The James Center for Molecular Sciences was packed with students and professors alike to listen to students present their research on topics ranging from coral reefs to corruption in foreign countries. Eckerd’s Twelfth Annual Student Research Symposium took place Wednesday, April 3.
Students presented their research using posters in the North and South Wings of the James Center while longer and more detailed oral presentations were conducted in a classroom.
This symposium is something that twelve-time Symposium Chair Laura Wetzel, professor of marine science and geosciences, thinks makes Eckerd unique. According to Wetzel, this event was representative of the opportunities students can benefit from while attending Eckerd.
One of the rules for the symposium is that the first author be a student. This provides students the freedom to design their own research experience.
“It’s student driven research in any field. I encourage people from any collegium to participate. This year we are very happy to have people from human development and international relations, as well as the usual suspects in biology, geology, chemistry and environmental studies,” Wetzel said.
The student presenters were e nt hu s i a s t i c about their topics, according to junior Jorge Lopez-Perez who presented his research on reptiles at the symposium.
“Student-led symposiums are important because they can participate in research and interact with professors, which is something that isn’t very common at most schools,” Lopez-Perez said.
The students who came to watch the presentations to learn about research and support their peers walked away with a better sense of how research is conducted.
“It is really refreshing to see all of the hard work that my classmates have put into their research from a biological and chemical standpoint,” sophomore Sydney Pollock said.
Wetzel talked about the nature of research symposiums and their role in science.
“These are science parties for us. This is what we do to celebrate our work and to talk to other people about our work, so it is so exciting to see so many people [there],” said Wetzel.
The event was sponsored by the ASPEC Intergenerational Learning Grant, College Program Series (CPS) and the Natural Sciences Collegium.