Goshen College will host the 20th Annual Academic Research Symposium in the Church-Chapel on Saturday, April 14. On this day, several students will showcase original research projects from various disciplines. Long Tran, associate professor of education, is the program coordinator of this year’s Academic Symposium.  

Each year, since 1999, Goshen College brings together students, faculty, and members of the Goshen community to highlight original research from a group of students.

Tran said: “It is an institutionally sanctioned and supported professional development opportunity… [It] helps students locate themselves in a larger social picture…. where hopefully there is an appreciation and understanding that what they think about and how they do things can have ripple effects in their social location.”

This year, Tran wants to create an environment where it’s about sharing narratives. At the beginning of this semester Tran issued a call to faculty chairs to shoulder tap students who may be interested in presenting their work.  

The Academic Research Symposium is more than an opportunity for students to present their research. As this year’s program coordinator, Tran also sees it as an opportunity for intellectual growth and development, for students to propose their ideas, and to provide hope for change.

“You give to the students and promote an environment where the theory is encouraged so they go out there and say, ‘I have ideas,’” he said. “The more ideas you have the more flexible you can become, the less you have, the more rigid you are. If you have a globalized picture of ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be,’ then what are some of the ideas on how to make that change.”

“Part of the research, the intellectual development, is to provide hope, not optimism,... that the individual can make a difference to promote an idea to challenge a bad one. That’s very important because the idea has to come first through research, for example, in order to promote the behavior to make the change,” he said.

One of the goals of the Academic Research Symposium is to “to encourage students and faculty to contribute to the larger conversation about knowing and knowledge that sustains the academy.” Everyone is invited to the Academic Symposium. People are not only encourage to come and support students, but also to ask questions.

“If you come and listen, ask questions. Challenge information. I always tell my students that truth should always be questioned and never accepted at face value because it’s somebody’s truth and it may not be your own, so question legitimacy,” said Tran.  

Tran, as as professor, also encourages students to participate in these kinds of events more often because Goshen College is promoting intellectualism and providing to them opportunities for professional growth.

“As we provide the opportunities for intellectual growth and development, take advantage of as many of those as possible because if you think it's difficult here, wait until you graduate. Take advantage and practice and never be afraid of ideas and how to present those ideas,” he said.