Story by Cody Hall, Contributing writer
Students and faculty gathered April 18-21 for Murray State’s annual Scholars Week, dedicated to students presenting the research they have conducted.
Scholars Week has been going on at Murray State for 15 years. Most of the research presented at the event is personal research that is not affiliated with classes but is affiliated with scholarships or program requirements.
David Pizzo, history professor and faculty coordinator for the office of research and creative activity, and A.J. Boston, scholarly communication librarian, coordinated the event.
The main event at Scholars Week is the poster competition. Both undergraduate and graduate students present their research through posters that are judged. The research for the posters can be from almost any field of study.
“It changes the way that you do your research,” Boston said. “It’s not canvas, it’s real life.”
Boston set up the event and the application process for students interested in being part of Scholars Week through Digital Commons. This program was used to organize most of the event, Boston said.
“It used to be a huge deal on campus,” Pizzo said. “The provost actually made chairs and faculty go. There was food and all kinds of other things, and all that just disappeared.”
In the past, the event would have up to 1,200 people participating, Pizzo said. However, this year there were around 160 registered for the event, which was nothing like last year.
“Over the course of my undergraduate career, I’ve been to two big sociological conferences and given presentations four different times,” said Darcy Sullivan, junior from Muhlenberg, Kentucky. “It’s really good to come back to my school here at Murray and see everyone with posters to present.”
Pizzo said larger universities have events like this come to them, but with Murray State we bring chances to do events like this ourselves.
He and Boston are both working toward making Scholars Week a bigger event than it has been in recent years and hope to get more of the campus community involved.
“It’s really important for students to have a culminating experience to their research projects,” said Maeve McCarthy, mathematics professor. “It’s very rewarding for students and their professors.”
McCarthy was the chairwoman for the Sigma Xi poster competition. She tallied up the scores for the different posters in that division.
“Whether you are science majors or not, learning how to do research develops better critical- thinking skills,” said Leah Good, graduate student from Martin, Tennessee. “It gets you more confident in the knowledge that you have. Whether you are graduate or undergraduate, it’s a great opportunity.”