Spotlight on students at annual Steinmetz Symposium

Publication Date

Nearly 500 students will showcase their intellectual and artistic prowess Friday, May 10, as part of the 29th annual Steinmetz Symposium.

The all-day event begins at 9 a.m. and includes a diverse lineup of oral presentations, poster sessions and exhibits highlighting student research as well as dance and musical performances, 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 support projects from every discipline.

Visitors can shuffle between numerous academic buildings to sample presentations.

“Steinmetz is always a highlight of the academic year because it's such a great showcase for the hard work and passion our students put into everything they do,” said Chad Orzel, the R. Gordon Gould Associate Professor of Physics and director of undergraduate research.

“Every year it's amazing to see the breadth of interests and abilities displayed by our students - science majors who also excel in the arts, and arts majors deeply engaging with technology - which demonstrates the very best of a liberal arts education. And this year's addition of the alumni CEO panel discussion is a real bonus, showing how the experiences students have at Union help set them up for great things down the line.”

Students gather in the Wold Center Atrium for the Steinmetz Symposium poster session

Ninety student performers will display their impressive skills and love of dance on stage at the Nott Memorial in the annual Lothridge Festival of Dance.

The hour-long show, which begins at 4 p.m., will include an array of dance styles and highlight Union’s culturally diverse campus. Featured are works by Dance Program Director Miryam Moutillet, faculty members Laurie Zabele Cawley and Eric Hatch, local guest artist Joan Kilgore Anderson and Dewi Aryani of Bali.

Student choreographers include dance minors Emily Alston ’19, Sydney DeCesare ’19, Lilian Kurker ’22, Shreya Srivastava ’20 and Shannon West ’19. In addition, students from Bhangra Union, the Dance Team and the African Dance, Hip Hop, In-Unison Step and Latinx clubs will perform.

The dance performance will be limited to the first 400 spectators. Overflow audiences can watch on a live stream projection in Reamer Auditorium. The event is supported by a gift from Charles Lothridge in memory of his parents, William (Class 1879) and Anna. After the performance, the Theater and Dance Department will present the Edward Villella Fellowship for dance.

Also, the annual Visual Arts Student Art Exhibition, a display of 165 works by students from a wide variety of majors and all class years, fills the Crowell and West Galleries in the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts.

Curated by Visual Arts faculty, the exhibit includes works created in classes in digital art, design, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and video. A closing reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

A reception for all student presenters and their families, faculty mentors, alumni and guests will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. outside the Stanley O’Brien ’74 Center for Collaboration and Engagement. There will be a cash bar and light refreshments.

Following the reception, there will be a special event at 6 p.m. featuring three alumni who are chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies. James Loree ’80 of Stanley Black & Decker, Richard Templeton ’80 of Texas Instruments and Devin Wenig ’88 of eBay will discuss “Developing Leaders for an Uncertain Tomorrow.” President David R. Harris will moderate the conversation. Seating is limited.

The day wraps up with a concert featuring the Union College Chorale and the Union College and Community Orchestra, under the direction of Conrad Chu, lecturer in choral and orchestra music and director of performance in the Department of Music. A highlight of the concert will be a tribute to Hilary Tann, the John Howard Payne Professor of Music, who is retiring after nearly 40 years at Union. Both groups will perform one of her choral works, "Psalm 104." The concert is set for 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

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.

The symposium coincides with Prize Day, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in Memorial Chapel, followed immediately by a reception on the Reamer Campus Center patio. 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.

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