Behind the scenes of planning Symposium

By Harley LaCardo & Ava Neely – 1851 Contributors

Symposium is a time for students and faculty to come together, share work and learn from each other. 

This year, the event was held by students and various clubs on April 26 from 11 a.m. to noon in de Witt Hall. 

When Symposium first began, it was only once a year. Now, the event is held once a semester.  

“A lot has changed with the Symposium, including changing the fall one to career readiness. The university received a very large grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to do that, among other things,” said Denny Frey, Associate Dean of Curricular Integration.

First-year sociology major Hyacinth Tauriac is presenting at Symposium for her second semester, and is feeling much more confident this time around. 

“My first time, I was super nervous,” Tauriac said. “ I think it’s helpful to know that I still can be myself and be casual, even though I want people to take me seriously.” 

Tauriac appreciates the professional atmosphere Symposium provides, allowing college students to practice career skills. “It builds professional experience, and it’s cool to see what other people are doing,” said Tauriac.

Lee Means, Administrative Assistant and Project Manager of Symposium, said Symposium is a time for students to learn and connect with one another. 

“It’s also a time that students can learn about the courses that they are going to be taking, to have a chance to find out what the students who are now graduating have done,” Means said. “I think it is just amazing for first-years and sophomores and juniors who will be stepping into that. It’s a great opportunity to take as much advice as possible. Viewing students’ work, taking inspiration from that and hearing from faculty as well.”

Professor of Humanities Sharyn Lowenstein has been attending and working with students at Symposium since the founding of the event over 15 years ago.Lowenstein said each year the quality and academic rigor of Symposium increases. 

This semester, Lowenstein said she is looking forward to the Honors Component she has sponsored, doing a closed event on Symposium Day. This component is doing a Restorative Justice Community Building Circle, modeled off of the theories learned in HON101: Revenge, Forgiveness and Human Rights.

“Over the years the quality of student presentations has gotten a lot stronger, and I think we are really growing as a community with Symposium,” Lowenstein said.

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