Students from each of Ithaca College’s five schools came together today to speak at the James J. Whalen Academic Symposium throughout the day in Campus Center.
The symposium was organized to present and celebrate student work and serves as the first event in the weekend’s inauguration of President Tom Rochon. More than 170 students displayed academic work through presentations that lasted anywhere from five minutes to a half-hour where they discussed topics ranging from Characteristics of Modular Sequences to Algorithmic Music Composition.
Faculty sponsored each student who spoke. Some presentations unfolded months of research while others focused on fieldwork projects. Senior Lendy Krantz presented her senior thesis about Reclaiming Childbirth.
“I’ve been working on this pretty much every day for the past year,” she said.
Marlene Barken, associate professor of marketing and law, said she was pleased with the research displayed at the Whalen Symposium. Barken said she and Gwen Seaquist, professor of marketing and law, are excited about the participation of Legal Studies students in the symposium during the years.
“It is a pleasure and an honor to showcase our students’ excellent work,” Barken said.
Students and faculty swarmed around the poster displays during the noon hour that were set up by student speakers that covered second floor of the Campus Center. Speakers who created posters on display were available for questions.
Sophomore Sarah Araldi gave two presentations on Ecotourism in Hawaii and Indigenous Knowledge and Permaculture, but said the event did not meet her expectations.
“The turnout wasn’t what I wanted,” she said. “It’s kind of sad when you are in a room talking to your professor and a couple of your friends.”
Many students who attended the symposium said they do so because a professor required attendance or offered extra credit. Araldi said if more professors provided incentive to attend it would improve the event.
“I wish more professors required their students to come,” she said. “The idea of the symposium is to spread the knowledge and make people aware of what is going on around campus.”
Senior Erika Vonie said she has attended the symposium every year to see friends who present. This year, she said she came to see her housemate senior Casey Scamporino talk about wasteful habits.
“It was nice to see him in a context other than my friend and housemate, to see him as a dedicated student,” Vonie said. “I’ve seen how much work he has put into this.”
Junior Caitlin Pautz attended a few presentations at the symposium last year for extra credit, but came this year to present her research titled “Let’s Talk About Sex … in Nursing Homes.”
“I wanted to convey that older adults actually might be sexually active, despite what people might think,” she said. “Our nursing home policy right now does not really regard sexual activity.”
Not only did she say she enjoyed speaking about a topic that many people do not talk about, but Pautz got a surprise guest that she was not expecting.
“I looked up and saw the president and thought, ‘Oh! Let’s show what I’ve learned!’” Pautz said.
Sophomore Rob Engelsman said he enjoyed presenting his piece about how religion is looked at by the modern generation. He said the symposium is a great event for students to go to each year.
“It’s a pretty good tradition,” Engelsman said. “It’s a great opportunity to get tons of information on tons of different topics.”
Rachel Wagner, assistant professor of philosophy and religion, helped Engelsman with his paper during the past few weeks and was excited for him to be part of the event.
“The symposium offers a unique forum for students to show one another, and other faculty, what they are doing that is really new, really important, and really fun,” Wagner said. “It highlights the best that Ithaca College has to offer, and shows how our students are developing their own voices in impressive ways.”