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Student Symposium Highlights Student Research Accomplishments

Senior Christine Kanownik in dialogue at the Symposium

CHICAGO, IL (May 2, 2007) – As the quantity and quality of North Park undergraduate research has grown over the last few years, the University has recognized the tremendous potential within this work and the burgeoning scholars producing it. Last weekend, North Park hosted its first Student Research Symposium at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago as a venue by which to facilitate recognition, collaboration, and academic dialog within the undergraduate population.

The event's planning committee – consisting of Academic Dean Charles Peterson, Assistant Professor of Biology Matt Schau, and Assistant Professor of Physics Johnny Lin – assembled a group of eight students conducting research in a variety of disciplines. The following is a list of student presenters, North Park faculty mentors, their disciplines, and the titles of their work:

Johan Eldebo with Professor Joseph Alulis, Politics and Government, The Role of the United Nations in Our World: Expectations and Realities

Christine Kanownik with Professor Kristy Odelius, English, Boris Remembers Where He Parked (book length manuscript of poetry critiquing contemporary and historic images and themes associated with Russia in American popular culture)

Laura Klein with Professor Matthew Schau, Biology, Understanding the Role of Rex in the Regulation of the ctaA Promoter

Becky Naniak with Professor Liza Ann Acosta, English, Geisha Memoirs or Oriental Fantasy: Cross Cultural Perspectives of Japanese Womanhood

Eric Owski with Professor Joel Willitts, Biblical and Theological Studies, Matthew's Complementary Mission Commands and the Issues of Transparency and Temporality in Matthew 10

Jillian Ptaszynski with Professor Lida Nedilsky, Sociology, The Need for Practicum in Our Community

Margaret Rode with Professor Linda Craft, Spanish, Base Ecclesial Communities: The Fulfillment of the Praxis of Liberation Theology in Latin America

Calvin Smythe with Professor Johnny Lin, Physics, Creating a Hybrid Fortran-Python Sea-Ice Model

Following a ten-minute presentation and brief question-and-answer session regarding each paper, the group gathered for dinner and a discussion of the process of undergraduate research, the value of such pursuits - specifically in the North Park context - and the new insights students had gained about the academic endeavor as a result of their work.

According to planning committee member Johnny Lin, "The quality of the projects was very impressive, and it was exciting to interact with students and faculty from across the campus, in the best spirit of a liberal arts education. I'm looking forward to next year's symposium as even more undergraduates become involved in research with faculty mentors."