Kent State Undergraduate Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity beginning next semester

Bruce Walton

Kent State will host its first Undergraduate Student Symposium of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity in Spring 2014.

Eboni Pringle, dean of Undergraduate Studies said that the symposium’s development started as an idea from Todd Diacon, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“The provost really saw the value in expanding the opportunity that students have to work with faculty members on exploring a problem and then looking at an opportunity to address that problem or to research that problem,” Pringle said.

Pringle said she and co-chairman Grant McGimpsey, vice president of the Research and Sponsored Programs, led a committee for symposium development fall of 2012.

Pringle said the committee doesn’t want the symposium to focus only on research, but cover other areas of academics.

“I think we have to think beyond typical research conversations we’ve had in the past where it’s just: someone goes in a lab, they do an experiment, they produce results and then they then report on those results,” Pringle said. “We have to look at how, in many ways, individuals investigate problems in the real world, and then look at how that can fit into this model of sharing that with the community.”

Pringle said the the symposium’s presentations will be divided into different academic categories. The committee may then award winners of each category with cash prizes.

Pringle said the symposium gives an opportunity for students to share a topic they chose to explore in depth with the entire Kent State community. She said the symposium will accept all students with an idea to expand on in areas beyond just research in a lab. Presentations will focus on scholarly work or creative activity in the arts or sciences.

Pringle said participants will be required to pair up with a faculty or graduate student mentor. She said she has already received positive feedback from several students and professors who plan on participating in the event.

Emma Rawlison, a junior English major, said the idea of the symposium, including research opportunities for the arts, would be great for English majors.

“English courses have such a wide variety of topics that it’s really easy to take one,” Rawlison said, “and you take one for one semester and you really enjoy it, but there aren’t quite as many building block opportunities in English.”

Joseph Ortiz, full-time geology professor and member of the committee establishing the symposium, said he has found working in undergraduate studies to be very rewarding and agrees the symposium would improve the opportunities for students.

“The research symposium provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the work that they’re doing and really get the encouragement and feedback they need on their research project,” Ortiz said, “And I’ve found that undergraduate research is a great way to really get a feel for a particular field of understanding. It’s one thing to read about something in a book, it’s quite something else to actually do some research and figure out how something works.”

Pringle said students can sign up for the symposium from Jan. 13, to Feb. 17 with a written abstract of their presentation sent to the committee. For more information, visit

Multimedia Components: Give a link to more information ( and if given more time, show different poster presentations of students planning to give research, and photo profiles of each one.

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].