Seniors Show Their Stuff

Senior Scholars Day

This spring’s Senior Scholars Day, an SU tradition dating back 30 years, allowed members of the Class of 2011 to give culminating presentations of their academic and creative work. The Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center and the Cunningham Center for Music and Art were abuzz with poster displays, oral presentations and recitals—and more than 150 participating students, their faculty supervisors and other attendees.

The range of presentations demonstrated the variety of academic interests on campus. Among other things, topics addressed WikiLeaks, wolf spiders, political ideologies, academic cheating, legalized gambling and Christian moral considerations regarding economics. Many were focused on college, like Hand Hygiene Habits of College Students Before Meals, a presentation by Sarah Burrows ’11; Factors That Influence Community in Residence Halls, by Amanda George ’11; and Male Involvement on a Small, Liberal Arts Campus, by Diane Eshelman ’11.

Christiana Paradis ’11’s presentation was Susquehanna-specific. She shared the results of her Carl Hitchner Fellowship, which tackled the use of harmful language on campus. The Carl Hitchner Fellowship offers a student the opportunity to work on a project related to social justice.

“I think that people are more aware of the phrases they use and how they can be harmful,” Paradis says of her project’s results, although she believes that work on this issue should continue.

Paradis drew attention to harmful language with a poster series that educated students on racist, sexist and homophobic slurs. During the second semester, the focus of her poster series shifted to educating students on why certain language is offensive. She also showed two movies, American History X and What I Want My Words To Do To You, held roundtable discussions, and organized a panel on harmful language.

Paradis says her Senior Scholars Day experience gave her “a good opportunity to project things I’m interested in and present something I’m passionate about.”

Other presenters notice similar benefits. “I feel that I have gained a greater appreciation for the work of students within different academic departments,” says Megan Culkin ’11. She shared her research on the relationship between conquistadors and Aztecs in New Spain, and the development of hidden transcripts and artifacts. “Based on my presentation on Senior Scholars Day, I realized that I have reached a point in my education where I am comfortable taking my work outside of the classroom.”

Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Charlotte Lotz ‘12, Megan McDermott ‘14, Betsy K. Robertson and Karen M. Jones, assistant director of media relations.

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