Faculty, student synthesis through symposium

Faculty, student synthesis through symposium

Heather Montoya

A College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) Research Symposium will take place on Feb. 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the University Ballroom in the Business Building.

Elizabeth Honsalek, a junior psychology major with a minor in Spanish and a COLFA senator, and Emmanuel Nyong, a junior microbiology and immunology major and a College of Science senator, have been planning this event and will also be the ones hosting it on behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee within the Student Government Association.

Honsalek and Nyong are collaborating with the office of undergraduate research and Dr. Thomas Coyle, the director of undergraduate research.

The symposium started out as an idea Honsalek came up with about hosting a research seminar. “I am involved in research within the Psychology Department and wanted to create an opportunity for students to find the same passion for research that I have.”

Honsalek wants the symposium to make the process of getting involved with research easier and less intimidating for students.

“This event serves to encourage students who otherwise may not have even considered doing research, to reconsider that. This will be done by offering them the opportunity to bypass the often tedious process and meet directly with the professionals conducting the studies themselves,” Honsalek said.

Honsalek also feels that the initiative for students to produce more research would increase the national recognition of UTSA’s COLFA and move the university closer to top-tier status.

“At the very least, participating in undergraduate research is a great way to prepare for graduate school and create lasting connections with their professors,” Honsalek said.

The symposium will include a presentation from the undergraduate research informing students on how to get involved, a panel highlighting professionals and their experiences with research, a meet-and-greet connecting students with professors currently conducting research and a presentation showcasing previous UTSA research. Students will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about research and getting involved

“The idea, mainly, is to create a place for students and researchers to connect directly in an informal and fun environment,” Honsalek said.

Nyong believes that the most critical part of the symposium is the opportunity for students to network with faculty in current research projects. “This event is important because research plays an essential role in developing well-rounded students with the ability to critically think and creatively solve problems.”

Mykayla Jones, a sophmore psychology major, is looking forward to attending the symposium. “I am looking forward to the meet-and-greet portion of this event. I’m excited to network and make connections with the professionals in my field.”

Honsalek wants students to know three main things about this event. “First of all—free food. Second of all, this is an invaluable experience that has never been done before on such a large scale. This may be exactly what students need to jumpstart their professional careers.  Lastly, at the very least, this is a great opportunity to learn and network.”