Students showcase international work

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    By Jon Ryskamp

    The subjects are varied: ethnobotany, linguistics, child welfare, etc.

    The countries represented are diverse: Fiji, Guatemala, South Africa, and many more.

    Today is the first day of a three-day conference that creates a forum for students to showcase the international academic work they have spent hundreds of hours creating.

    “We came up with the conference because we had students going out into the field doing really quite amazing things, particularly in light that they are undergraduates,” said David A. Shuler, director of field studies. “In times past these kinds of approaches to education were reserved for master students and Ph.D. students.”

    In total 37 different students will present their international academic work during the International Field Studies Inquiry Conference.

    “I”m excited about doing it,” said John Edvalson, of Benton City, Wash., who will present research he conducted on Catholics and religious symbolism. “It”s a good opportunity for students that plan on going into field studies programs because they will be prepared to do professional presentations in the future.”

    The conference is modeled after professional academic conferences – each student will have 15 minutes to present and then 5 to 10 minutes will be given for a question-answer session.

    It will be in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies in Room 238 HRCB.

    Each day of the conference will have a different theme. Today is World Day and students will present from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Thursday, the focus of the presentations will be South America and presentations will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday”s theme is Africa and presentations will start at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.

    Shuler said the conference is designed to be easily accessible to students who wish to stop in between classes.

    “We want people to feel free [to drop by],” Shuler said. “The chairs are set up so that people can slip in and stay for 30 minutes and then slip out.”

    He said the conference is intended to be an example to other professors of successful faculty mentoring. Each student who presents has had at least one and often times multiple professors as mentors.

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