By: Rebekka Carpenter ’18, Staff Writer
Undergraduate students from across the country were given a unique opportunity to showcase their research at Lebanon Valley College.
The annual installment of The Examined Life (TEL): An Undergraduate Conference in the Liberal Arts was hosted by Lebanon Valley College on March 23 and 24. This year the theme was “The Cultural Politics of Memory.” Proposals submitted explored the different ways memory shapes our existence in relation to the Liberal Arts discipline.
Not only did the conference offer students a unique chance to present their work but it also gave some the opportunity to plan the conference.
“I was approached last semester to be a student planner for TEL Undergrad Conference, I was honored and gladly accepted,” Victoria Bubacaz, a senior religion and business administration major, said. “We were in charge of keeping the website and Facebook page updated, answered questions via email, edited the call for papers, read and finally selected papers for the panels.”
Students from LVC were also given a chance to participate in an undergraduate conference without having to travel far away. This is an opportunity that not many are given.
“The Examined Life conference provided me the opportunity to present my work in a professional fashion and receive feedback from peers and professors,” Marie Gorman, senior international studies and Spanish major from LVC, said.
Participants were separated into panels with other students; the panels were open to the public to come view. These panels gave participants real life experience in how a conference would work.
“I really enjoyed presenting research that I had been working on for over a semester,” Megan Kimmel, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology and Spanish major, said. “It was neat to see all of the LVC students who came to the panels and it was also a good opportunity to learn what it’s like to be on a panel.”
The conference was also open to students from all over the country to participate in. Participants traveled from as close as Albright College in Reading, Pa. to as far away as Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.
“The conference was a huge learning experience, and it was such a phenomenal opportunity to engage with like-minded students in our niche of interest,” Elise Grape, a senior religion and biology major from Wheaton College, said. “The undergraduate religion and philosophy world is a small one on most campuses and we often end up limited by the expertise of our professors and the resources that are available to us. This conference expanded that as it provided exposure to a variety of work that these students from different institutions had created.”
At the end of the conference, a panel of judges picked the top three papers that were awarded cash prizes. This year’s runner-ups were Anna Quinn, senior global studies and Spanish double, major from LVC and Sophia Darby, a senior religion and music double major, from Wheaton College. The award for best paper was given to Elise Grape.
“That is the real value of learning opportunities like this: We network ideas as much as we network with people, and LVC created the space to do that,” Grape said.
Overall the conference was a success for all the participants, as they expanded their networks, strengthened their public speaking skills, displayed their hard work and received feedback on their research. It was a unique experience that will be a great addition to their resume.