Throughout your college career you become accustomed to learning and absorbing information from your professors. Boland Research Symposium offers students the opportunity to stand on the other side of the podium and present their research to faculty, students and the public.
The symposium is an annual event that saw over 70 presentations from the student body this semester. Students fill individual time slots broken down by subject matters ranging from Arts and Humanities to Science and Technology. Jordan Gillenwater, a student in the department of Art and Design, spoke positively about the opportunity to present his own research.
“I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment, and I have a newfound confidence in my work and research abilities,” Gillenwater said.
Students who present spend on average three semesters preparing a thesis before they present at the symposium. According to Gillenwater, this experience offers an important opportunity to analyze their area of study in an in-depth way.
“Writing a thesis forced me to develop a much larger, unified body of work than I had ever thought possible, but it also forced me to make a more historically supported decisions for the work, which helped me to realize the deeper significance of the things I had come to love but taken for granted,” Gillenwater said.
Gillenwater’s thesis, which took him roughly two semesters to complete, gave him the opportunity to present his own artwork, which is currently on display in the Reece Museum.
“My thesis was about my recent body of art depicting an original mythological narrative told through six images created using printmaking techniques. The series centers around the inversion of good and evil in a fictional world that raises the centipede up as a figure of divinity,” Gillenwater said.
Similarly to Gillenwater, Will Ellis, a student from the biological sciences department, spoke positively about the thesis presentation experience.
“The thesis taught me a lot about dedication and commitment, which hopefully helps me later on, and while it was intimidating to present in front of professors, it’s a huge weight off of my shoulders to have successfully completed my presentation,” Ellis said.
To complete his thesis, Ellis worked alongside a professor in a lab right here at ETSU.
“My thesis was about amphipod (genus: Gammarus) behavior under different chemical predation cues, specifically these cues were alarm cue and kairomone,” Ellis said.
The Boland Symposium has been touted by the ETSU Honors College as an opportunity for students to take part in “experiential learning,” and the event is supported by a memorial endowment from the family of Dr. James Boland, past director of the University Honors Program.
From the perspective of a spectator, the event gives students and faculty the opportunity to see all that ETSU has to offer in terms of research and thesis presentations.
According to Lindsey Wright, a University Honors Scholar, the symposium gave her a unique opportunity to see what her friends in the math department have been working on in their years as undergraduates.
“Its interesting to see the different research and projects that you don’t get to see in a classroom, and it’s cool to see fellow peers succeeding,” said Wright.
Wright was excited by the learning experiences the symposium offers and is eager to one day present her own research at the event.
“Undergraduate research and thesis writing can jumpstart you into your future career or help you determine what you want that career to be,” Wright said.