Annual symposium offers professional opportunities


By Rebekah Frank

Graphic by Kyle Pearson

EWU graduate student Betsy White has been preparing her research projects since fall quarter 2013 in order to have her best work presented during the 17th annual symposium on May 13-14.

The Student Research and Creative Works Symposium is an annual event showcasing EWU graduate and undergraduate projects. These projects are based on student disciplines and personal interests. The presentations can be oral, visual or interactive.

According to the symposium Facebook page, “The mission of the EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium is to promote student research, scholarship and creative activity done in partnership with faculty as a vital component of
higher education.”

The EWU Student Research Symposium is a two-day annual event where students from various disciplines across campus present their research or creative work to the university, community and the general public in a professional setting.

White will be presenting two research papers. One of her projects is on the Iroquois confederacy and their influence on the U.S. Constitution. This project was spurred from White’s Intergovernmental class.

White’s second project is a little more personal. Her paper is on transgender variance in the K-12 classroom with a focus more on the younger children. She said her project is going to discuss the issues of public schools and their dealing with transgender children.

When there is a transgender child in the classroom, schools tend to “freak out,” said White. They do not have a very good understanding of how to handle the situation, and White would like to fix that.

White’s motivation for this project is that she is raising a transgender child. When her son was five, he told his teacher he would one day be a girl.

“Since this monumental day, we have been working with the Odyssey Youth Center and have discovered, as my research indicates, schools are not prepared for these kiddos,” said White.

She would also like to try to get a grant to receive funding to make her research project more of a reality.

“I am kind of all about change and unsilencing things that have been silenced,” said White.

The symposium is a great place to start showing work, according to EWU symposium coordinator Lindsey Porter. She estimates the number of presenters this year will be around 500. Porter says the opportunities this event provides goes beyond just showing work, knowing how to articulate and being understood. It offers a more professional opportunity as well.

“Not only does it provide an environment where you can present your research to your peers, [and] to your faculty members, but it’s a real-world experience conference. You can put it on your résumé. … It is a vital component of higher education,” said Porter.

There are many events going before the symposium. The writer’s center is holding workshops to help refine research projects. The next workshop will be April 7-8, where students can bring their research projects in for help with revisions. The last workshop will be April 21-22, and students will be given tips and guidance to design and give an effective presentation.

There will also be a luncheon during the symposium in which Dr. Jon Hammermeister will be speaking, as well as creative work presentations in the EWU Art Building on May 13 from 4:30-9:30 p.m. Those who attend the creative works presentations will get the chance to see all the creative works in one night.

EWU junior assistant symposium coordinator Sarah Cornwell said she was excited to see all the different presentations from students this year. “They’ve just done really amazing research projects,” said Cornwell.

Cornwell said there is something for everyone at the symposium due to the variety of interests and disciplines. It is exciting and interesting all around.

“It’s a really cool thing to see, especially if it is something that is of your interest and also things that aren’t. … Those can also be very interesting,” said Cornwell.

Porter would like to remind students that all abstracts and project descriptions are due April 11.

“The symposium, I think, is one of the best events on campus for our students,” said Porter.

“The symposium is a wonderful opportunity for students to get their work out there and for the community to see what the kids have been working on,” said White.