Committee seeks student submissions for 'Illumination'

Mercyhurst University plans to highlight the diverse projects of its student population with an end-of-year event.

On Friday, April 24, from 1- 4 p.m. in the Center for Academic Engagement atrium, Mercyhurst students will have a chance to display posters of projects they worked on during the year in a showcase titled, Illumination 2015.

The showcase is a chance for Mercyhurst students to create and display posters of projects they worked on during the year and explain and discuss them with other students, faculty and the public.

Formerly the Student Scholarship Symposium, Illumination has been opened to students of all majors and academic years. This decision was made by the Student Research Committee, Honors Program and Institutional Advancement in an effort to display a wide range of projects. Formerly open to traditional research projects, Illumination is now seeking entries relating to everything from arts and service projects, as well as the work and internship experiences of the student body.

Thomas Cook, Ph.D., assistant professor of Public Health and member of the Student Research Committee, said it was only natural to extend the showcase to all areas of student work and activity besides just traditional research, as it had been before this year.

“With the new emphasis on experiential learning and internships, it made sense to include these in the showcase,” Cook said.

Illumination is modeled after the Ovation event held at Baldwin Wallace University, which displays over 200 submissions each year and has a smaller student population compared to Mercyhurst, according to Cook. The Student Research Committee’s hope is that all Mercyhurst students will want to participate and attend Illumination in the future.

Renamed Illumination to emphasize the main idea that the goal is to “shed some light on student work, student ideas, and all the many good things students do,” Cook said.

Awards and special recognitions will be offered for outstanding student entries. All entries will be rated on the quality of the presentation, ability of the presenter to explain their project in less than two minutes and other criteria, which can be applied across diverse projects. This will be done regardless of their categories.

Four student representatives and three faculty members serving on the Student Research Committee will decide which student entries to award or recognize as an outstanding contribution.

Another new element in this year’s event is a Scholarship Donors Luncheon. This will allow donors a chance to see the entries of the students.

The Student Research Committee wants more students to participate in Illumination, whether by presenting, helping to set up or just attending the event to view the projects of their peers.

Rolfe Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor of Political Science and a member of the Student Research Committee, is also excited by the chance to view a wide range of projects completed by students.

“We want to show the broad diversity of projects and experiences that students have at Mercyhurst,” said Peterson. “The goal for us is to include more perspectives in projects.”