Ouachita’s annual Scholars Day to be held April 27

Ouachita Baptist University will host Scholars Day 2011, the university’s annual undergraduate research symposium on Wednesday, April 27, throughout campus. The event will showcase the work of more than 100 students in their respective majors as they present experiments, projects, recitals and senior theses.

Scholars Day was first held in 2001, organized by Dr. Tim Knight, professor of biology, and Dr. Joe Jeffers, professor of chemistry, to share the projects of summer research students with the campus. Over the past 11 years, the event has grown to include more than 120 presentations and now includes senior thesis presentations, poster presentations of experiments and research and music recitals.

Dr. Barbara Pemberton, the current director of the Honors Program which is sponsoring the event, has taken Scholars Day one step further by introducing student leadership and administration.

“Starting out as director, one of the first things I wondered was: What other Honors Programs look like?” Pemberton said. “We have a great Honors Program, but is there anything we could do to make it better?”

Pemberton attended several conferences where she was able to gain insight about what other programs were implementing and decided to include a student leadership model. Members of the Alpha Tau academic honor society were invited to take roles in facilitating, planning and carrying out the Scholars Day activities from programs and publicity to refreshments to technical equipment.

“Much of what the director can do, the students can do better,” she said, “and they have welcomed the challenge with energy and excitement.”

This year’s Scholars Day presentation, honoring Ouachita’s 125th anniversary, will begin at 1:25 p.m. Question and answer sessions will follow each presentation and the event will conclude with dinner on the lawn at 4:30 p.m.

“All year long, behind closed laboratory doors, inside practice rooms, tucked away in corners of the library, out of sight on the top floor of the art building, Ouachita students are experimenting, rehearsing, reading, writing and creating,” said Amy Sonheim, assistant director for the Honors Program and professor of English. “That is what Scholars Day is for – celebrating the best academic work happening at Ouachita in order to kindle afresh the excitement of discovery and learning.”

For more information, contact Barbara Pemberton at pembertonb@obu.edu or (870) 245-5541.

By Whitney Crews

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