Students become teachers for SSRD

by University Communications,

On Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD), classes are canceled — but not learning.

The 15-year tradition continued April 22, when more than 300 students spread across campus to present projects in creative, scientific and academic fields.

For students and the greater Willamette community, SSRD celebrates the pursuit of knowledge and offers a reminder that everyone, in every discipline, has expertise to share.

This year’s science poster sessions – where people could learn about such topics as LSD and the use of lasers in medicine – buzzed with inquisitive visitors throughout the day.

Lydia Vanderburg ’17, an environmental science major, presented a poster detailing her research on allelopathy, the process by which invasive species inhibit the growth of other plants by emitting chemicals into the surrounding soil.

“Not many students get to engage with science because everyone has his or her field, so it’s fun to have a poster that’s interesting to people and relevant to modern science,” she says.

Across campus in Eaton, sociology major Tim Chen ’15 shared findings from his senior capstone project, “A Model of Power and Fear.” His presentation explored what makes students feel safe on campus and the effects of fear on various demographics.

A few rooms over, environmental science and biology major Olivia Mancl ’17 presented the results of her College Colloquium Student Research Grant, which combines her research on Walt Whitman’s contributions to environmentalism with her own experiences volunteering at Spring Rain Farm and Orchard through the World Wide Organization of Organic Farms (WWOOF).

Meanwhile, student musicians performed in Hudson Hall, art history majors shared their theses in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and theatre majors presented five short, original performances.

For Lance Rossi ’16, the best part of SSRD is learning about his friends’ accomplishments.

“SSRD is a micro-break where people can come out of their caves to see what others are doing,” says Rossi, an environmental science major. “It’s cool to see it come out in such an official way.”

• Article by Emma Jonas ’15, creative writing major