Field of research

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The Undergraduate Symposium enables students from all colleges to share their work.

Northern Arizona University’s students work hard all year to delve into profound research, create works of art, and study new business methods. At the Undergraduate Symposium, the results of their efforts are displayed for the entire university to see, celebrate, and – most importantly – learn from. 

Held jointly at the Skydome and the DuBois Center, the Symposium features the work, projects, and thesis presentations of hundreds of the university’s students from every single college and department. The diversity of research ranges from a group of students from the College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences who showed off an energy-efficient vehicle to a College of Arts and Letters student who painted a self-portrait of herself at the event.

Roxanne McNabb, a senior business economics major, was one of many students from the W.A. Franke College of Business who presented a poster at the event. Her exhibit focused on how the closure of the Navajo Generating Station could potentially impact the Navajo Nation economy – a subject that enabled her to cross disciplines and examine the financial, environmental, and social consequences of such a decision.

“This research project was nice, because I was able to take the business side and the environmental side and put them together in collaboration,” McNabb says.

McNabb explains she was excited to present at the Symposium and educate individuals on serious issues in a new way.

“This is my first time doing this,” McNabb explains. “I've written other research papers, but I’ve never done a symposium and a poster, which is a totally different experience. It took hours just to prepare the poster itself, but it was definitely worth it.”

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Across the Skydome, another group of students displayed the latest version of a concept electric vehicle that had been built for maximum efficiency.

Dylan Pratt, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, was one of the members of the team. Although their work was not prepared specifically for the Symposium, the team was grateful for the opportunity to present their hard work in the spotlight.

“We are really proud of our work. We wanted to show off what we had done, as well as give everyone insight into what’s possible in this field,” Pratt says.

Not far from the electric car exhibit, Stacy Roome and Shea Lenkaitis, both senior English majors in the same capstone class, presented their senior projects: two blogs featuring writing about food. Both brought laptops so that students could view their digital work for themselves.

Roome says the Symposium was a good opportunity for the students in the capstone to wrap up the semester and their projects.

“When you explain it out loud, you realize the things that were most important and the things you learned,” Roome says. “There's a difference between doing something and knowing it in your head and explaining it to someone else. It’s really helpful to talk to someone else about your project, and I think that’s what makes the Symposium so beneficial.”