Whitman Undergraduate Conference showcases student scholarship, talent

Undergraduate Conference

Area residents invited to attend; schedule includes several sessions focused on local issues, from architecture to Latino political participation.

WALLA WALLA – Give 175 Whitman students the lectern or stage and they will impress.

That’s what will happen at the 12th annual Whitman Undergraduate Conference, set for Tuesday, April 6, 2010 – 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Students will present the original work they produced in their courses, senior theses, summer internships and study abroad. The conference includes oral and poster presentations of academic research and musical performances. It takes place in venues around campus; details are available on the conference Web site.

“One day of every year at Whitman, the natural academic order on campus is reversed. Students become the lecturers, and faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, fellow students and area residents are the learners,” said Keith Raether, director of fellowships and grants and an organizer of the conference. “The Undergraduate Conference is a unique celebration of student achievement and a tremendous demonstration of the liberal arts learning experience.”

Aisha Fukushima Aisha Fukushima ’09 discusses her presentation at last year’s Undergraduate Conference

The conference offers students the experience of scholarly presentations more typically delivered by graduate students. Since so many Whitman students progress to advanced degree programs, the conference gives them a head-start. Student presentations this year are grouped into 36 panels on topics that range from “Environment and the Law” to “Whitman in the Andes” to “Practical Physics” to “Meaning and Mortality.”

Among highlights of this year’s presentations:

Ever wonder about the eclectic architecture in downtown Walla Walla? Stephanie Silver explores these architectural curiosities in her 2 p.m. presentation in Science 151.

One group of students will discuss their research on Latino political participation and representation in a 2 p.m. presentation in Science 100 (Brattain Auditorium).

Students who helped create the Network for Young Walla Walla will talk about the creation of this group, beginning at 10:45 a.m. in Science 165 (Gaiser Auditorium).

Other research topics to be explored throughout the day: Shakespearean tragedy, schizophrenia, spider phobia, bugs as protein, cognitive development and attention development delays in children, new drugs to combat Chagas disease, “pop” theatre, photographs and family identity, ageism against the elderly, innovation in the workplace, environmental conflict resolution in the Middle East, music editing and performance, religion, steroids in baseball, comics as storytelling medium and much more.

More than 30 students will present their research through detailed posters on display in Cordiner Hall from 1-2 p.m.

Also from 1-2 p.m., the Department of Chemistry will hold an open house to showcase its new Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer in the Hall of Science, Room 174.

“Our Undergraduate Conference offers an exciting showcase of engaged learning and collaborative scholarship that typify a Whitman education. We are delighted to invite all residents of Walla Walla to enjoy and experience the impressive work of our faculty and students,” said Whitman President George Bridges.

Doughty presentation Natalie Doughty ’10 presents research she carried out in Cañar, Ecuador.