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Ouachita Stories


Ouachita to host annual Scholars’ Day April 22

April 20, 2009 - Leah Garavelli

Ouachita Baptist University will hold its annual Scholars' Day on April 22, beginning at 1 p.m. The day of student presentations will feature senior honors theses, poster projects, a juried art show and a fine arts recital.

Dr. Amy Sonheim, OBU professor of English and director of the honors program, has been helping coordinate the event. She said more than 150 students are scheduled to present.

"The honors program organizes Scholars' Day as a service for the whole campus," Sonheim said. "But it's not only for honors students. It's for all Ouachita students."

This year 11 seniors are presenting honors theses covering a variety of subjects including a new type of cataract surgery, piano injury and whaling in Antarctica.

Senior Abby Brumley is going to describe the new cataract surgery. During her research, she had the opportunity to shadow world-renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Osher of the Cincinnati Eye Institute who developed the surgical technique.

"There's no telling exactly how many hours I've put into researching and writing on my thesis," Brumley said.

Sonheim said writing an honors thesis is a long process that usually requires many years of work from the students presenting them.

"It's just unbelievable the sort of discoveries that are being made all during the year but only individual departments know about it," Sonheim said. "Scholars' Day is a way for students to see the research their peers are doing all over campus in every area."

This year the honors thesis presentations can be viewed live online April 22 from 1 to 7 p.m. at The Signal's website, www.obusignal.com. These presentations will also be archived on the site.

Brumley noted that her sister lives in Philadelphia and cannot come to see her present her thesis but will be watching it through the online simulcast.

"I have to admit that it makes me a bit nervous to think that people will have the chance to watch me present my thesis live," Brumley said. "However, it doesn't really bother me. I'm glad my family will get to share that moment with me."

Besides the student projects, the art department will have a display set up to show the process of print making and the English department will hold a mock trial of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov from "Crime and Punishment" with local attorney Rick Medlock serving as the presiding judge.

To fit everything into the day, there are multiple locations on campus where the projects are being presented, with many of the presentations and events occurring simultaneously.

Sonheim suggests that students "pick out your friends or pick out a subject and go see what your friends have been discovering and researching and investigating. It's a wonderful celebration, especially at the end of the academic year, of how refreshing it is to be curious."

The Scholars' Day schedule is on The Signal's website and copies have been delivered to students' mailboxes.

"Come watch," said Daniel Graham, a senior presenting a poster project. "You feel stupid if you present a project and prepare and only two people show up."

By Leah Garavelli



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