Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman Engaged: Celebrating Student Work

Furman is known for its celebration and encouragement of diverse experiences. Since 2009, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships has set aside a day, known as Furman Engaged, to admire and reflect on such experiences of the student body.
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Courtesy of of Dr
Thomas Richardson (left) discusses his physics presentation with Dr. Bill Baker (right). Photo courtesy of Dr. David Moffett
Thomas Richardson (left) discusses his physics presentation with Dr. Bill Baker (right).
Photo courtesy of Dr. David Moffett

Furman is known for its celebration and encouragement of diverse experiences. Since 2009, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships has set aside a day, known as Furman Engaged, to admire and reflect on such experiences of the student body. The annual event brings the community, faculty members, student presenters, and their peers together through various presentations, demonstrations, and performances. Students present topics in a wide range of disciplines from Asian Studies to chemistry and everything in between.

Before Furman Engaged was organized in 2009, each department would have presentations of research, internships, and other projects over the course of a few days toward the end of the school year. This was often difficult to coordinate with class schedules and was not as widely attended. However, after Furman was awarded a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008, they were able to move all the presentations together to one day. Dr. John Kaup, program coordinator for Furman Engaged, said that the professors decided that “this is important enough to create a one day experience” and added that Furman Engaged is a “chance for everyone on campus to be exposed to the work of different departments that they wouldn’t normally see in a classroom setting.”

The sixth annual Furman Engaged Day started with a lecture from Harvard Professor and award-winning author Lisa Randall, Ph.D, who spoke about “Religion and Science in the Modern World.” Other events surrounding Furman Engaged included the International Food Festival, sponsored by the Furman University International Student Association. Furman’s Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra also performed Friday night in the chapel presenting Maurice Duruflé’s “Requiem”and Francis Poulenc’s “Concerto for Organ, Strings,and Timpani.” Furman’s Department of Theatre Arts continued their presentation of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” a humorous play about French society and doctors of the seventeenth century.

In terms of student presentations Dr. Kaup stated that there were around 60 oral and 200 poster presentations around campus, a similar number to last year.

“People always seem to be actively engaged in [this event],” he said, adding that this year “we had a bigger variety for oral presentations with about 14 to 16 departments participating. We also had a few more presentations on internship experiences.”

He added that, overall, the number of students participating, about 600 in total, was similar to numbers in years past.

Senior Callie Nestleroth gave her theatre senior presentation titled “A Career in Storytelling” in the Theatre Playhouse. Nestleroth said that her presentation “synthesized my work in the theatre department here over four years and how that leads into the future.”

The presentation gave students insight into the application of an undergraduate degree in theatre to the real world.

From the biology department, junior Jordan Ellington gave a presentation on the effect of agricultural, pastured, and forested land covers on freshwater stream fish in the Piedmont of South Carolina. Ellington, senior Walker Stinnette, and Governor School student Devon Frazier conducted research with Furman biology professor Dr. Dennis Haney.

“Basically we electro-fished, took water chemistry, sediment samples, and stream morphology measurements,” Ellington said.

However, their research did not come without problems.

“It rained so much last summer compared to the summers of 2011 and 2012,” Ellington said, noting that the increased precipitation could have affected the group’s results.

Overall they found that “streams were more incised and had higher chemical concentrations in agricultural sites, but this did not seem to have an overall negative or positive effect on the fish we sampled.”

Furman Engaged gives students the chance to see what their peers have been working on over the past year and allows them to gain more knowledge on a subject they wouldn’t necessarily learn about in a classroom setting.

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