Student Scholars Day returning to campus
On Wednesday, April 11, Grand Valley State University will once again host Student Scholars Day, an event that allows students and faculty to showcase exhibits, research and other projects they’ve worked on throughout the year. Bringing people of all backgrounds and disciplines together, the event will allow students and faculty to network and will give others insight into what GVSU students are accomplishing.
Richard Vallery, professor of physics and member of the SSD committee, sees the event as an opportunity for students and faculty to come together over similar interests and showcase projects they’ve devoted extensive time to.
“It’s good for students to go,” Vallery said. “It’s a celebration of what’s going on at the university, so it’s a good opportunity for them to celebrate the successes of their classmates. Faculty and students love to talk about what they’re doing, and they often don’t get the opportunity to.”
Vallery also sees the event as way to encourage other students, giving them insight into their classmates' projects and inspiring them to pursue projects of their own.
“I think if you’re a younger student, a freshman, sophomore or even a junior, it’s a good opportunity to see what’s going on and see if there’s something they could be doing," Vallery said. "We would very much encourage them, and it’s a big part of the Office of Undergraduate Research to get students involved in doing research. It’s not just for going to graduate school—it’s useful for whatever career you go into.”
Melissa Morison, professor within the Department of Classics and member of the SSD committee, said the event’s large number of students and faculty from different departments will make the day an intriguing event for people of all interests and backgrounds.
“About 575 Grand Valley students are presenting their work this year, and more than 170 faculty members have mentored their work along the way; it's so exciting,” Morison said via email. “There will be many different kinds of presentations, including posters, short talks, art exhibits and more throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Really, there is something interesting for everyone.”
Although attending the event and viewing presentations is encouraged, both Morison and Vallery hope students take advantage of the SSD schedule builder tool, located on the SSD website, which allows users to navigate the event and find presentations that fit particular interests.
"We encourage people to walk around and see what grabs you, but the schedule builder will also list the times the students will be at their posters or giving their talks, so they can make sure they overlap with it,” Vallery said.
A new panel discussion will be offered during the evening as well.
“In the evening, there’s a particularly good opportunity: There will be a panel about communicating your research broadly,” Vallery said. “We used to have an invited speaker and have a talk, but the committee last year decided a panel might be interesting because it would give students the ability to interact more directly.
"There’ll be a panel of five GVSU faculty members from all areas of the university from all disciplines, so it’s a wide range of people.”
The panel, "Research That Relates," will begin at 5 p.m.
“We all want to make a difference, to make the world a better place, but telling your story effectively is the only way your work can really have an impact," Morison said. "In this session, faculty with significant expertise in this area will discuss how they share their research and scholarship with the community and how their work informs business, public policy, local history and government.”
Both Morison and Vallery see SSD as a great networking opportunity and encourage students to attend for multiple reasons.
“Talk with fellow students about the work they've been doing," Morison said. "You'll probably see more than one project that interests you, and you can learn how to connect with a faculty member you might want to work with on a project."
Vallery said attending the event gives insight into a diverse number of projects and illustrates the unique backgrounds of GVSU students.
“These projects come from all aspects," he said. "Some come from independent research, some are part of class projects and, regardless of where they’ve come from, I’m genuinely impressed as to the quality of what I see."
Students are encouraged to attend SSD, which will span from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be held over three locations: the Henry Hall Atrium, Kirkhof Center and the Mary Idema Pew Library on GVSU's Allendale Campus.