Everything from chicken flocks to cancer was discussed at the College of Arts and Sciences' Student Scholars Symposium

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In only its second year, the Lipscomb University annual Student Scholars Symposium, presented by the College of Arts and Sciences, grew from 39 presentations in 2012 to 55 this year.

Throughout the day-long symposium on Thursday, March 28, Lipscomb undergraduates, graduate students and faculty presented humanities papers, posters on scientific research results, fine arts performances and more.

Topics of presentations included everything from al-Quaeda to the impact of coffee on society. One student explored the process of establishing a backyard chicken flock, while another studied the invasiveness of cancer cells. Original essays, short stories and poems were presented along with musical compositions and a look at the hazards of electric cars. Scientific research into breast cancer, opoid drugs, vitamins and chronic wasting disease was presented.

Awards were given for the best papers.  All sessions were free and open to the public. For a complete listing of presentations, locations and times click here.

A featured speaker was Lipscomb’s Dr. Douglas Ribeiro, assistant professor in the department of psychology. He discussed “A Journey into Undocumented America and Implications for Psychological Science and Practice.” Additionally, Dr. Lynette Overby, undergraduate research director and professor of theater at the University of Delaware, spoke on “A Path to Student Engagement—Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities.”

“The creation and advancement of knowledge in academic fields is often the greatest excitement that we have as scholars and teachers,” said Mhlanga, professor of biology and coordinator of the two-year-old symposium. “I believe attendees were mightily impressed as we showcased the students’ work and took their excellence to the next level.”

"The Student Scholars Symposium allows both graduate and undergraduate students to hone their communication and presentation skills," Mhlanga said. It promotes confidence among students while also supporting the College of Arts and Sciences’ general focus to get more students involved in one-on-one research projects with faculty.

“Advanced research opportunities at the undergraduate level have been shown to engage students better. Their attention improves, and they learn problem-solving and critical-thinking skills better. They tend to go on to graduate schools and medical schools more often,” Mhlanga said.

The interdisciplinary conference featured students and faculty from other colleges across the campus including Bible, pharmaceutical sciences, education, computing and informatics and engineering. “We want to put our school on the map, and these are the fruits of our labor,” Mhlanga said.