Roosevelt Hosts Annual Science and Math Research Symposium

By Brennan Sullivan

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Roosevelt students present research at annual Science and Math Symposium. Photo by Brennan Sullivan.

Roosevelt’s Science and Math departments hosted their annual research symposium which allows students, alumni, and keynote speakers present their contributions to their academic communities.

The first lecture of the day-long event was titled “Why Science Matters” and presented by keynote speaker Tom Seipel. Seipel is a researcher and analyst from one of Chicago’s major architectural companies, Perkins+Will Global.

On top of the presentation sessions, where students, scholars, and alumni got to display and talk about their own personal research, the symposium offered students multiple opportunities to turn their studies into careers.

Mike Maly, the Associate Provost of Research, presented the audience with various research opportunities available to students that they may not have been aware of prior to the event. In the afternoon, they hosted a professional development workshop, providing help for students to improve their application materials such as cover letters and resumes.

As the research symposium has become more established over the years, they have even used the event to promote charities such as the Rainforest Foundation.

This event has been put on at Roosevelt for nearly two decades, as it began in the late 1990’s. It began as just a day to discuss topics in science but has encompassed the field of mathematics as well along the way. This is where Steve Cohen, Graduate Director and Associate Professor of Mathematics at Roosevelt, came along.

Since they have incorporated students’ work into the fair, Professor Cohen has constructed some of his classes to include a course-long research project. This has allowed students to collect their findings throughout the semester and submit their work for admittance into the symposium.

“Events like these are important for students to show their work in a public setting and to be apart of a science conference. These are really important.” Cohen said.

Because mathetmatic students hadn’t always had the chance to participate in this opportunity, Cohen noted that the symposium was “kind of a novelty for math.”

In the Industrial Research Problems class, Luke Swanson and other Math majors worked in collaboration with the Field Museum on their ongoing Microplants Project. The museum allowed its thousands of visitors to measure the leaves of liverworts plants. They then gave these measurements to Roosevelt Students like Luke, to analyze in search of finding whether or not this is a useful way of collecting data.

Swanson and some of his classmates had the responsibility of designing a computer program that accurately takes in the measurements and transfers them to an excel sheet.

When asked what advice he could give to students hoping to showcase their work in future symposiums, Swanson said, “Keep your goals specific and functionally decompose your project as much as possible.”

“My best advice for being chosen is to document everything.” said one of Swanson’s classmates, Joshua Torres, who is also working on the Microplant Project.

Torres and his own team of mathematicians created a confidence interval which told their class how many measurements needed to exist so they knew they’re data on the microplants was accurate.

“If you document everything correctly and someone who doesn’t know about your research can know take a glance and understand your work. It truly makes a world of difference.” Torres said.

The event concluded with an award ceremony for the diverse range of presentations made by only a few of Roosevelt’s auspicious science and math students.

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