"Overwhelming, but in a Good Way"
College Park Scholars’ Showcase, Bigger Than Ever, Spreads Out at St. John Center
These aren’t the posters to hang on your walls, but to perhaps hang a future career on.
More than 620 sophomores in College Park Scholars presented the work of two years of learning at the program’s 23rd annual Academic Showcase on Friday, a celebration spread over three floors of the Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center.
The students, representing majors from all schools and colleges on campus, stood before their posters and talked about their research, made presentations, ran group discussions and served on panel discussions.
“In Scholars, students conduct a practicum project so they can take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to the world around them,” said Marilee Lindemann, executive director of College Park Scholars. “Academic Showcase is the culmination of this practicum effort, because, even with applied learning, we don’t fully understand something until we teach it to someone else.”
Featured presentations this year spanned topics such as “Overcoming Barriers to the Pursuit of Citizenship and Health Care in Tennessee,” “Laser Beams” and “Targeting Glioblastoma With TP5.”
Other Scholars completed research in labs on and off campus, service projects in College Park, internships around the nation and travel study around the globe.
“Academic Showcase was a chance for me to highlight all the work I’ve done this year and apply what I learned during my time in Scholars to real-life issues,” said Kaitlin Ta, a microbiology major in the Environment, Technology and Economy Scholars program. For her capstone project, Ta explored how container type influences water temperature and the role that plays in mosquito populations. She conducted her research through the Ecology and Health Lab with Associate Professor Paul Leisnham from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
This is the second year that the event was held in the St. John Center. Showcase started with just the Science and Global Change Scholars program in the lobby of Cumberland Hall, expanded to take over the Grand Ballroom of Stamp, then Orem Hall at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, the floor of Cole Field House, and most recently, the Armory gym.
The St. John Center location allowed Scholars a more dynamic, more authentic academic conversation, with short presentations and performances, facilitated simulations and games and exhibitions of creative work.
“We sometimes joke that Showcase has become overwhelming, but in a good way,” said Dave Eubanks, Scholars’ associate director. “I get tinnitus each year during Showcase, but nevertheless find myself inspired and amazed by the conversations I manage to have.”