Centenary first-year students present research at weeklong conference

SHREVEPORT, LA — First-year students at Centenary College will wrap up a yearlong academic journey in the College’s Trek program with formal research presentations April 23 through 27. The Trek Challenge Research Conference includes eleven concurrent sessions and four large group presentations of research completed in the second semester of the new Trek sequence for all first-year students at Centenary. All sessions are free and open to the public.

“The Trek Research Conference is the first of many opportunities for Centenary students to present their research to a public audience,” says Dr. Jeanne Hamming, director of the Trek program. “I see it as a foundational experience because it introduces students to the notion that knowledge is created within the context of an academic community. This is a crucial aspect of the Centenary educational experience.”

Trek was initiated in 2009 to help students explore the larger concepts of community, career, and culture through experience-based coursework and activities that link liberal arts skills to career and graduate school preparation, intercultural engagement, and civic involvement. The new first- year Trek courses – “Credo” in the fall and “Challenge” in the spring – help students cultivate the habits of mind characteristic of a person educated in the liberal arts, including intellectual curiosity, critical inquiry, thoughtful communication, problem solving, and respectful engagement with others.

The eleven “Challenge” seminars offered in the spring 2018 semester gave first-year students the chance to pursue in-depth, research-driven investigations into some of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century. Courses such as “Social Media for Change,” “The Dawn of Robots: How Human Imagination Has Shaped Our Future,” and “Water: The Neglected Resource” inspired more than 100 small and large group original research projects that will be presented during the weeklong conference. A full listing of spring 2018 Trek Challenge seminars is available here.

Students from Dr. Michelle Glaros’s Challenge seminar, “Our Stories Told By Us: Public Art, Indigenous Expression, and Cultural Documentation,” will present the results of their semester-long research endeavor, the Highland Story Project. Participants in the course chose individual research sites within the Highland neighborhood surrounding Centenary and observed the activities that occurred at the sites, taking note of animals, arts, food, parading, parks, and neighborhood services. Many students reported feeling indifferent, cautious, and even apprehensive about their site and the neighborhood in general before beginning the project, but in the abstract for the research conference, the students report that, “…our opinions were transformed by the insight provided though community members and the individual experiences of visiting our sites.” The fifteen student researchers involved in the Highland Story Project will present their findings on Friday, April 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the Whited Room at Bynum Commons.

Visit centenary.edu/trek for a full schedule of presentations at the 2018 Trek Challenge Research Conference.