Celebrate student research at SAC
Posted on March 31, 2015 by Christopher Thrall
On Monday, April 13, join nearly 100 students presenting research and creative works in the Student Academic Conference.
By Katelyn Gael
This semester’s Student Academic Conference (SAC) on Monday, April 13, promises to be a very diverse event! Presentations run from 6 to 9 pm and cover almost every discipline at Augustana. Attendees will witness students presenting on research they have done over this semester – on topics they are passionate about.
Not only does this SAC promise diverse presentations and multidisciplinary content, organizer Stacey Rempel also mentioned a higher number of posters, art, and visual components this time around. These additions will undoubtedly add a creative flair to the students’ research.
Rempel pointed out that presenting undergraduate research is not an opportunity all universities have, and Augustana offers a safe place to do so. Not only does presenting help students see the real world application of their work, it also allows them to support one another and learn outside of their discipline.
Erin Specht, a fourth-year Environmental Sciences major, will be presenting on her research on Alberta’s regulatory framework and how it applies to beaver management. A number of initiatives throughout the province have looked at using beaver relocation as a tool for wetland restoration, and Specht’s research focuses on the guidelines, gaps, and potential contradictions within legislation and policy within Alberta and Canada.
Specht says she has “fallen in love with the project, and realized that management is the key for moving forward in environmental stewardship.” Her project is not only for personal interest, but is being used as part of a broader initiative, which means her research will actually be used to help inform future work with wetland management.
“It’s nice to know that after 4 years of university, your skills can actually help people,” said Specht. SAC itself has been formative to her as a student because it helps her see past the scope of academia and make their work useful to the real world. Going through the process of preparing and presenting for SAC helps students invest in their work. “If you’re just handing in a paper for a class, you don’t become as passionate or as interested in what you’re learning as if you take ownership of your own research.” Specht strongly encourages everyone to come to SAC, because watching peers present on something they are passionate about “helps promote a real learning experience…SAC shows that learning is something that people should just love to do.”
It’s not just students who are excited about SAC, either. Dean Allen Berger stated that he is impressed by the work of Augustana students every term at SAC, and encourages everyone to come.
Berger goes on to note “undergraduate research is one of the most powerful differentiating features for Augustana graduates when they compete for jobs or admissions to graduate school after their studies here.”
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