Scholarly symposium provides chance to share media-service work

By Jackson Eagan

On April 10, Ithaca College held its 17th annual James J. Whalen Academic Symposium. This event featured more than 200 oral and visual presentations about the research work that students have completed over the past year.

This symposium was a great chance for educators and students alike to share their knowledge and hear about the amazing research that occurs yearly at the college. I, for one, learned a great deal about a range of topics, everywhere from English literature in the 21st Century to child custody laws in Mississippi.

Several Park Scholars presented at the 2014 Symposium, most of them discussing their winter break trip to New Orleans to volunteer in the Lower Ninth Ward. Topics covered included the concept of "voluntourism," where NOLA-bound volunteers from around the world "come for the work and stay for the party," as well as the city's burgeoning film industry, and finally, urban planning and gentrification.

The scholars who presented about New Orleans were Megan Devlin, Moriah Petty and JP Keenan. They also had the expert guidance of Rachael Lewis-Krisky, who organized all three presentations and played an integral part in preparing them for the symposium. All of these participants did a phenomenal job and everyone came away from the experience feeling educated and enlightened on a topic that, however "old" chronologically, is no less relevant nine years later.

I, in turn, had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on the trip I went on to Ecuador during January 2014 to shoot a documentary on biodiversity. The presentation was well-received and I actually won an award for my work from the symposium.

Overall, the Symposium was a great and educational event, and was certainly one of the highlights of my last semester at the college. My only criticism of the symposium was it being held on a weekday, so many people, students especially, were unable to attend because of prior obligations. Hopefully in the future, the event can be held on the weekend, for I regret not having enough time to go to all of the talks and discussions; but with so many events, it was impossible to experience everything.


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