That somewhat unexpected question aptly captured the spirit of the 2017 Spring Research Day at Trinity on April 19 in the Payden Center. A remarkable range of undergraduate student research — the sciences, social sciences, business, English and Humanities all were well represented in the poster session in a packed Payden Center lobby.
Students eagerly gave short presentations about their research to other students, faculty and administrators who were dazzled by the robust range of presentations and tremendous intellectual achievement on display. Elizabeth Coperno, photo above, eagerly shared with me her research on the alumnium giant Alcoa. Kenewana Heard, below, eagerly regaled me with her research into one of my favorite companies — Hershey’s Chocolate!
The question about expressing gratitude arose during the second part of the afternoon session, during which Trinity Alumna Dartagnia “Dee” Robinson ’16, a Human Relations major, gave a very engaging presentation on “Invisible Women: Countering Health and Wellness Issues Among Immigrant Women in the United States.” She discussed her own research on the challenges and barriers women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds face in American healthcare and employment.
After her presentation, when the floor opened for questions, one student asked Dee about how she found the strength to get through school, earn her degree, care for her son and surmount barriers, and Dee shared her own personal journey in a way that had the students truly leaning in, nodding and exclaiming agreement. At that point, one of the students asked the question about gratitude, which led to a very interesting discussion of how important it is for women to acknowledge and support each other, and about how, at Trinity, African American and Latina women, in particular, have a close and supportive community for the kind of academic achievement on display during Spring Research Day.
Sr. Mary Johnson, SND, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, was one of Dee Robinson’s teachers and mentors, and invited her to be the lead speaker for this program. Dr. Carlota Ocampo, photo below, was also an influential teacher and mentor for Dee, along with many other members of the faculty. Dee is a salary negotiation facilitator at the American Association of University Women while pursuing her master’s degree in Human Resource Development at Bowie State University.
Thank you, Dee Robinson, for such an inspiring talk!
The success of Spring Research Day is the collaboration of many faculty and students. The person who is most responsible for the success of the day and the undergraduate research program at Trinity is Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Biochemistry Dr. Patrice Moss.
Dr. Moss, speaking to the audience, above, has been responsible for securing amazing summer research internships for science majors at such prestigious laboratories as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Georgetown, NIH and others. She is a tireless champion for Trinity students and their success in the STEM disciplines. Dr. Moss and her colleagues have taken full advantage of the new science labs and equipment in the Payden Center to expand the reach of the sciences at Trinity. Because of their work in undergraduate research, other disciplines took note, and now research and presentation opportunities are a large part of many academic programs across the curriculum.
Students really enjoy the opportunity to present the results of their work in poster sessions, and the energy and spirit of collaborative moments like Spring Research Day truly helps to synthesize all of the hard work in teaching and learning that goes on all year.
After Dee Robinson’s presentation, many students continued to share their research and ideas in the Payden lobby, and quite a few heard Dr. Moss’s challenge to have even greater participation next year!
I enjoy the opportunities to meet and hear about student research through programs like Spring Research Day because I do not always get a chance to observe and listen to student presentations. Today I learned a great deal from many students. One student, Lamia Gary, below, had a great poster presentation but we also talked about her big vision for her future — a Business major, she has already been hired by Amazon as a regional representative and she will be moving to California after graduation to pursue work with that company.
Lamia also shared with me that she is about to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa! What a great mark of academic distinction and devotion to intellectual achievement! Congrats, Lamia! I suspect we’ll hear a lot more about her in the years to come….
There were so many amazing students at today’s Spring Research Day, and we’ll be hearing from and about them for a long time to come. The work I saw and heard about today is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and dedication to excellence.
How do I thank those who have helped our students to grown and to learn so well? My deep and abiding thanks go out to our extraordinary faculty whose patient, thoughtful, persistent and challenging work in teaching and advising and mentoring helps every Trinity student to reach her potential. It’s not easy, and sometimes the road seems very hard, but as we near the end of this academic year, we can see the evidence of so much success.
Congratulations, students, and THANK YOU, faculty!