On Saturday, April 14, dozens of Keene State College students presented their work to the campus at the 18th annual Academic Excellence Conference.
According to the Academic Excellence Conference website, the event is a “celebration of academic research and other forms of scholarship.”
KSC junior Hannah Melanson, who presented a PowerPoint about the “Repeating Integer Paradox.”
Melanson, a mathematics major, said she spoke at the conference because she is a member of the Math Honor Society, and, in order to remain in the honor society, students need to gain a certain amount of points by speaking at events and conferences throughout the year. Melanson said her advisor gave her five topics that she could choose between to speak on at the conference. She said she chose to talk about repeating integers because it is a common thing everyone knows, even if you aren’t a math major.
Melanson said there is a lot of importance in KSC students sharing what they do in their classes to the rest of the KSC community. “I feel like it’s important for other people to learn about different things and just appreciate how much work other people put into their projects or presentations,” Melanson said.
The conference included not only presentations, but also panels that allowed people to ask questions of students who have vast knowledge on a subject. For example, junior Evan Carpenter said he spoke about his experiences in both Uganda and Rwanda. Carpenter said he traveled with a group of students and faculty members as part of the Honors Program Global Engagement course.
Carpenter said every year, the Honors Program sends a group of students on a trip to a different country.
Most of Carpenter’s presentation was about the preparation for the trips. “We wrote up a field guide about aspects of the country… we wrote a lot about the culture, ecology and basically most aspects of life over there,” Carpenter said. One of the big events on the trip, according to Carpenter, was teaching a group of students in a Ugandan village and participating in activities at the school. Carpenter said the most surprising part of his trip was how far the country of Uganda has come throughout the years because a lot of the time in school, when talking about Uganda, the main focus is on the genocide in the country.
Carpenter said the trip included everything from wildlife tours to visiting indigenous villages to learning more about the country. Carpenter said it was important to receive the chance to speak on a panel at the conference.
“It’s great because it allows students from any discipline to show their passion. It’s too often we look down on different disciplines that may not be as popular or engaging,” Carpenter said.
First-year elementary education and psychology major Brooke Aumand said her presentation at the conference was about special education in different types of schooling, such as private schools, public schools, homeschooling and charter schools.
Aumand said her presentation “breaks down what services each of the schools provide, the requirements that are offered, in-class services and funding.”
Aumand said throughout her research, she’s found public schools are the most efficient with their special education programs between the types that were researched.
“They offer the most because they are required to, unlike private schools and [homeschool groups]. The Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAAPE) law ensures that all students with or without disabilities get an equal and fair education no matter what,” Aumand said.
Aumand said she presented with a group of students who had similar topics as her for her Integrative Thinking and Writing course. Aumand said the most surprising thing about her research was that private schools don’t require equal and fair treatment for all students. Aumand said it “makes no sense.”
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org