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Creative Accomplishments Displayed at 23rd Celebration of Student Research

How do you condense months’ worth of extensive research into a 15-minute presentation?

“Practice, practice, practice,” chuckled Hawk Ricketts ’23, one of 50 students across campus who were brave enough to reverse the roles and act as an educator as part of Wabash’s 23rd Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work.

Hawk Ricketts ’23 presents “Calvinist Horror and the Summary, Analysis, Continuity, and Discontinuity of Two Contemporary Retellings of Doctor Faustus.”  Friday’s event was dedicated to showcasing the impressive work of students in the form of oral and poster presentations, representing accomplishments across various disciplines.

Ricketts, a Classics major and religion minor, gave a presentation titled, “Calvinist Horror and the Summary, Analysis, Continuity, and Discontinuity of Two Contemporary Retellings of Doctor Faustus,” which examined what makes Calvinist horror truly terrifying.

With the use of multimedia examples, the senior analyzed how two contemporary retellings of Goethe’s Faust — an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and a character featured in the video game “Guilty Gear” — explore and play with the concept of religious horror.

“This presentation came from a 15-page paper I wrote for my Theology of Evil class,” explained Ricketts, who’s research was sponsored by Assistant Professor of Religion Jeffrey Reed Jay. “Originally, I thought one page translates to one minute but it doesn’t. The first time I read it through, the presentation was 40 minutes!

“Condensing it all down took so much time,” he said. “I got the best advise ever from some peers and professors ahead of the event, which was to assume that my audience is intelligible with the subject matter and to have a lot of information on the screen rather than me speaking it in great detail. That was my biggest challenge with this project, but I am so happy with how it turned out.”

After presenting his research on Calvinist horror and receiving a round of applause, compliments weaved into questions by the audience, which was made up of classmates, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community. An engaging conversation continued back-and-forth between Ricketts and members of the crowd until it was time for the next student presenter.

Gage Businger ’25, a rhetoric major and business minor, presented “Jazz on the River: A History of Riverboat Jazz,” sponsored by Associate Professor of Music Sarin Williams.

The sophomore’s presentation highlighted the significance of riverboat jazz on and around the Mississippi River in the integration of Black culture in the form of jazz music in northern industrialized cities during the Great Migration.

“I had no real connection to or knowledge of jazz and its history before taking Dr. Williams’ class and working further on this presentation,” Businger said. “I like music, the evolution of music, and I respect people who have the ability to play, so it’s been fun to dive into an elective outside of my major.

“I found it fun answering all the questions from the audience (during the presentation) because it felt like I was able to educate and peak their interests in a subject that I was curious about at one point too,” he said. “I was able to enhance what I have learned in class.”

Jovan Simakoski ’23 explains his research on parasites found in local aquatic ecosystems.

More than 20 posters and exhibits were displayed inside Detchon’s International Hall. Jonathan Silva-Melendez ’24, Seth Kirkpatrick ’24, Richard Ballentine ’25, and Parker Gamble ’23 presented “The Interception of Hispanic Identity and Democracy.” Brian Dobbels ’24 and Brigham Anderson ’23 presented “Drivers of Variation in Innate Immune Assays in Box Turtles.” Luis Rivera ’25 presented “The Impact of Avoidance Coping and Fear on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs.”

The Celebration presentations were diverse and focused on a wide variety of student work from all three academic divisions, including collaborative work with faculty and staff, independent study, or other projects that showcased efforts beyond normal coursework.

Since 1999, the Celebration has recognized, in a proud and public way, the creative accomplishments of Wabash students, said Dean of the College Todd McDorman.

“Close collaboration between Wabash students and faculty across the College is a hallmark of our culture, a labor of pedagogy and love that makes a difference for our students. It is a special pleasure to introduce some of the results of that collaboration in these presentations,” McDorman said. “Our thanks go to the students who prepared to teach the Wabash community about their good work and to the faculty and staff members who have devoted considerable time helping students in their research and creative productions.”

Lon Porter, professor of chemistry and chair of the Undergraduate Research and Celebration Committee, said he was proud of see the breadth of work submitted from students, with presentations ranging from an exploration of musical ensembles on TikTok and gerrymandering, to protein function and rainbow numbers.

“168体育平台下载_足球即时比分-注册|官网 witness our students at top form,” Porter said, “and we’re all so immensely proud of their accomplishments.”

A buzz of activity surrounded poster presentations in Detchon Center's International Hall.Porter also noted that the Celebration occurs during a time when students are “on the hunt for that ‘dream’ summer opportunity,” and that participating in the event may inspire them to pursue research or artistic internships.

“Student presenters share not only the results of their work, but often tell of the journey along the way,” Porter added. “These insights help to motivate them to look for similar opportunities and many say their experiences often unlock an advanced research internship, job, or even a new academic focus at the College.”

One highlight of the annual event includes the Celebration Planning Committee announcing the winners of two prestigious awards.

The Celebration Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are $150 prizes awarded to the students who most effectively articulated their gains in professional development and personal growth as a result of their research, scholarship, or creative work. This year’s winners are Nhan Huynh ’24, Auggie Isaac ’25, and Tom Oppman ’25.

The Robert 168体育平台下载_足球即时比分-注册|官网dgeworth Library Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are $500 prizes that recognize a student’s effective use of library resources in the preparation of Celebration work. This year’s winners are Nathen Burnside ’23, Eric Green ’24, and Khoi Truong ’23.