Behind the scenes with Symposium supervisors

By Krista DeJulio & Ryan Fitzgerald – Co-Editors-in-Chief

Senior Kelsie Pace (L) and faculty member Sarah Abbott (R) are the brains behind Symposium. Photo courtesy of Kelsie Pace

You may think of Lasell’s Connected Learning Symposium as a day off. To Professor Sarah Abbott and senior Kelsie Pace, it’s an event they work for all semester so hard-working students can showcase their talent and projects. Pace and Abbott are the two co-organizers of the event and the ones to thank for a successful Symposium each year. This fall’s Symposium takes place on Tuesday, December 6.

Symposium features at least 50 presentations throughout the day, ranging from written word, spoken word, graphic design, mock trial, athletic training, and live performance; a drumming presentation in an intergenerational class. The two work hard to represent a variety of fields and majors. According to Abbott, she and Pace will send out an email to professors at the very beginning of the year for professors to begin thinking about what kind of presentation they would like to show at Symposium, meaning a poster presentation or reserving an entire room for a longer presentation. Symposium is a chance for students to showcase what they have learned in and outside of the classroom through classes and internships.

Lasell’s Connected Learning philosophy is an important aspect of Symposium which both organizers have tried to incorporate this semester by focusing on internships through a ‘Spot-light on Internships’ session in Glow Lounge from 12-12:50 p.m. According to Pace, there has been a higher demand for e-posters this year.

‘Spotlight on Internships’ will feature presentations from classes of professors Janice Savitz, Dina Tanvuia, Anne Vallely, and Sarah Burrows. “The ultimate Connected Learning experience is being in an in-ternship. There will be four e-posters and students pre-senting on internships will be congregated in a cluster this time. One hundred percent of our students have an intern-ship,” said Abbott.

Pace is a senior event management student who will complete her third and fourth Symposium this year as student organizer and Abbott, an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, has five Symposium events under her belt. Symposium is always a co-organized event between a dedicated student and professor – Pace and Abbott have proven to be a solid team.

Pace was chosen and trained as a sophomore to manage Symposium for her final two years at Lasell. At one point in time, Pace, like many other students, saw Symposium as a day off, and had no idea who planned the event. “The student rotates every couple years,” said Abbott. The two are now searching for someone to fill Pace’s role when she graduates in May 2017.

“Ideally I want [to find] somebody before this showcase just so they can see how it goes and then I’ll fully train them for next spring’s showcase. I’m in contact with professors now,” said Pace. There is no formal application process for the student position as it is a faculty chosen position, typically filled by Hospitality/Event Management students.

Pace has free range when it comes to catering the menu through Sodexo, which she loves. She sits down with Sodexo and picks out everything she wants specifically. According to the two, it’s all about the details, the little things and making sure a beat is not missed. The two like to view it as organizing their own party.

As both Symposium and Lasell’s philosophy is Connected Learning, as an event management student Pace is perfect for the role. She has even invited prospective employers to Symposium so they can see how she can curate and manage an event. Being an event management student has allowed her to utilize the Connected Learning aspect to organizing and maintaining a successful Symposium.

“That really models what we believe about Connected Learning,” said Abbott. “To be truly successful you should be engaged during your career at Lasell in the work of the field.”

The two started planning Symposium before the summer ended as they always do. Abbott is on sabbatical this semester and has been contacting Pace weekly through FaceTime.

“I oversee it intellectually while Kelsie manages the operations piece of it like planning space and vendors while working with Conference and Event Services,” said Abbott.

Although the work is stressful and at least one thing goes wrong each Symposium, Pace and Abbott find the work fulfilling and worth every second.

“We get there early at 6 a.m., probably too early,” said Pace. “It’s a long day but all your hard work really pays off. The night before and the day of are my favorite part. When it’s over you can celebrate.”

Being a full-time student, Pace has had to manage a lot on her plate. “I’ve found my groove now that I’ve had a couple semesters to figure it out but it is definitely hard. I’m taking six classes right now, I usually put 10 hours a week into this and then I work another almost full-time job waiting tables,” she said. “But this is awesome because I’ve gotten to use it as internship experience.”

In the future, Abbott believes themes around Symposium could be beneficial, but for now the two are anxious to see how this year’s internship spotlight is received.

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