Academic All-Stars

Colgate showcased the accomplishments of students in a wide range of academic fields this week in its first annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works.

The event spotlights projects from some of Colgate’s finest students in all academic departments from archaeology and physics to art and music. Research poster presentations, art shows, recitals, plays and lectures are among the many events scheduled.

The week culminates this weekend with the second annual Arts and Humanities Conference, a student-organized event that brings together young scholars from Cornell, Dartmouth, SUNY Genesco and Colgate to present their work to a peer audience.

For Associate Professor in the University Libraries and Coordinator of Undergraduate Research Mary Jane Walsh, the presentation of these projects is an integral part of the academic process.

“Sharing is a necessary part of research and creative work,” Walsh said. “Research must be shared with others. It must undergo the review and criticism of peers in order to create a base of knowledge upon which others will expand.”

Research and creative projects also factor into the Colgate Strategic Plan. Through such ventures, the university aims to strengthen faculty-student engagement, boost creativity and productivity and foster liberal arts skills for the new millennium.

Undergraduate projects like the ones being featured this week are also intended to demonstrate a stimulating academic environment.

Every academic discipline was represented this week, from junior Brenna O’Rourke’s paper Gouverneur Morris: the Unconstitutional Man Who Wrote the Constitution to junior Scott Krummey’s work on prostate cancer (in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute) to senior Julie Saiki’s Interactive Sonata for Violin and Electronic Sound.

Junior Kristin Landau presented her paper on the Great Plaza of Cop??n, an ancient Mayan city in Honduras. The essay is the product of work that she began in the fall of 2004 in Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and Native American Studies Tony Aveni’s Archaeoastronomy course. Landau spent her spring semester in Cop??n last year, carrying out even more detailed research and developing her own theory about the Great Plaza.

“Involving myself in this research has completely changed my life, not least because of the places it took me,” Landau said. “I feel that I have a true grasp of what real research, analysis and synthesis entails, and this knowledge gives me a better understanding and more thorough appreciation for academia at Colgate.Plus, I just like playing in the dirt.”