Honors Symposium Showcases First Year Student Accomplishments

by Jade Watts


The Honors College Annual Symposium showcased the academic accomplishments of students in their first year of studying Humanities, Liberal Arts, and Sciences (LAS). On Tuesday, Oct. 31., from 10A.M. to 4P.M., students explored the topic of food from their individual perspectives and present them to the campus.The symposium allowed honors students from all different majors in the Humanities LAS to have an open discussion and connect with the larger WCC community.

“One of SUNY’s definitions of applied learning is ‘mentored, self-directed work that enables students to make an original, intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline by exploring an issue of interest to them and communicating the results to others,’” said Dr. Mira Sakrajda, Interim Director of the Honors College and the Honors Program. “The Honors College Symposium fits this definition perfectly. I hope WCC will support such student-centered research-based applied learning projects beyond the Honors College grant.”

16 honors college students participated in the symposium.

“The symposium was important because there were many different approaches on food that a lot of us would never think about daily that were presented,” said Jamila Desir, an honors college student. “This event also helped many students to practice their public speaking and presentation skills. Overall, I think it was a great learning experience for both its presenters and audience. “

Desir focused on ‘Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government,’ showing the relationship between the three industries.

“​The Food Symposium was a wonderful student-led event that tied in with the College’s ‘Food Theme,’” said Professor Elise Martucci, English Department. “Many of my students from my English 101 and 102 classes attended and wrote reports on how great it was to see research in action at these presentations.  Many were inspired to see how when research is done well it leads to discovery; several students chose their 101 research project topics based on ideas learned at the symposium.”

Confirming how informative the event was, WCC student Victor Aroyo Barragan reflected on how not knowing about food is overall detrimental. According to Barragan, having more presentations like the one put on by the Honors College could benefit the country as a whole.

“Essentially it prepares us for the real world, expanding our options and knowledge,” said Parveen Rampersaud, WCC student, about researching for the symposium. Although Rampersaud did not present during this event, she commends those who did. “I actually have a class symposium next week to prepare for, and this event inspired me and allowed me to pick up some tips before my big day.”

“[The symposium] introduces the Honors College and Honors Program to the visiting audience,” said Linda Kalfayan, a WCC communications professor and honors faculty member. “It illustrates how learning is beyond the classroom [and] it invites others to engage in our work. For English 101 students I have to say that I believe they were genuine and met a great challenge.”

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