By Lori Hart, Marketing Manager and Kelly O’Rear Heida, Senior Marketing Manager, SAGE
On Saturday, May 10th, we were fortunate to be part of a group of six SAGE employees attending and representing SAGE at an inspiring forum highlighting the final projects of student researchers at California State University, Channel Islands (CI). Obviously a highlight of the year for the university, the conference consisted of presentations, poster sessions and an awards luncheon, including a keynote address from faculty advisor Dr. Sean Q. Kelly from the Political Science department. Nearly half of all CI graduating seniors take part in some form of research or creative activity, so the venue was full. As was stated in the press release for the event, “Student research and collaboration on faculty-student research are integral to CI’s mission. The projects foster experiential learning, encourage partnerships, strengthen the University’s connections to the region, and help tackle problems in the community, environment and society.”
At the forum, 30 faculty-student presentations and more than 100 posters showcased their research, scholarship and creative activities across a wide variety of disciplines. A great variety of work was represented, including ecological research completed at a unique undergraduate research campus at Santa Rosa Island Research Station and the natural land that surrounds the campus, in local hospitals, and through designing and implementing their own social science research. For the first time this year, ceramics students also displayed their projects.
Offering a unique opportunity to present their work (many for the first time at an event like this), it had the look and feel of a typical academic conference – with one difference. These are junior scholars/researchers on the cusp of moving from their undergraduate and graduate endeavors into further studies or the workplace. In our conversations with the students, many reflected that this experience has helped them realize a desire to further their studies at a graduate level.
There was visible excitement all around us, from the intellectual curiosity of the students seen in their projects and presentations, the obvious support of the faculty and administration, to the enthusiastic cheering by all in the room as the award winners were announced. Both the keynote speaker and CSUCI President, Dr. Richard R. Rush, put it well in stressing the importance of engaging students in research at the beginning of their careers so as to develop their perspectives of the world – and thus see the world different than before.
Many thanks to our hosts for the day:
Dr. Richard Rush, CSUCI President
Dr. Gayle Hutchinson, Provost, Division of Academic Affairs
Dr. Jason Miller, Senior Research Officer
Merissa Stith, Events Coordinator, Division of Academic Affairs