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Seventeenth Annual Symposium Success

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Exemplary student research is often forgotten after a class or project ends, but the 17th Annual IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium gave students a chance to expose and develop their work. Eighty-six students presented sixty-nine posters from all six colleges, each demonstrating IPFW’s capacity for outstanding student research.

With the College of Arts and Sciences well represented, the presenters reflected the diversity and talent of IPFW’s departments, including some interesting interdisciplinary research projects. Sadie King-Hoffman is an English and linguistics and communications sciences and disorders (CSD) double major whose research project incorporates both majors. The focus of her research project began in the CSD clinic, “I was flipping through books in the clinic lobby and found a children’s picture book on autism. I took it home, read it, and thought, ‘wow, this is terrible.’” This inspired her to research children’s books on autism, and after finding disappointing and troubling results, King-Hoffman decided to use her creativity and writing skills to create a picture book about autism as part of an honors project. Click here to see King-Hoffman's poster.

Another double-major, Alicia De Leon (biology [pre-med] and international language and cultural studies [ILCS]), is studying to be a Spanish-speaking doctor. “I think a doctor should be able to speak more than one language. If the goal is to help as many people as possible, then to do that, you need to know what they’re saying.” For her Spanish service learning project, De Leon volunteered as an interpreter at Clinica Madre de Dios in Fort Wayne. View De Leon's poster here.

The symposium gave the IPFW community a glimpse of research across campus and gave the students a chance to present and develop their work. Chelsea Clyde-Brockway, a biology major who presented at last year’s symposium, came back this year because “it’s really helpful. It makes you pull your research together. It makes you think about what you’re showing, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.” See Clyde-Brockway's poster.


Ann Livschiz, a judge and member of the symposium planning committee, emphasized the event’s focus on developing student research. According to Livschiz, the judging process helps students consider the larger implications of their research. Faculty listened to the presentations and used follow-up questions strategically, asking “why this research is important or why is it relevant” on a broader scale.

With the energy and excitement of the crowded bridge, it’s difficult to imagine that only two years ago the number of presenters had dwindled to twenty-five entries.  Helmke Library Dean and symposium committee member Cheryl Truesdell explained that after the low turnout in 2012, the committee decided to rethink their approach. They decided that the event shouldn’t just be “students talking to professors, but to parents, other students, and the community,” and switched from the traditional classroom style to a poster presentation. The result is a more relaxed atmosphere that encourages students to clearly and concisely explain their research. And the impact of their redesign is clear: the 2014 symposium had the largest number of presenters since its inception.

While this year’s symposium was a resounding success, the committee is already planning for next year. As Truesdell explains, “What we plan—or hope—to do next year is make it more of a community event. We invite the majors and we invite people from the community to come and see what IPFW students are doing. We want to create a name for IPFW undergraduate research.”

To see the complete list of 2014 student posters, visit the library’s Opus website. You can also see a complete list of the winners of the 2014 Symposium (including winners from history, psychology, physics, and biology) here. For more information on the symposium or how you can get involved, contact Heidi Sandquist.