More than 200 students share original projects for SSRD on April 22

by University Communications,

More than 200 students will present their original projects — ranging from jazz performances to cutting-edge chemistry research — during the annual Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) at Willamette University.

This year, the presentations take place April 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. across the Willamette campus.

Associate Dean and SSRD Committee Chair Gretchen Flesher Moon says SSRD offers an incredible opportunity for students of all class levels to fill a gap in undergraduate research.

“These students experience all the things real researchers face. They have disappointments and hit dead ends; they also have exciting moments when the research goes somewhere they didn’t predict,” she says.

“The one thing they don’t always have, without SSRD, is an opportunity to present their research and be questioned on it, face to face.”

Arielle Chasteen ’15 is presenting this year for her first time. As a music major pursuing a career as a choir conductor, Chasteen says it’s important to direct choral students and work with top-of-the-line conductors, such as professor Wallace Long.

“I view this SSRD presentation as a springboard, launching me into my future career,” she says.

Chasteen will give a brief introduction about her work she has done during the past several months, and will perform a song with the Willamette Chamber Choir called “El Guyaboso,” by Guido López-Gavilán.

She says it’s important for community members and students to attend SSRD to support the hard work of their peers and to learn from others.

What the day isn’t only about, Chasteen and Moon agree, is the presenters.

“Students inspire one another to see what amazing work undergraduates can do,” Moon says. “Underclassmen who go to panels might be scared and think they can never do this — but soon enough, they are presenting.”

For Moon, SSRD offers an opportunity to showcase groundbreaking ideas and discoveries.

“SSRD demonstrates that education and the work that students do as part of their education is real-world work,” she says. “It addresses real problems, brings new information, new interpretations, new approaches to problem solving and even proposes new solutions.

“Students are already working on the problems they are going to solve in the future. They are preparing by practicing.”

• Article by Natalie Pate ’15, politics and French/Francophone studies major