By Tusannah Krauss
On April 30th, the Delta of Maryland chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at McDaniel College will be hosting its first annual Student Research Symposium: A Showcase of the Liberal Arts. This symposium will feature student presentations on their research, as well as the bestowal of the first Phi Beta Kappa Lifelong Learner Award.
Michelle Gribbens, a math professor at McDaniel, says that she and the other resident Phi Beta Kappa members at the college had the idea for the symposium as a way to highlight the liberal arts as a whole on campus. “Phi Beta Kappa promotes the liberal arts,” she says, “and when we were throwing ideas around, we wanted to make sure that we were highlighting the liberal arts on campus.”
The hope is for students who have done some type of research—whether for their senior capstone, summer research with a professor, or research that they have already presented at a conference—to share their findings with students and faculty from a variety of majors, who might not have otherwise been able to hear about this research.
Gribbens explains that she and others in Phi Beta Kappa realized that students were presenting their capstone projects on a variety of different days during the semester. Generally, only other students from that department attend these capstone presentations, and as a result, those in different disciplines don’t always hear about the research being done outside their own specialization. Because of this, the McDaniel chapter of Phi Beta Kappa decided to host a symposium for students, both members and non-members of the organization.
Before the student presentations commence, the newly created Phi Beta Kappa Lifelong Learner Award will be presented to a member of the community. This person will then give the opening remarks for the symposium.
Student presentations will be approximately 10 minutes and can serve to explain a research paper or poster. In order to encourage students from an assortment of disciplines to participate, Gribbens says that they also were encouraging students from the art and music departments to present. These students can give presentations that explain their art work or musical composition.
Gribbens also notes that some students presenting their research might cross into other disciplines: “It is also possible that the nominations that we are going to get are going to be talks where the person may be an art history major but their research also goes into the study of language.” In this way, each individual presentation itself may showcase the liberal arts during the symposium.
Emails were sent to each department on campus asking professors to nominate students to participate in the research symposium. Gribbens hopes to have at least five students presenting at the symposium, but expects there to be more. Although the chapter may decide to host the symposium in the fall semester in the future, the hope is to hold this event every year to celebrate the liberal arts.
Tusannah Krauss is a junior at McDaniel College majoring in English and minoring in German. McDaniel College is home to the Delta of Maryland Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.