The Thomas More College Student Research Forum provides a means for students and faculty to share their work and knowledge with the broader college community. Bradley Bielski, Ph.D., former academic dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, provided the main impetus for this initiative. As academic dean, Dr. Bielski was regularly informed of presentations performed by student researchers at regional and national conferences. However, it was rare for these students to share their work with fellow students and faculty at Thomas More College. The Student Research Forum was the solution. Housed within the halls of the College, it was possible to showcase the talent and expertise in our academic programs to a population who may have otherwise remained unaware.
From the beginning, the Student Research Forum has sought to be as inclusive as possible, encouraging participants from all disciplines represented by the College. Presentations are divided into four divisions: sciences, social sciences and professions, humanities, and graduate programs. In the past six years, the number of departments and programs represented in the Forum has expanded from nine in 2010, to 16 in 2013, and 13 in this year’s Forum. Each year, the diversity of research topics is impressive, ranging from “Super Massive Black Holes” and “Bisphenol A (BPA) in prostate cancer” to “homicidal somnambulism” and “Euroscepticism in Europe.”
One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises during the first forum was the vibrant and exuberant atmosphere created in the hallways from the moment the forum began. Traveling between classes, many students unexpectedly stumbled into a conference atmosphere staffed by their peers. Quickly, each presenter was surrounded by an eager crowd, waiting to hear about their work and experience. Unique to an in-house forum, the presenters were able to describe their projects to friends and roommates instead of complete strangers. Additionally, due to the nature of the forum and its crowd, presenters were forced to explain their research to individuals outside of their discipline — a valuable skill for any researcher.
This year’s Student Research Forum provided an opportunity to expand the audience beyond the College itself. The new evening portion of the forum drew attendance from alumni, Board of Trustee members, prospective students, and the local community. In many ways, the evening session has allowed us to bring together the past, present, and future of the College in one exceptional event. The Student Research Forum is quickly becoming a valued tradition for the College community and will continue to provide a vital link between generations for years to come.
For additional information about the 2015 Student Research Forum Click Here.
View additional photos from the 2015 Student Research Forum Here.