This year on Thursday, May 26 is the 11th annual Academic Excellence Showcase. This event makes it possible for students of any disciplinary focus to share what they have been working on over the year. The day is dedicated to the presentation of student scholarly activities, including original research papers, projects, artwork, performances, and upper-division course projects, presentations, and papers. It’s really exciting to see products of hard work from students across campus. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to get experience to share their work and increase their professional development.
Dr. Ava Howard is the head coordinator for the showcase and has been on the executive board for five years now. This is her first year chairing and coordinating. When asked how much planning and time is took to put on this event, Dr. Howard laughed and answered with, “A lot.” She explained how time intensive it was and how an event with this much diversity takes so much time and planning. Pulling together so many departments around campus and keeping everything to high professional standards is no easy task. Luckily, Howard has a fantastic team that helps put this on which is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE) and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Besides the Academic Excellence Showcase Planning Committee, which includes faculty and staff, there are also faculty volunteers representing different academic disciplines who serve as session chairs. Everyone really works together to make sure this event is as successful and meaningful as possible each year.
This year there are north of 300 presentations with 390 students presenting. There are generally around 400 presentations yearly and the majority of presenters are juniors and seniors, but anyone can participate!
The presentations are definitely multidisciplinary and the focuses can be anywhere from a science research presentation to a dance performance. This variety of presentations from students reflects who we are as a liberal arts school. This events opens minds and gets students to mix majors and check out a presentation that has nothing to do with their area of focus. In order to achieve this goal, the planning committee places presentations such as history next to Deaf studies next to business and so on. It really makes the experience fun for those jumping from presentation to presentation.
As a motivation for students to come to the different presentations, most classes across campus are cancelled for this very special showcase. That shows just how important this event is to both faculty/staff and students. If you’re wanting to see what kind of presentations there are, where they’re going to be, and what time they’re at, check out the Academic Excellence Showcase proceedings. Some classes even offer extra credit for attending a presentation of their discipline. This is such an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to expand their knowledge in their academic focus area or to learn something completely new in another area. So get your notebooks out and participate in this year’s Academic Excellence Showcase!
Also, share your AES experience with #wouaes.