EWU Symposium to showcase student works

By Devante Gaillard, Contributing Writer

In the seventh century B.C., a symposium involved men gathering to drink wine and discuss philosophy on pillows. Symposia this century emphasize discussion of topics between professionals, with considerably less wine.

The EWU Research and Creative Works Symposium Week includes a series of events for students and faculty to showcase their research or other academic works. The Symposium Week starts on May 17 and the application deadline is April 8. Each day’s events are open to the public and free to attend.

“When you’re going to college, this is what you should want to do,” symposium coordinator Jeff Johnson said.

Student Research presentations on May 18 will pause for a free luncheon at noon in the PUB MPR 101. The luncheon will host keynote speaker Kevin Decker, Ph.D., who will talk about the philosophy of Star Wars.

Unlike last year’s National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held at EWU, creative works like plays and paintings are also presented. Participation for EWU’s Symposium Week requires a faculty mentor for the research process and an application with an abstract submitted by April 8.

According to Johnson, most students submit directed-study research work. However, works submitted do not need to match a student’s degree path. Johnson recalls a previous undergraduate chemistry student who was passionate about philosophy.

The student, in conjunction with their philosophy professor, presented their own original philosophy works in a previous symposium.

All students, no matter their class standing, are encouraged to apply and attend.

Aside from donations from STCU and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, the symposium is funded by the students.

“It doesn’t make sense to not take advantage of the events,” Daniel Castillo, symposium assistant coordinator said.

EWU graduate student and contributor to the 2014 symposium, Sean Everett said participating was extremely helpful for his future.

“It gave me an opportunity to experience research and the subsequent formal presentation process,” said Everett. “I would absolutely recommend it to other students … It is important to obtain as much experience as possible in a professional setting and the symposium is very student oriented, making the presentation process less imposing.”

Students with graduate school aspirations should reconsider if they are not signed up.
Johnson said many graduate schools require a research presentation in a professional setting. Presenting during symposium week will save you registation money and travel expenses. It also affords students opportunities to network and talk to potential employers.
“Bringing everyone together,” said Johnson. “That’s what the symposium is all about.”