This upcoming March 28, from 6-9pm, Student Research Day will be taking place, displaying student research projects from different departments across the university. They currently have 93 poster projects and 9 oral presentations registered, totaling 102 participants altogether.
The day is a chance for students to proudly display their hard work to the community. Often times, students do not have much of an opportunity to share their research, and Student Research Day has become the forum for StFX students to do so. As Dr. Kolen stated, it is a chance for students to delight in their own hard work, receiving positive feedback to encourage further research projects into the future. The intent is to display students’ understanding of their work, and have professors engage with students on the students’ research, generating dialogue and interest in the otherwise unnoticed student projects.
Not only that, but it operates in order to allow time for professors and students from different departments, to come and hear about, and question, information outside of their own discipline. It is easy enough to find information concerning one’s own subject area, but harder still to do the same outside that echo chamber. Student Research Day engages the community, allowing them to branch outside of their regular field of knowledge in a way that enhances the experience of both presenters and audience alike.
This will be its 16th year in existence, as it was started in 2003 by Dr. Angie Kolen in the Human Kinetics department. Having had positive experiences sharing her own research in a similar way through her graduate studies, Dr. Kolen noticed that StFX lacked this space for students and decided to change that. She brought her idea to the university, and it was initially shot down. However, she did not take no for an answer, and the fruits of her labour are still felt today.
The research day started off as a poster fair alone, until Dr. Steven Baldner of the Philosophy Department (Dean of Arts at the time), spearheaded a movement to create oral presentations as well. The purpose of this development was to create an opportunity for those who might not have research well suited to the poster format. They would have a chance to share their own ideas and findings, but without the necessary visual representation of their work. Intended for arts students, such as English and Philosophy who might not have data fitted to a poster arrangement, the oral presentations have now become a space for all students from across all subject areas.
As it stands now, it is still Dr. Kolen and her colleagues who run the event; a hard project to maintain on top of a regular teaching workload. Dr. Kolen hopes that the university can eventually take on the project themselves to ensure its continuance and development into the future.