Field of research
Arizona University’s students work hard each academic year to perform in-depth
research, create pieces of art, and study new business models and methods. On
April 25, 2014, this work will culminate in the 7th annual Undergraduate
Symposium, where hundreds of students from every college and department will
share and present on the results of their research and creative activities with
the university and local community.
Academics on display
Held primarily on
the field of the Walkup Skydome, the Symposium features posters and exhibits
that span the length of the field, with five different stages dedicated to presentations and performances.
diversity of these projects ranges from research outcomes found in the College
of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences, to elaborate works of art from
students in the College of Arts and Letters—however, the one thing each exhibit
has in common is the level of hard work and academic devotion demonstrated by
the students presenting them.
will be no exception. Kimberly Speer, a senior theater design and technology
major from the College of Arts and Letters, is featuring an exhibit where she
has constructed a ball gown out of recycled VHS tapes. Her project is designed
to explore how media affects the environment, and how, by using innovation and
some ingenuity, we can discover uses for otherwise obsolete media.
“A lot of
people are under the impression that electronic or online media is more
eco-friendly than physical media, but that’s not always the case,” Speer says.
“You have to consider the energy it takes to power servers and everything that
goes into online media, plus the fact that traditional media, like books, are
composed of paper almost completely made from recycled materials. The goal of
this project is to encourage people to think differently about media and
the effects our consumption of digital media can have.”
On the other
side of the spectrum, Gabriel Vega, a first year mechanical engineering major
in the University Honors Program, is sharing his exploration of Henry David
Thoreau’s concept of civil disobedience, and how Americans have neglected their
duty to act against injustice.
“It’s a personal belief that it’s people’s responsibility to
act on what they think, and not just speak out,” Vega says. “Thoreau’s concept
that people should step up and support what they believe in is still relevant
today, and that’s what I’m hoping to convey.”
elementary education major Jisella Williams, another student in the University Honors
Program, will present studies on how a five-week teaching practicum in social
studies affected teacher candidates’ concepts of teaching.
this subject at the Symposium is important to me on a personal level because I believe
all children should have a quality education,” Williams says. “The first step
to accomplishing that is ensuring that the teachers themselves have a quality
education and access to the experience and resources they need. With teaching,
it’s so important to connect theory with practice, and that’s why I
think it’s a valuable program.”
A student showcase
Gumerman, Director the University Honors Program and coordinator of the
committee that oversees the Undergraduate Symposium, is excited for this year’s
exhibits and presentations, and explains the value of the Symposium—both for
the audience, and the presenters themselves.
“I love the Symposium because it’s a showcase for the community to see the various students’
activities and research happening throughout the year,” says Gumerman. “The
Symposium features more 700 students, and the beauty of holding it in the
Skydome is the diversity of presentations and posters we can include. It’s just
a great celebration of all the amazing work our students have accomplished.”