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SSRD highlights student achievement


The College of Liberal Arts did not schedule classes for Wednesday, April 24 to encourage students to participate in the annual Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD), an event featuring presentations and performances from students to showcase their academic projects from throughout the year. Dozens of events occurred all throughout campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a poster session, musical performances and presentations of projects, theses and grants.

Josh Laison, math professor and SSRD committee chair, explained that the event aims “to highlight student work and showcase that students at Willamette do cool work.”

A major component of the program is the presentations of senior theses, which allow students the opportunity to share their research and findings to a wider audience. Zahra Lucas Erickson (‘19), a women and gender studies major, and Joseph Carriere (‘19), a biology major, both presented their theses at this year’s event.

Erickson presented some of the major topics discussed in his paper titled “Non-Cis AFAB Not AFAD,” which focused on “how AFAB non-cis people view femininity.”

This included a discussion of a term that Erickson created: “I talked about the difference between the terms “auto” and “exo” dysphoria, which I created to describe feeling dysphoric about one’s self (auto), and feeling dysphoric about how other people view you in a gendered way (exo).”

Erickson presented his findings in an allotted time of seven to eight minutes and with PowerPoint presentation alongside the other women and gender studies majors who completed their theses in fall semester. After all students had presented, they sat in front of the audience for a question and answer session.

Carriere’s presentation, titled “Comprehensive Animal Policy Review at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions: A Case Study of Willamette University with Recommendations to the Campus,” included a discussion of policies related to animals, pests and service animals, among other topics.

When asked how he prepared for his presentation, Carriere explained, “I prepared by typing up what I wanted to say, and bolding the main points in the text to help me get back on track if I got lost during my actual presentation, also a lot of running through it.”

Commenting on the whole experience, he said, “SSRD was a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing the work all of my peers had been working on, and it was cool to get to see the fruits of their labor. In the case of some it was a lot of labor.”

While SSRD has historically heavily highlighted senior theses, Laison is working on “getting students to realize it is not just for seniors, it is for everyone, that the project they did in their class can be an SSRD presentation if they want it to be.”

When asked what he hoped students would gain out of participating in SSRD, Laison cited they will gain experience presenting and can act as a resume-builder. He also emphasised that presenting at SSRD is an achievement and something to be proud of.

Applications to present in next year’s SSRD will be released in the 2020 spring semester.


Featured Photo:Chemistry students presented research at a poster session during SSRD on April 24.
Courtesy of Miles Gilmore


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