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21st Annual Scholarship and Creative Works Conference

By Joseph D’Andrea, Justin Kresse and Lizz Panchyk

Student scholars showed off their research and presentation skills at the 21st annual Scholarship and Creative Works Conference, with a total of 222 presentations by individual students and groups and around 750 attendees. 

The conference took place on April 16 in the University Center, starting with a faculty panel discussion and closely followed by student presentations for the next five hours. In between all this was a keynote delivered by Nicholas Kristof, an American columnist and foreign correspondent, who gave an informative and thought-provoking talk about his experiences reporting the news from around the world and the changes that he’s seen in recent years. He also discussed his newest book “Chasing Hope” and attendees were even able to reserve a free copy to be mailed to them.

Bharat Bhisé introduced the keynote speaker, Nicholas Kristof. Photo by Justin Kresse

After being introduced by Bharat Bhisé, MBA ‘78, CEO and founder of Bravia Capital, Kristof focused on his experiences in what was the second lecture in the Bhisé Global Understanding Project lecture series, which “seeks to understand the deep divisions that most nations in the world are faced with.” Kristof told stories of his time spent in other countries, primarily as a reporter, including when he moved to China as a Beijing bureau chief in 1988.

“How do we form judgments about the themes of the Bhisé Program [relating to] globalization? I think you have to simply go out and participate in that globalization and, to the extent possible, to go and travel,” he said. “And so what we encourage to those of you who are students is to try to find some pathway to go and see the world, and that can be through a study abroad program here at Adelphi.”

Explaining that he experienced unease himself when he studied Arabic for a year in Egypt, Kristof encouraged students to get out of their comfort zones. He continued: “If it's not possible within your university period, then also think after you graduate about whether there's an option to work for a year or two somewhere abroad. Maybe it is in the field you study. Maybe it's as an English teacher at a school somewhere or as an English tutor in a number of countries you can go and scrape together a decent living teaching English.”

Co-chair Wei Liu, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Public Health, said, “Compared with last year, I think having the keynote presentation in the middle of the day was a huge success with the high attendance.”

One highlight of the event were the poster presentations, covering everything from nursing self-care to AI algorithms for music categorization. Poster presentations are written out research done by students of all different interests presented in four different time slots in the UC ballroom. Presenting students aimed to inform passersby and professors about their research topics. This is a major part of the conference because of just how many students present.

Eddie Jansen, a junior physics major, presented his research on high-temperature superconductivity with the goal of increasing the promise of green energy. 

“I was surprised to see how many people were excited about this topic,” Jansen said. “Maybe that had to do with the green energy aspect of it, or possibly the artificial intelligence side of things with the recent popularity of ChatGPT. Either way, everyone I spoke to wanted to hear something, and I believe that is a telling sign that maybe you’re onto something larger than yourself. And that is ultimately my goal with this research— with any research even. It is the means by which we can pursue a higher cause.”

Jacob Frey presented his honors thesis project, which explored the ability of artificial intelligence to recognize emotion in music. Photo by Justin Kresse

Jacob Frey, a senior computer science major, also presented during this poster section, discussing his honors thesis project titled “Exploring the Potential of Artificial Intelligence in Music-Emotion Recognition.” Frey said the experience “opened [his] eyes to all the brilliant work being accomplished by fellow students and showed [him] new directions to take [his] research in.”

Besides the poster presentations, the conference had other sections to accommodate students working in many disciplines. This included oral presentations where students talked about their work with a slide show, computer science presentations where students showcased their projects on computers, dance performances and visual arts presentations. 

Norah Curran presented her honors thesis project combining her interdisciplinary studies and digital production majors. Photo by Justin Kresse

Norah Curran, also a member of the class of 2024, presented her honors thesis project “‘I Am a Website’: Human/Computer Cognition & Intersubjectivity Through Interaction” during that same session. Curran – an interdisciplinary studies (Comp Sci, English and Philosophy) and digital production major – described her project as answering the question “How would the technology to upload your consciousness into a computer change what it means to have a self, especially as a student?” The project takes on multiple genres of writing and uses texts from posthuman philosophy and narratology to Adelphi’s own marketing material to understand self-creation via technology.

The oral presentation sessions were filled with a wide variety of students presenting their research and work. Among them were Jenna Masci, a senior criminal justice major discussing her research into incarceration and programs that help previously incarcerated individuals and senior Ryan Hughes, a political science major, discussing his research into exploitation and its effects on economic development in South America.

This 21st year of the conference was headed by co-chairs Liu and Alexander Heyl of the Biology Department. They were co-chairs last year as well and worked very hard to see that everything ran smoothly in preparation for the conference, especially on the day of, with plenty of staff and tech people around to answer questions or quickly fix any issues that came up during the presentations. 

Committee members who also helped to prepare for the conference included: business professor Charles R. Baker; Laura Brumariu, associate dean for Professional Programs and Student Advancement; Dominic Fareri, associate professor of psychology; Nathan George, assistant teaching professor of psychology; Sung Hoon Kim, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science; Karolina Lempert, assistant professor of psychology; David Pierce, assistant professor of art and art history; and Matthew Wright, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics.

Overall, the day went very smoothly and was a phenomenal way – as the conference always is – to showcase the variety and amount of research and creative works being accomplished by students at Adelphi.

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