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Symposium of Artists and Scholars highlights student research, creative endeavors

McKenzie Givens '19 delivers her presentation, "Enter the Galaxy of Reading: Become a Shooting Star.”

McKenzie Givens ’19 delivers her presentation, “Enter the Galaxy of Reading: Become a Shooting Star.”

At Randolph’s 2019 Symposium of Artists and Scholars Friday afternoon, students presented the results of various research and creative projects on topics ranging from teaching strategies to rainwater harvesting to mobile app development.

In its 11th year, the Symposium brings together students of all academic disciplines to share research results and highlight some of the work produced at the College. Modeled after a traditional academic conference, the event features a keynote speaker and luncheon, oral presentations, readings of creative works, musical performances, exhibitions of student artwork, and poster presentations.

McKenzie Givens ’19 presented “Enter the Galaxy of Reading: Become a Shooting Star.” Givens discussed her research on teaching first grade reading skills, and detailed a new method she used to assist students who were struggling to pick up on word recognition. One of the approaches she used was one-on-one sessions with students, using flashcards to improve phonemic awareness, word fluency, and memory. As a result, the reading comprehension test scores for the students she assisted rose by a significant margin during the study.

“When I was in elementary school, I struggled with reading comprehension and didn’t quite get the extra help from my teacher that I needed, meaning I had to go to my parents for help in order to keep up in class,” Givens said. “So the reason for my research was to try and prevent students from feeling how I did and try something new that might help them.”

Presley Pippin '19 delivers her presentation, “Does the Sum of First-Grade Students and Math Vocabulary Equal Acquisition?”

Presley Pippin ’19 delivers her presentation, “Does the Sum of First-Grade Students and Math Vocabulary Equal Acquisition?”

Also on Friday, dozens of students presented posters in Hampson Commons. One of them was “Development of an iOS Application” by Austin Collier ’19 and Bryan Hue ’19. For the project, Collier and Hue created and developed an iOS app and hope to sell it in the Apple Store. In the game, which is similar to the popular Facebook game Farmville, users plant, grow, and sell a variety of virtual produce. They used a RISE grant to purchase a computer, coding software, and a developer’s license from Apple.

Collier said one of his main takeaways from the project is just how much detail goes into coding each aspect of an app.

“During the project, we faced hurdle after hurdle,” Collier said. “When I was working on it at night, I would start with one thing to fix, and by the end of the night I had like four more things we needed to work on. So we were constantly working to make it better.”

However, the project ended up being much more enjoyable than Collier imagined.

“This project is something I found myself actually wanting to work on,” Collier said. “While my friends would hang out and play Xbox, I found myself sitting there working on the app instead of playing with them. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Other poster topics included: “Bee Friendly Virginia Native Plants” (Jdody Misidor ’21, Ranita Sarfo ’21, and Renee Sarpong ’21), “Multidirectional Binaural Audio” (Thanh Tung “Adam” Nguyen ’19 and Thinh “Bill” Pham ’20), and “Nazi Architecture Used as Propaganda and the Effects of National Socialism” (Marvin Shockley ’19).

The full program and list of presentations for the 2018 Symposium of Artists and Scholars is available at http://bit.ly/2Vauh3H.



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