2/9/2016 10:50:15 AM

First-Year Seminar Student Conference

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

By Mike Clemens '15

On April 30, Siena College held its fourth annual First-Year Seminar Student Conference, showcasing the original research of numerous freshman students as they completed their first year as undergraduates.

The First-Year Seminar is a two-semester long course that is designed to introduce students to academic life and familiarize them with the skills necessary to succeed in college-level coursework. Working in small classes, students study the fundamentals of Siena’s Franciscan mission through a variety of interesting topics. As a capstone to this course, students are required to complete an original research project. 71 of these students presented their papers at the Conference.

“I think that it is important for our college community to see the great work that our first-year students are doing in the seminar,” said Meg Woolbright, D.A., professor of English and director of the First-Year Seminar program. “We celebrate the good work of our seniors during the annual Academic Celebration, but I think that we need to teach our freshmen that they too can participate in this intellectual conversation.”

Three to four students from each Seminar were chosen by their professors to present their research to an audience of peers and faculty members.

“It felt great to present my research to my peers,” said Sarrang Singh ’17. Singh’s presentation, “Cyber-warfare: An Impending Danger,” focused on the unpredictability and potential devastation of cyber attacks in our technological world. “The issue of cyber-warfare is something that I am very interested in, so I was glad that I could teach people something new and engage them with an issue that they might not be familiar with.”

Shannon Houghtlin ’17, felt similarly. Her presentation, “Traumatic Brain Injury,” explored how our government scans for and treats veterans who suffer from TBI – the “invisible wound” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was really an honor to be able to present on a topic that is not widely studied and known about,” Houghtlin ’17 said.

In addition to the 71 presentations, the Conference was also a celebration of the 29 freshman students who had their papers accepted for publication in Siena’s academic journal of first-year student work.

Woolbright hopes that the students’ involvement in this conference will encourage them to continue to do research during the rest of their collegiate careers.

“I think that it is sad that students come out of high school and dread doing research,” Woolbright said. “I want my students to understand how exciting it is to contribute something of your own to the field. I hope that they find something that sparks their curiosity and that they continue to love learning.”

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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