Student Scholars Day

GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Students and Faculty attended the Keynote Lecture presented by Dr. David Wineland on Apr. 13, 2016 in Allendale.

Kasey Garvelink

GVL / Kasey Garvelink – Students and Faculty attended the Keynote Lecture presented by Dr. David Wineland on Apr. 13, 2016 in Allendale.

Sanda Vazgec

Presenting research at the collegiate level is something that is usually only done by graduate or doctoral students, but Grand Valley State University aims to change that. Each year, the university dedicates an entire day for undergraduate students to showcase their work and research.

On April 13, more than 600 GVSU undergraduate students participated in Student Scholars Day.

Students presented their work through posters, oral presentations, panel discussions, live performances and art exhibitions. The day is dedicated to sharing, showcasing and celebrating faculty-supported undergraduate work from students of all disciplines.

The event is an opportunity for students to gain experience in a professional environment, taking their interest in a topic beyond the classroom through in-depth research.

Alice Chapman, associate professor of history at GVSU, said the university is unique in that it provides students with faculty support that allows them to take their research further.

“We encourage all students to take advantage of opportunities to work with faculty because at the undergraduate level there are not many schools in the United States that have (an opportunity like) this,” Chapman said.

Students who have participated in the past have gone on to present at regional and national conferences, others have had their work published in peer-reviewed journals.

Susan Mendoza, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, said the event expands yearly to accommodate all of the work students have done.

“Every year the number of student and faculty involvement increases, as well as the diversity of the work,” Mendoza said. “So it’s intentional in insuring that each student feels like they have a place to showcase their work regardless of discipline or class standing.”

Oral and poster presentations were showcased throughout the Kirkhof Center and in Henry Hall from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., where student presenters were available to discuss their research.

Panel discussions along with film and video presentations were located throughout the Mary Idema Pew library. Art exhibitions were located in the atrium of the library where an artist reception was held at 5:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, student ambassadors were available in the Kirkhof Center lobby to guide students to any particular section or presentation they were interested in viewing. This provided an opportunity for students to learn about other disciplines at GVSU. This also served as an opportunity for students who have not yet chosen a discipline to study to learn about a subject first-hand from a fellow peer.

In addition to student presentations, the event included keynote speaker David Wineland, a Nobel Prize recipient. Wineland discussed quantum computing and some characteristics of Erwin Schrödinger’s work as it related to the topic.

Student Scholars Day is open for all GVSU undergraduate students to participate in. The registration process opens in February of the year the event will be held. Students have a few weeks to submit an abstract or artist statement describing their work, which must be supported by a faculty mentor.

For more information on Student Scholars Day, visit