Senior Anthropology and Sociology majors had the opportunity to present the results of their hard work and research at Wheaton College’s 30th Annual Sociology and Anthropology Senior Research Symposium on Wed. Feb 1 and Thurs. Feb. 2 in an event open to the public.
Professor of International Development and Social Change, William Fisher was the keynote speaker at the event.
29 sociology and anthropology majors presented their findings to an audience of their peers, along with a panel of professors.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Bruce Owens explained the origins and goals of the Symposium, saying, “[The Symposium] is consistent with both our overall objective and our methods for achieving it. Our overall objective is to equip people to think about the world through anthropological lenses and hopefully, therefore be able to be agile in negotiating various different kinds of circumstances that they will inevitably face no matter what kind of career they actually get into.”
Owens explained that anthropologists and sociologists are expected to be able to present their own research and findings in professional contexts. He added, “We want people not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk as it were… that’s why we require of all of our majors that they write a thesis based on original research. And the symposium provides them with a forum in which to present that.”
Participation in the Symposium is required for all anthropology majors, but optional for sociology majors, who have the option to choose another form of a senior capstone. Says senior Sociology major and participant Kristen Eklund, “ I definitely went back and forth about whether or not to take the seminar in the fall or the one in the spring. The symposium was kind of scary to me, since I hadn’t ever done anything like that and public speaking isn’t my favorite thing in the world. But, I really liked the idea of going out and doing my own research… It was definitely worth it too. Even if I was scared at first, I took it as a growth experience and the whole process of writing the thesis and presenting.”
The Senior Symposium served as a forum for students to present the results of years of passionate research and deep dedication. Said presenter Margaux Fisher ’12, “Participating in the symposium was really exciting. It was great to be able to share with others the results of my research from last semester, which was really a culmination of almost everything I’ve done since freshman year.”
Students spent two, long difficult days preparing and presenting. Participant Ian Lazzara ’12 expressed his feelings about the Symposium, saying “It was a long two days but the feedback that I’ve heard has all been positive. For me, I really enjoyed having this event because it served as a way to show my family what it is I have been studying for four years, and I really felt like a senior.”
Adds presenter Sally Dexter ’12, “The symposium recognizes all the hard work that goes in to writing a thesis, and it was really rewarding to present my research in the symposium, and was a great way to cap off my major. Everyone did a great job, and I’m really happy with how it went overall.”