Topics ranged from the relationship between body mass index and emotion to the maternal effects in intertidal seaweed at the 2013 Academic Excellence Conference at Keene State College.
The broad variety of oral presentations, poster presentations and workshops were all part of the conference’s thirteenth year on Saturday, April 6, 2013.
Students, faculty, staff, friends and family and many others came to the all-day event in the Young Student Center and Putnam Science Center.
Students presenting at the conference put in an enormous amount of time and effort into their research.
Junior Enea Brotzman, who presented on The Irish Immigration Reform Movement, said that she put more than ten hours a week into her project.
“We started the research back in the fall of 2011 and we will continue past the conference. All the time and effort we put into the project is worth it because I think that this is a very important subject,” Brotzman said.
Many students’ research included a collaborative effort with the Keene community at large.
Senior Jaclyn Borrelli worked with Keene Middle School through the KSC Geography Department to create an outdoor classroom for students.
“We worked with seventh and eighth grade students and handheld GPS units to plot points outside the school property. Our goal is to find an area to build a boardwalk and also establish an area designated for an outdoor classroom,” Borrelli stated.
Seniors Ciara Wiley and Elizabeth Amaral presented on how to successfully integrate and appropriately use technology in a mathematics classroom.
They observed their classrooms from their student teaching placements to come up with their research.
Amaral and Wiley incorporated a workshop into their presentation that included using a calculator to solve math problems and also provided technology principles to those who participated.
“It’s not something that people are wired to think about [using technology in the classroom] so I hope that they now have a better understanding of using the technology appropriately,” Wiley said.
Wiley also commented on the value of having an academic excellence conference on the KSC campus.
“It’s a great experience to be a presenter and working closely with a mentor. The conference is a great way to push yourself outside your boundaries to do something you may not have thought of doing before. Some people will stick with a subject they know and others will chose to present research outside their field. Those who go to presentations get information that they might have not known before,” Wiley added.
Associate Provost Dr. Ann Rancourt was one of the first faculty members to help create the Academic Excellence Conference at KSC. Rancourt said that as part of the Academic Enrichment Program, the conference is a way to make students engaged in their academic work.
“When I came to Keene State we did not have anything like this [The Academic Excellence Conference]. We got a group of faculty together and decided this is something we wanted to do. From the very first conference I was impressed and the work that faculty have done with the students over the last 13 years has been so significant in enhancing the quality of that work that students are doing,” Rancourt stated.
Rancourt also commented on the effort that both students and faculty put into their research.
“The amount of work that the faculty mentors put into this and the amount of work that the students put into this to present high quality undergraduate scholarship research work is so impressive. I’ve been working in higher education for 20 or so years and it gives me goosebumps when I see the kind of work that Keene State students are doing. Some of the work that is being done here is done at the graduate level,” Rancourt commented.
Junior Jess Corkery, who attended a presentation on the Krakow Ghetto, said that the Academic Excellence Conference gives students a chance to observe students in other fields.
“It gives people an opportunity to look into different majors that they are not studying themselves. I am friends with people in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program but, I don’t really know what they study so by going to the conference, I got a sense of what they do,” Corkery stated.
The Provost’s Office, Student Assembly, The Office of the President and other departments and organizations sponsored the 2013 Academic Excellence Conference.
Matt Schwartz can be contacted at