Students step up for Steinmetz

Publication Date

For weeks, Alexa DiBenedetto ’14 rehearsed her first Steinmetz presentation for anyone who would listen. Friends or faculty, it didn’t matter to the mathematics major from Rockland County, N.Y.

DiBenedetto kept polishing her project so when it came time for her 15 minutes, she would be prepared.

Despite her nerves being a “mess” the night before, DiBenedetto aced her “Philosophy and Mathematics of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans” presentation in the Wold Center Friday morning during the 22nd annual Steinmetz Symposium.

DiBenedetto was among hundreds of students, faculty and parents who fanned out across campus Friday to celebrate undergraduate research from every discipline. As per tradition, classes were canceled for the day.

“Where else other than Union does this kind of thing happen? It's an affirmation of what we do here and it’s a wonderful thing to see the students so engaged,” said President Stephen C. Ainlay, who attended a number of presentations throughout the day.

Steinmetz Dance 2012

Among the topics discussed were “Breakin’ on the Beat: A Comparative Study of Breakdancing and Commercialized Hip Hop” (Stefanie Charles ’12); “The Autoclave Challenge for Aerogel Preparation” (Ralph Cueva ’13); “Energy Improvements for Messa Rink” (Cole Ikkala ’14, Troy Grosenick ’14); and “Matrix Factorization in M2 and M3 (Daniel Roginski ’12).

And for the first time, the symposium featured a series of student films shown in Olin 115, including Sun in My Pocket: My Personal Documentary (Miriam Hammer ’14); Body Image and Subtlety of Schenectady (Emma Freter ’13) and Get Back Up (Peter Goemaat ’14, Matthew Barretto ’13 and Marc Douglas ’13).

As usual, one of the highlights was the afternoon Steinmetz dance performance in the Nott Memorial, featuring more than 50 students and faculty members. In addition, there was a preview of Paris Danse from the upcoming Spring Dance Concert. At the end of the show, Kaitlyn Thoen '14 was awarded the 2012 Edward Villella Fellowship, which enables exceptional students in dance to expand their studies beyond campus. The Hedda Hainebach Memorial Prize in Music and Theater was presented to Maisie Bragg '12.

The day also included 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, in Memorial Chapel.

The 2012 Annual Visual Arts Student Art Exhibit, on view through May 13 in the Burns Arts Atrium Gallery, features the most accomplished student works completed over the 2011-12 academic year – more than 100 pieces by 70 students.

Curated by Visual Arts faculty members, the exhibit includes works from classes taught by Martin Benjamin (photography), Chris Duncan (sculpture), Walter Hatke (painting and drawing), Fernando Orellana (digital art and video) and Sandy Wimer (drawing, printmaking, etching and design).

Steinmetz Symposium coincided with Prize Day on 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 (Jessica Sarrantonio) and the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize, to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field (Erin Delman).

For a complete list of winners, click here.

Also, the Union College Jazz Ensemble, with Professor Tim Olsen conducting a program of vocal and instrumental jazz, held an afternoon performance 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.