BSU students showcase work
Students of a variety of majors at Bemidji State University showcased their work Wednesday at the Seventh Annual Student Scholarship & Creative Achievement Conference.
Whether giving presentations in classrooms, showing posters outlining research or exhibiting artwork, many students gathered on the campus to share what they are learning in the classroom with their fellow students, faculty and others.
The one-day conference opened with a presentation by keynote speaker Marjorie Kelly on "Finding Your Calling in a Transforming World." Kelly is the co-founder and editor of Business Ethics magazine.
After the opening ceremony, the students began their presentations, displays and exhibits. Other activities also included a slide exhibition and ceramics demonstration by guest artist Tony Kukich and the Beaver Film Festival.
At the BSU Ceramics Club Exhibit and Sale, senior Ben Thompson, who is a visual arts major, demonstrated shaping clay on a pottery wheel.
"People, I think, are pretty curious to see what goes into making all this stuff," he said as he shaped a utensils holder.
Senior Alex Parrish, who is majoring in both history and professional and creative writing, shared his research in a presentation titled, "The Fates with Traitors Do Contrive: De Officiis, The Roman Revolution and the Fall of Caesar." He said he wanted to present his ideas to the community and boost support for ancient history.
"It's also my honors thesis," said Parrish, explaining that his thesis is a critical analysis of a classic text in political philosophy.
At one of the poster displays, Glen Campbell, a sophomore social work major, shared about the "I Have a Dream" project he worked on with five other social work students. The display highlighted the "I Have a Dream" panel the students held in February. The panel was designed as a special tribute to Rosa Parks.
Campbell said the purpose of the project was to educate people on the civil rights movement. And, he added, Parks changed history.
"She was the one to stand up for her rights," Campbell said.
At the "Culture & Student Wellness - Life Transitions" poster display, junior Leigha Walters shared the findings of the research she conducted with five other students.
Walters, who is majoring in social work and chemical dependency, said the group surveyed BSU students on their definitions of a "life transition." She said they found that everyone has his or her own definition.
She said their research also showed, for example, that it's easier for students who participate in BSU's "Student Orientation and Registration" and "First Year Residential Experience" programs to meet people and get involved in campus activities than those who didn't participate in the programs.
Walters said visitors to the poster display commented on the project and asked questions. She said people showed a lot of interest in how well students have transitioned from high school to the university.
Petra Remeta, a graduate student in environmental studies, and fellow student Sara Zimmerman presented a poster display on their research on "The Rates of Ice Melting in Presence and Absence of Calcium Chloride, Sodium Chloride and Potassium Acetate and the Effects of the Chemicals on Growth of Bakery Yeast, Saccharomyces Cerevisae."
"As a part of our class, we did a project on de-icers," said Remeta, explaining that they compared three de-icers, measuring their efficiency in melting ice and their effect on organisms.
She noted that the conference is a good opportunity for students to learn how to present their research and interact with people who don't have a background in their field of study. She also said it's a fun day because she and the other students invest a lot of time and effort in their research.
"And now you can present it," Remeta said.
While at the conference, she said she planned to stop by other students' presentations.
"I'm going to do a little walk-around to see what other people are doing," she said.
Also stopping by the presentations was BSU geology professor Jason Dahl. He was a faculty sponsor for one of the afternoon presentations and involved in several other projects presented at the conference.
He noted that he believes it's important for students who are conducting research to see that people are interested in what they are doing.
Sara Flack of Owatonna attended the conference to see her daughter, Caralyn Flack, who is a senior physics major, show a poster display titled "Mapping VLBA Observations of Gravitational Lens Systems."
Sara Flack said she enjoyed attending the conference.
"It's just a super way for just everyone ... to get a chance to see what's really going on in the classroom," she said.
The conference's closing celebration at BSU's American Indian Resource Center featured a performance by students from the recent musical comedy, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."