Student research front and center at 21st Steinmetz Symposium

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Rayana Johnson ’11 got her first taste Friday of the Steinmetz Symposium, a staple of the Union experience.

And the chemistry major from Staten Island was happy she did.

“It’s a good experience,” said Johnson as she discussed her project, “Culinary Chemistry: The Chemistry of Flavor,” during a poster session in the atrium of the Peter Irving Wold Center. “You learn a little about public speaking, and you get to show your passion for what you have been working on.”

21st Steinmetz Symposium

Johnson was among hundreds of students who showed off their research, scholarship and creative pursuits during the 21st annual symposium. As part of the tradition, classes were canceled to allow parents, faculty, staff and students to enjoy the variety of presentations.

Classics major Matthew Angelosanto ’11 of Stoneham, Mass., dissected the words of the Roman elegist Propertius during the early years of Augustus’ reign as emperor. Political science major Georgia Swan-Ambrose ’11 of Brooklyn explored the demise of the Caribbean’s black power socialist experiment. Yubin Choi ’11 of Schenectady, a psychology major, paid tribute to European composer Franz Schubert with a lecture and recital in Emerson Hall, Taylor Music Center. And mechanical engineering major Conor Dodd '11 of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, designed and tested an automated steering system for semi-trailers to make it easier and safer for truckers to make wide turns.

An annual highlight was the Steinmetz dance performance at the Nott Memorial. Dance Director Miryam Moutillet oversaw an array of original student choreography and live music featuring some 60 students. The Ballroom Dance Club, Bhangra Union, Union College Dance Team and other groups also performed. Anna Finlay '12 was presented with the Edward Villella Fellowship for dance.

“It shows that you can come to Union and really study anything you’re interested in,” said Kristin Fox, director of Undergraduate Research. “You have the opportunity to combine disciplines in unique ways in addition to studying the traditional disciplines.”

 Steinmetz Symposium student research

Also, a concert by the Union College Jazz Ensemble and Camerata Singers, with Professor Tim Olsen conducting a program of vocal and instrumental jazz, was performed Friday in Memorial Chapel. In addition to original jazz and pop works by Greg Bloom ’11 and Saul Kurtz ’11, the concert featured the debut performance of Madrigale Centonove by Melanie Watman ’12, written for the Camerata Singers.

Steinmetz Symposium coincides with Prize Day, which was held Saturday in Memorial Chapel, followed by a reception on the Reamer Campus Center patio. Students were honored for achievement in academics, research, service and governance. Among the top awards given were the Josephine Daggett Prize to the senior for conduct and character, without respect to scholarship (Michael Clarke) and the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize, to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field (Clancy Slack).

For a complete list of winners, click here.

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.