to seniors from College President Sarah Bolton and several alumni who shared what I.S. meant to them and how their experience propelled them in their career achievements. The presentation also honored this year’s symposium award winners. Staff and faculty judges from across the College selected 20 Award winners based on themes, presentation format, and special categories selected by the judges.

The Critical Digital Engagement awards honor projects that use digital technologies to critically engage with their topic in innovative ways. This year’s honorees included:

The Dr. Josephine Wright Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards are named for Josephine Wright, Josephine Lincoln Morris Professor of Africana Studies and Music. Wright’s research on African American music has received prestigious awards and has taken center stage in recent controversies about racism in sports. These awards recognize outstanding student scholarship that centers around issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and were awarded to:

The third category is the Dr. Melissa M. Schultz Sustainability and the Environment Awards, named to honor the memory of Melissa M. Schultz, an associate professor of chemistry at the College. Schultz, who died tragically in an automobile accident in 2015, is fondly remembered as a beloved teacher and mentor, and the award recognizes excellence in student research that contributes to an understanding of environmental sustainability and contributes to the ongoing quest to achieve a more sustainable world. This year’s recipients include:

Finally, several awards were made based on format of the presentation (posters, slideshows, and videos), and some emerged from the judges review in unique categories. Below is a list of these award winners for this year:


Thank you to all of our Symposium Awards Judges:

Critical Digital Engagement Award:

  • Jacob Heil (Director of CoRE & the Digital Studio)
  • Nii Nikoi (Global Media & Digital Studies)
  • Heather Fitz Gibbon (Sociology & Urban Studies)

Dr. Josephine Wright Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards:

  • Ibra Sene (History)
  • Ashley Benson (Senior Class Dean)
  • Christa Craven (Dean for Faculty Development, Anthropology and WGSS)

Dr. Melissa M. Schultz Sustainability and the Environment Awards

  • Rick Lehtinen (Biology)
  • Iemanja Brown (Environmental Studies)
  • Erum Haider (Environmental Studies & Political Science)

Most Engaging Poster:

  • Alicia Brazeau (Director of the Writing Center)
  • Emily Armour (Educational Technologist)
  • Jen Bowen (Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, Mathematics)

Most Creative Slideshow:

  • Candace Chenoweth (Director of the Global Engagement Office)
  • Pam Frese (Anthropology)
  • Marianne Wardle (Art Museum Director)

Most Creative Video:

  • Shirley Huston-Findley (Theatre)
  • Jenni Griffin (Dean of APEX)
  • Jon Breitenbucher (Director of Educational Technology)