GV student scholarship showcased at upcoming Student Scholars Day


GVL / Meghan Landgren

Clemence Daniere, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University will host its 26th annual Student Scholars Day (SSD) on April 13. This event, which will run for an entire week, will showcase scholarship and creative work from GVSU students. Faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend and view the work of participating students. 

SSD aims to provide a space for students to present their accomplishments in their respective fields. Students will present their projects, artwork and performances, with poster presentations and collaborative sessions of three to five students sharing their work with faculty. 

This event was held online for the past two years — leaving little room for the GVSU community to be immersed in the scholarship of their peers. Some students who’re in their first years at GVSU may be unaware of SSD. 

“You can see it with your own eyes this year, instead of it just existing online,” said Susan Mendoza, Director of the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement. “There’s something nice about that interaction of student and faculty talking about their research and seeing their research.” 

Mendoza’s work on SSD revolved around working on a committee to design and implement the appearance of the event. Some of these events will be held in person in the Kirkhof Center and Henry Hall, while others will be held online in order to accommodate as many visitors as possible. 

This year, the event will showcase almost 250 presentations by nearly 400 student presenters in various fields of study. This number is down from pre-pandemic years which saw between 700 and 800 students share their work. Students who’re not presenting are encouraged to attend. 

“A fundamental part of academic life, life at college, is showing up and experiencing the possibility of doing more, exploring more, becoming more,” Mendoza said. “SSD provides students with the opportunity to see what’s possible, explore the possibilities and reimagine their own potential.”

Aside from student presentations, there will be four central events. Two will be held in person and the other two over Zoom. The central events will begin on April 11 with a virtual panel discussion focused on transitioning from undergraduate education to graduate school. On April 12 in the Allendale Campus Library, anthropology and sociology professor Jakia Marie will share what she learned in her education and scholarship as a first-generation student.

The week will close out on April 13 with a virtual presentation on inclusion and what being human means in the fields of STEM. This event will be presented by Sheila Jaswal, an associate professor at Amherst College, and Sam Young, a third-year student at Amherst College. 

Although it’s not usual for universities around the country to hold student symposiums, GVSU hosts one of the largest and oldest. Over the past 26 years, SSD has served as a model for other universities’ symposiums, which have taken the idea and adapted it for their own community. 

The GVSU faculty is passionate and committed to seeing student scholarships and helping them showcase their research, Mendoza said. 

“I always say, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know,’”  Mendoza said. “The Student Scholars Day provides students the ability to see the type of work that is done on campus by students and recognize and perhaps pursue their own creative work, whether that be through research questions or not.”