SSD showcases student research at GV

Krisy Force

Grand Valley State University undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized for their research work this week at the second annual Graduate Showcase and the 17th-annual Student Scholars Day (SSD).

Jeffrey Potteiger, dean of graduate studies at GVSU, said the Graduate Showcase began last year in an attempt to demonstrate the outstanding projects of graduate students not only to GVSU and the community, but also to people outside of the community. Last year, the event took place on two different days and was split between the DeVos Center and the Cook-Devos Center, but this year all graduate students will present together.

“When people come to see the graduate showcase they get to see all of the work done by graduate students across all programs rather than half,” he said.

This year the Graduate Studies Department has sent out notices to several local organizations and to all local state legislators to ensure a strong community involvement. State Rep. Ken Yonker and State Rep. Brandon Dillon have confirmed they will be in attendance.

Thirty to 40 participants across the 29 graduate programs will be presenting research in the form of poster presentations at this year’s showcase. Guest speaker James Shiveley will also be addressing the audience about the interaction of teaching and research. Concluding the day will be the outstanding poster award ceremony where five graduate students will be selected as winners.

The undergraduate Student Scholars Day will consist of a combination of oral presentations and a variety of posters from undergraduate students.

Graduate assistant and SSD committee member Megan Shannahan said the program has been expanding over the years.

“This year we have over 500 students presenting over 300 presentations from a wide range of disciplines,” Shannahan said, adding that the day gives students the chance to expose what they have been working on.

“Research in general can give students the opportunity to gain real world experience and helps them to make connections to classroom work,” she said.

Biomedical sciences major Elizabeth Melching, an SSD participant, said research is important to provide a different, more practical aspect of learning.

“It’s one thing to go to a classroom and listen to a lecture, but it is another to get involved hands-on,” Melching said.

Potteiger added that research allows students to become better critical thinkers, have a better understanding of the global issues and be able to think in and out of context.

“We identify a question in a particular field, or social issue; you collect information about that question and then you make decisions and judgments about how you need to answer that question,” Potteiger said.

He stressed the importance of supporting student research by attending these events because some students have spent many months or more on their research projects.

The Graduate Showcase will run Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Loosemore Auditorium. The following day, Student Scholars Day will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center and the Henry Hall atrium.

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