Illumination seeks student entries for Symposium

Rebecca Dunphy, News Editor

The 2020-2021 academic year was undoubtedly one unlike any other, yet throughout it all students remained steadfast in their studies. To highlight notable scholarly work of Mercyhurst students, the Illumination Symposium will be held on April 22 and 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Ryan Hall’s Waterford Room.
Illumination is an annual event that showcases the wide variety of projects students take part in throughout the semester. From traditional research to service, internships and art, the symposium offers representation for a variety of subjects.
The event is typically organized by the Student Scholarship Committee, a committee of the Faculty Senate, however this year’s event is in collaboration with the Faculty Scholarship Committee as part of a week-long celebration of scholars.
“I served as chair of the committee last year given my interest in highlighting the good work of Mercyhurst students,” said Student Scholarship Committee chair, Adam Saeler, Ph.D. “Unfortunately, due to COVID, our efforts were not seen to fruition last year. When the call for volunteers was offered late this academic year, I felt like I might actually get to see the work come to fruition.”
The committee’s efforts have certainly come to fruition with 30 works being submitted as of the April 15 deadline. With information sent out to all Mercyhurst students, the opportunity was open to any student with the desire to showcase their work from the academic year.
The Illumination Symposium will include both in-person and virtual components for viewership.
“Traditionally, students have presented their work via a poster presentation. The posters provide any interested party with a visual overview of the work with the student being present to answer any questions from interested parties,” said Saeler. “The Waterford Room in Ryan Hall will be open for those interested to view the scholarship of students; an Illumination e-program will highlight the work and when students will be available to answer questions about their work. The plan is to also include any full papers submitted or links to recorded presentations in that e-program.”
Like the rest of the university, the event will abide by COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, including the requirement of masks, opening the entirety of the room to ensure social distancing and limiting the number of attendees at a time. Students will also have the option to pre-record their presentation.
Despite any changes facing this year’s symposium, the purpose remains the same: to recognize outstanding scholarship.
“The hard work of Mercyhurst students should be celebrated simply based on the effort. For many students, the research submitted and presented at Illumination is the culmination of their years at Mercyhurst in that many are submitting their senior thesis,” said Saeler. All great effort deserves some form of accolade.