“Seminar” is an intense 40-minute presentation in which students:
- Summarize research published in a peer-reviewed journal, speaking before the entire department – students and faculty.
- Accept questions from the audience.
- Undergo a “debriefing” critique by faculty.
- Watch the videotaped presentation and write a self-critique.
- Use what they’ve learned during their first seminar to improve their second seminar, which is slightly longer and covers a broader topic.
Fulfilling this graduation requirement is a rite of passage for every student in the department, and seminar just might be the greatest challenge most Susquehanna science majors will face during their academic careers. But most alumni will attest, it’s a valuable exercise that prepares students for careers and graduate study.
It’s an important learning experience, teaching students to critically review their own work and that of their peers, to think on their feet, and to communicate effectively under pressure.
Seminar is also great preparation for the “real world,” because while chemists and biochemists often work in laboratories, they must be ready to present their results to peers and critics, whether they work in academia or industry.