This past Friday was the annual Luther College Student Research Symposium day. The Symposium is an all-day affair which the entire student body is encouraged to attend. Classes are called off (which can be a cause of rejoicing in and of itself), but I am happy to report that most people don't just use the time to sleep in. The day allows the campus to celebrate the fruits of student labors, both in the realm of research and with respect to creative projects. All told, it's a splendid affair.
For this year’s Symposium, I submitted an abstract for my senior paper, and I was invited to present. I awoke in the morning to find an unfortunately gray and drizzly sky; nevertheless, I ate a quick breakfast and made my way to the Center for Faith and Life for the opening convocation. While there, I was able to admire the impressive stage set-up for this year’s opera performance. The music department is putting on a production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte”, and I plan to attend tonight’s show. I have high hopes, because the operas here have always been executed exceptionally well.
Returning to the Symposium, I wasn’t slated to present until 3:45, so I had plenty of opportunity to sit in on other sessions. Each session is an hour long with three presenters, each of whom is allotted twenty minutes to present and take questions. The topics are selected so as to have an overarching theme for every group, but there is still a great variety of subject matter to hear about at any one of them. For example, I was able to hear about research into the economy of knowledge in European universities, the sale of munitions by Norwegian arms manufacturers, neuroscience and Thomas Pynchon’s approach to the historical novel, the death (by suicide?) of Tchaikovsky, and a great deal more. A full program of this year’s presentations can be found online.
Eventually, the time rolled around for me to present. Despite suffering from a persistent chest cold that has troubled me this week, I was able to pull off a good presentation with minimal bouts of coughing. Afterwards, I was congratulated for having made a topic that sounds as foreign and intimidating as “The Four-Dimensional Person” sounds approachable and engaging. What is more, I was happy to see a sizeable turnout for the session (it’s always nice to have a big audience).
The Research Symposium has always been something that I particularly like about Luther, (and not just because it gets us out of class!). It helps to remind everyone about the bigger picture of what we’re doing here at college, and how the members of our community are always endeavoring to learn more and enlighten each other for the betterment of all.