Story by Sydney Anthony, Contributing writer
The Kentucky Honors Roundtable held sessions at Murray State Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
Warren Edminster, head of the Murray State Honors College, said the Kentucky Honors Roundtable is a gathering of seven Kentucky colleges, including the University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Louisville, Henderson Community College and Murray State.
Edminster said the presentations cover a variety of subjects, such as literature, history, economics, biology, chemistry and political sciences, and that some presenters have been researching their topic for years. He said the presenters are all students from the Honors College who have researched their topic of choice to present on Oct. 1.
He said the scientific topics deal with medical issues, such as immunotherapies linked to shrinking cancerous tumors, correlations between the Zika virus and congenital microhphaly and high death rates in Appalachia due to genetic factors. He said literature presentations discuss subjects such as character meaning and divinity as a rhetorical device.
Brianna Taylor, senior from Marion, Illinois, said she presented a paper on Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, titled “My words are oracles: Tamburlaine’s Artificial Divinity” that focuses on the relationship between power, sovereignty and order in the play.
“Working on this, I started to see everything I have learned during college come together in close analysis, supporting details, mechanics — and then in my presentation,” Taylor said. “This was one of the first papers where I felt truly confident and prepared to develop my own ideas in response.”
Taylor said she was encouraged to present her paper by her professor, Andy Black, after taking his British literature course.
“KHR showed me on a small-scale what an academic conference is like, and I’m excited to pursue more opportunities like this in the future– the next will hopefully be presenting my work on The Scarlet Letter during Scholar’s Week in November,” Taylor said.
Taylor said she encourages other students who were hesitant to present to give it a try.
“Do not be intimidated by the thought of sharing your work,” she said. “It’s a really low-stress environment intended to give students practice in the professional academic world — it’s all part of the learning process.”
During the weekend, the Honors Council hosted a Murray-O party in the Franklin Commons Area where the presenters participated in a series of games styled after Trivial Pursuit and Minute To Win It.
Carole Inman, student development counselor for the Honors College, said the Murray-O party went well but attendance was low.
“This is less than usual, maybe half as normal,” Inman said.
She said the reason for low attendance was because of the far travel required of particpants, and since travel is paid for by the Honors College, attendance is lowered to cut costs.
Inman said she attended the ten presentations by Murray State students.
Shannon Wood, vice president of the Honors Student Council, said, “It is always a treat to see young academics come together and share what they’re passionate about. KHR is always filled with abundance of new ideas and this year was no different.”