Art exhibitions. Music performances. An original play performed with puppets. Friday, April 27, marks the University of Mary Washington’s 12th annual Research and Creativity Day – a culmination of a year of work by UMW students.
The day-long event includes short oral presentations, artwork, original compositions and research as far-ranging as the public’s perception of the flu shot to the implications of pesticides on bee populations.
“Research and Creativity Day is a much anticipated annual tradition at UMW,” said Grant Woodwell, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of geology. “The day serves as a celebration of student achievement and provides a campus-wide event for students to share the results of their research or creative products with a wider audience of fellow students, faculty members, administrators and guests.”
Topics span most of UMW’s disciplines, and this year’s line-up includes more than 60 poster displays, original music performances and dozens of oral sessions beginning at 8 a.m. in the Hurley Convergence Center.
Additional exhibits and sessions will take place in the HCC Convergence Gallery, the Ridderhof Martin Gallery, Trinkle Hall, University Center and Monroe Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The annual student art exhibit is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in duPont Gallery. New Perfectland, an original play with puppets, will take place in Studio 115 on the basement floor of duPont Hall at 4 and 7 p.m.
Come see what a UMW chemistry student found from analyzing local honey and commercial honey for pesticides – and how that might relate to colony collapse disorder in bees. Discover what a biology student learned from chronically exposing mice to a combination of caffeine and a common artificial sweetener. And check out the work of a group of Jason James’ anthropology students who studied the way societies remember and forget the past through monuments, memorials, museums, films and other media in a unique class called Practices of Memory.
Collective memory of past events, James explains, shapes the way we understand and act on what’s happening now. As a result, representations of the past are a source of political power – and can become the focus of conflict.
The students’ independent research included topics as diverse as the film Titanic, roadside historical markers, American Girl dolls and the Berlin Wall. Sophomore Hannah Huggins looked at what the novel Boy in the Striped Pajamas said about everyday Germans during the Holocaust.
“I think it’s really interesting that people base their identities on memories and cultural memories,” said Huggins, who is from Centreville, Virginia. “People tend to forget there’s no true reality of what the past is. All of history is a narrative.”
Lexy Stanford, a junior American Studies major from Culpeper, chose for her topic the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and what it has meant to veterans, politicians and the public.
“The idea that the wall allowed veterans to talk about what happened in Vietnam – that it opened up this door – that’s what I found most interesting,” Stanford said.
The Practice of Memory projects will be displayed in the University Center’s ballroom foyer, with initial presentations from 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday.
For a complete schedule of events, as well as abstracts of student projects, see the Student Research and Creativity Day schedule.