Chapman University’s Center for Undergraduate Excellence will be hosting its first-ever virtual Undergraduate Student Scholar Symposium. Occurring on May 5th – May 6th, the symposium will feature more than 200 poster and oral presentations from diverse academic and creative disciplines allowing student presenters to interact with guests in virtual meeting rooms synchronously.
The Spring Student Scholar Symposium is CUE’s biggest event of the year. This campus wide event is a celebration of the remarkable scholarship and creativity conducted by Chapman undergraduates, anticipated by students and faculty each year.
Planning the symposium for over a year, CUE was excited to launch new presentation platforms to now include performing arts and film and media arts, alongside with oral and poster presentations of previous symposiums. Yet with the unexpected and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the CUE staff had to suddenly re-envision the symposium and create an entirely new virtual alternative in a month’s time.
“All campus events were immediately shut down, and CUE could have done the same. But we knew we had to find a way to pull it off.” remarked Lisa Kendrick, Operations Manager at the Center for Undergraduate Excellence.
“Although students don’t get to have the in-person experience, they will still get the experience of preparing a poster or presentation and now they can present their work live from anywhere,” added Dr. Julye Bidmead, the director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence.
In fact, CUE is always exploring innovative ways to connect with students, and they had a few ideas in their back pocket. “We ultimately decided that we would like to keep a live element to our symposium,” said Jackie Coyne, administrative assistant at the CUE. Upon connecting with other universities to share information on how to accomplish this, the CUE staff researched and tested various platforms. Though they faced some challenges with technical issues and operating under an extremely short time frame, they were quickly overcome. The CUE staff are optimistic about next week’s symposium and have already received positive feedback from Chapman faculty and students who have been included in two different test symposiums.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that the symposium is a success. We know there will be challenges – this is uncharted territory for everyone. We can only do our best and hope for positive results,” Kendrick said.
Would you like to engage with the student presenters in virtual breakout sessions during the Student Scholar Symposium? Information and a link to the Student Scholar Symposium platform can be found on the Center for Undergraduate’s symposium web page.