SSD boasts largest turnout ever
Grand Valley State University hosted one of the largest groups of student presenters that it’s ever had
during yesterday’s Student Scholars Day. The 19th annual event showcased the faculty-mentored work
of 478 student participants compared to last year’s 350.
Students had the opportunity to share their work through a variety of creative forms including oral
presentations, discussion and panel sessions, fine arts exhibits and performances, and poster
“Research and scholarships is a treasured part of the academic experience,” said Susan Mendoza,
director of the office of undergraduate research and scholarship at GVSU. “Students take the
knowledge that they have learned in the classroom and employ it through research, creative work, and
scholarly projects. SSD is a celebration of their work and a time to come together as a community and
recognize the brilliant work they do.”
The presentations were held all day in the Kirkhof Center and Henry Hall, with keynote presentations
delivered by professors from Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. Susana Martinez-Conde
and Stephen L. Macknik presented “Sleight of Mind” about the connection between neuroscience and
“The SSD Committee selected these particular speakers because of their application of neuroscience to
more tangible mysteries such as illusion and magic,” Mendoza said. “Their topic will engage those
who are scientists and nonscientists alike.”
Tara Aday, a graduate research assistant in the OURS and a member of the SSD board, said this year
SSD included 320 presentations sponsored by 165 different faculty members.
“It is one of the largest years that we’ve had to date with the most poster presentations that we’ve
had,” Aday said.
The dynamic setup of the event allowed students to take a break from their busy schedules to take
part at any point during the day.
“One great thing about this event is that you don’t have to be here for the entire day for it to be a
meaningful experience,” Aday said. “You could come and look at one or two posters or presentations
and still have a good understanding of what research looks like.”
Aday became involved with SSD as an undergraduate student. She said she hopes to see students
become inspired by the research done by fellow students.
“We see a lot of students who know down the road that they would like to do research but they don’t
necessarily have a great understanding of what research looks like,” she said. “This is a good
opportunity for them to see the breadth of research that takes place at Grand Valley.”
Student presenters showcased a variety of disciplines including the hard sciences, women and gender
studies and political science.
Freshman Austin Meadows did undergraduate research under biomedical sciences professor Frank
Sylvester and was able to present the fruits of his research on a poster at SSD. His group did research
on the effect of certain organic functional groups on crayfish.
“We made the poster to present how we structured our scientific research and to present some of the
promising results of our research,” Meadows said.
Aday believes that all the research presentations were of equal importance and that all the students
can learn from one another.
“This is an opportunity for the entire community to really recognize and celebrate excellent
scholarship, research and creative studies that students are doing at GV,” she said.