Showcasing Student Work During a Pandemic

The show must go on. Though students are learning virtually this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their hard work will still be celebrated in the annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium.

“The Symposium has taken place for 22 years, this is the 23rd year, and it’s the largest academic event on campus,” says Taylor Kensel, the interim assistant director for student research and community engagement at Eastern. “It is an excellent opportunity for students to share their research and creative work across campus and with the greater community.”

New this year, because the university cannot host an in-person event, all oral presentations, poster presentations and creative works will be available to be viewed and shared online on the EWU Digital Commons. Presentations will be labeled by the presenter(s) name and title of the presentation. Virtual audience members will be able to navigate between sections labeled by presentation type: oral presentations, poster presentations and creative works.

Just as in past years, works will include poster and oral presentations by students who have completed a research project over the course of the academic year under the direction of a faculty mentor, as well as creative works, which include musical ensembles, films, theater performances, art exhibits and creative writing pieces. The event, whether in-person or online, is of great value to students and the university community.

“The purpose of the Symposium is to celebrate our students’ academic achievements and to allow students the opportunity to explore the research and creative work of their peers,” says Kensel. “It also offers students the experience of presenting at an academic conference without having to travel.”

Another benefit of the Symposium is the opportunity for students to network with faculty and community members. The in-person experience will be missing this year, however, as Kensel points out, the new format resulted in a positive change. “The on-going accessibility to all presentations through the EWU Digital Commons is a great addition to our event this year,” she says.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to view oral presentations, poster presentations and creative work displays starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The works will have continued accessibility even after the virtual event on the EWU Digital Commons, which has never occurred in a single location before.

Jenifer Walke, associate professor of biology
Rachel Silverthorn, EWU senior

The event will also feature a Keynote Speech from Jenifer Walke, assistant professor of biology at Eastern. In a livestream presentation, she will discuss, The Life We Cannot See: The Role of Microbes in Health and Disease. Walke will follow her speech with a live Zoom Q&A session.

Rachel Silverthorn, an EWU senior majoring in psychology, will present the Key Student Speech: Confidence in Jury Decision Making. Silverthorn has conducted two research internships examining whether pregnancy has any effect of juror perceptions of a female defendant. Silverthorn will continue her research focus on judicial proceedings and treatment of defendants and offenders within the criminal justice system as she pursues a PhD in international crime and justice at Florida International University.

To learn more about the event and see additional scheduling details and livestream links, visit the 23rd annual Research and Creative Works Symposium website. Then join the virtual celebration of student research and creative work on Wednesday on the EWU Digital Commons.

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