Academic Symposium highlights student research

Academic Symposium highlights student research

EMILY KAUFFMAN

Contributing Writer

emilyk3@goshen.edu

Twenty-three students will present their research at the Annual Student Symposium on Saturday, April 1 in the Church-Chapel.

The symposium program began as part of former Goshen College president Shirley Showalter’s honors program initiative that she launched at the beginning of her first term in 1996 with the first symposium taking place in the spring of 1999.

“At the beginning of the spring semester, I issue a wide call for titles, and professors begin tapping students on the shoulder encouraging them to present,” said Jo-Ann Brant, professor of Bible, religion and philosophy and program director of this year’s Academic Symposium.

Presentations are based upon course work, Goshen College’s Study-Service Term, the Maple Scholars program, internships and experiential learning opportunities.

In her presentation about effective ecotourism, Katie Hurst, a junior, will use examples from her international experiences as well as incorporate her final SST project work on ecotourism in a small Amazon village in Peru.

“I chose the ecotourism research while in Peru because as North Americans with the privilege to travel,” she said, “we need to be thinking about how our travel habits affect the places and communities we are going, especially on SST.”

Rudi Mucaj, sophomore, will tell the forgotten story of Japanese Americans in the United States, while arguing that the Japanese-American Relocation did not have roots in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mucaj hopes students will come hear his presentation at 1:20 p.m. in the Church-Chapel.

“Usually, we see different historical, cultural and political events as phenomena who appear out of the blue,” he said. “We forget to see how deep the roots of the problems are. My research is an example to illustrate it.”

In her presentation about the music used in video games, Monica Miller, a junior, will share both the unique constraints within which it must be composed and the experience of the music while gaming.

“One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding scholarly sources about video game music, since it’s a relatively new field of study,” said Miller. “I also spent many, many hours listening to at least 18 ‘Legend of Zelda’ soundtracks online.”

Jesse Amstutz, a first-year, will share about his research that looked at Goshen College students’ cell phone use in class as well as professors’ perception of student cell phone use.

“I have always been slightly bothered and distracted by classmates that use their phones during class, even though I am guilty of this as well,” said Amstutz. “I was curious to find out why students use their phones in class, what they do on their phones and whether they also found it distracting.”

He wants to encourage his fellow students to come hear his presentation to gain a better understanding of how their cell phone habits compare to their classmates and how professors perceive their cell phone use.

Luke Rush, a first-year, will present his research presentation titled “Shifting Perspectives: An Exploration of Factors that Caused a Transformation of Mennonite Response to the Draft” based off of a research paper he wrote in Religion and Politics during the fall.

Throughout his presentation, Rush will explore denominational, political and social factors or shifts that occurred between WWII and the Vietnam War that likely would have had an effect on Mennonite participation in the draft.

“I decided to participate in the symposium because it is a great opportunity to share my research with others,” he said. “I spent a significant amount of time researching and writing, so it is nice to have the paper go for more than just a grade in a class. The symposium is also a great opportunity to get some formal presentation practice.”

The presentations will begin at 12:30 p.m. and go until 4:45 p.m. on Saturday. They will take place in the Church-Chapel in rooms 110-111 and 112-113.

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