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Springtime for Steinmetz: Annual symposium showcases student works


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Hundreds of students will present, perform and exhibit their work Friday, May 9, as part of the 24th annual Steinmetz Symposium.

The first Steinmetz Symposium in 1991 featured afternoon presentations from 130 students. More than 300 students will participate in this year’s all-day event, including 262 oral presentations and 54 poster presentations. Nearly 200 additional students are involved in a dance performance, musical concerts, an art exhibit and other activities.

Hands-on, faculty-mentored undergraduate research is a staple of the Union experience. Classes are canceled to allow parents, faculty, staff and students to sample projects from every discipline.

There is truly something for everyone. Presentations range from the serious (“A Thousand Whispering Voices: A Journey into the Mind of a Schizophrenic” by Connor Barrett ‘14) to the offbeat (“Why Am I Buying Another Black Dress?: An Anthropological Look into the World of Fashion” by Ava Carnevale ‘14) to the close to home (“Enrollment Yield at Union College 2014” by Catherine Ziac ‘14).

“Students look forward to sharing their work with their peers and family members,” said Kristin Fox, associate professor of chemistry and director of undergraduate research.

This is Fox’s sixth and final year overseeing the Steinmetz Symposium. Next year, she hands the reigns to Rebecca Cortez, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

“Many faculty and staff say that Steinmetz is their favorite day of the year. It is a day of community where we all get to share in the achievements of our students in the academic sphere,” Fox said.

Seventy-two performers will take to the stage at 4 p.m. in the Nott Memorial to share their talents in all styles of dance, from ballet and Bhangra to Balinese. There are faculty choreographies along with student dance projects. This year's Steinmetz performance, called the Lothridge Festival of Dance, honors the gift of Charles D. Lothridge ’44 in memory of his parents, William (Class of 1879) and Anna Lothridge.

To learn more, click here.

Also, the annual Visual Arts Student Art Exhibit, on view through May 11 in the Burns Arts Atrium Gallery, features the most accomplished student works completed during the 2013-14 academic year – more than 149 pieces by 135 students.

Curated by Visual Arts faculty members, the exhibit includes works from classes in photography, sculpture, digital art and video, painting, drawing, printmaking, etching and design.

The Steinmetz Symposium Banquet, for presenters, their parents, guests and faculty sponsors, takes place in Upper Class Dining Hall at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

Also, a concert by the Union College and Community Orchestra and the Union College and Community Chorale, under the direction of John Cox, director of performance and lecturer in choral and orchestral music, is set for 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

Steinmetz Symposium coincides with Prize Day, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in Memorial Chapel, followed by a reception on the Reamer Campus Center patio at 12:30 p.m. Students are honored for achievement in academics, research, service and governance.

Among the top awards given are the Josephine Daggett Prize to the senior for conduct and character and the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.

Check back later for a list of winners.

Also, the Union College Jazz Ensemble, led by Professor Tim Olsen, will perform at 2 p.m. in Emerson Auditorium.

The Steinmetz Symposium is named for Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923), who taught electrical engineering and applied physics at Union. Also chief consulting engineer for the General Electric Company, he was widely regarded as America’s leading electrical engineer.

For a complete schedule, including a list of presentations, visit the Steinmetz website.

To see a video on research at Union, click here.