Symposium exhibits student-faculty research

Claire Oliver

Students had the opportunity to share the results of learning experiences beyond the classroom during the third annual Linfield Student Collaborative Research and Creative Projects Symposium and the 16th annual Linfield College Science Symposium, held together in Nicholson Library
on May 7.

The science symposium, sponsored by the Wendell L. Foote Science Endowment, was expanded in 2006 to include all available fields of study.

Students submitted posters detailing their projects, which are either the result of summer collaborative projects with faculty members and students or other work outside the classroom.

Past participants said this interaction contributed to the overall learning experience.

“Sometimes, (there’s) a person who knows nothing about your research, and you have to explain to them in more general terms what your experience is all about,” senior Kelly Peng, who presented in last year’s symposium, said. “To me, those are the best questions that you can answer because you can share the importance of your research and get all passionate about it.”

Peng said her merit award winning project, Thermosensitivity of liposomes of varying DPPC and DSPC compositions, looked at the synthesis of drug delivery vesicles and their role in nanomedicine.

This year, the symposium was scheduled to be incorporated into the college’s sesquicentennial celebrations and the trustee’s weekend. The projects, which in the past have only been presented for a day, will remain on display through May 12.

Liz Atkinson, associate dean of faculty and associate professor of chemistry, said this extra time will allow spectators to learn about the possibilities of the collaborative research available to them and generate
student interest.

“The symposium allows students to share with other students, faculty and community members the great opportunities there are to work with faculty or with each other,” she said.

Many of the projects to be displayed were funded by the college’s Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Endowment, which pays for research costs and student housing, as well as a stipend.

“There is a big difference between taking a class where there is an answer (and finding one on your own),” she said. “With summer research, students get a sense of ownership in a project when they see it through to completion.”

Although not all projects are the result of this endowment, Atkinson said all types of research have similar benefits of hands-on experience, as they teach students how to start a project, troubleshoot and follow its progress to the end.

“They’re opportunities to take more control of education and let students (decide) if this is what they want to do as a career,” she said.

Senior merit-award winner Caitlin Deane said her time spent researching and classifying enzyme inhibitors for the biology and chemistry departments did just this.

“It helped me realize that it’s what I want to do,” she said. “It goes beyond learning in a classroom; it’s really about creating knowledge. You’re more involved and have more of a connection 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.