Presenters share research projects in Scholarship Symposium

Dr. Gavin Richardson, professor of English, performs a dramatic reading of ‘The Fall of Lucifer’ Tuesday with Mary Laarz, junior English major, and Holly Owens, senior music major. | Photo by Jacob Moore

By Beth Byrd, Staff Writer

Students, faculty, staff and visitors gathered May 1 for the ninth annual Union University Scholarship Symposium to see the Union community’s academic achievements through posters, presentations and plays.

The event began at 12:30 p.m. in the Carl Grant Events Center, where 56 posters displayed research projects by students from Union campuses in Jackson, Germantown and Hendersonville. Students presented 79 research projects from 1-4 p.m..

Dr. Randall Phillips, director of research and associate professor of family studies, said 266 students worked with 53 faculty members to present research.

“(The symposium) is a venue for students to present evidence of their scholarly efforts and to do so in a forum venue, ” Phillips said. “The caliber of the presentations for the symposium is comparable to what you will find in a professional association or in an academic society.”

Ansley Geno and Shelby Holmes, senior psychology majors, worked for months on their project, “Impression Formation and The Preferential Treatment of Blondes.”

Narrowing their focus to Union female students, Geno and Holmes observed whether blondes received better treatment than brunettes. They conducted studies across campus that revealed nearly 59 percent of 75 observed groups showed preference for blonde females, because more doors were held open for blonde than non-blonde females.

“In order to get in graduate school, it is important to have research experience,” Geno said. “And I thought (participating in the symposium) would be fun.”

Dr. Gavin Richardson, professor of English, oversaw the presentation of “The Fall of Lucifer,” an anonymous medieval mystery play held at the W.D. Powell Theatre in the Penick Academic Complex.

Sixteen students from Richardson’s “The History of the English Language” class used Middle English to portray Satan’s damnation to hell.

Mary Laarz, senior English major who played Lucifer in the play, said she practiced her lines often to perform well for the symposium.

“(The Scholarship Symposium) is a chance for students to see work done by fellow classmates and to see a glimpse into the different classes offered on campus,” Laarz said. “This is a way for students to flex their academic muscles in a different venue.”

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