The Fall 2022 Student Academic Conference

BY AVOLIN SEN / STAFF WRITER

The Student Academic Conference (SAC) is a symposium organized by Augustana faculty at the end of each term. It is a grand occasion for undergraduate students to present their independent research. The conference allows many individuals to showcase what they are passionate about while learning about others’ chosen studies in depth. It also helps build connections and networks amongst like-minded individuals and professionals in their industries. An additional benefit to this conference is that it looks great on your resume! 

This semester’s SAC was held on December 8th and included 15 oral presentations at different times throughout the afternoon and 52 poster presentations in the Forum, including many of our own staff writers!

This year, I had the opportunity to venture through the SAC panels to see what kind of research the students took part in, and the results were very impressive! Each student researched different topics, ranging from probiotics and their role in preventing or treating candida bio-films to Alberta’s law and whether there should be an adoption of a Provincial Police Service. An exciting aspect of this year’s SAC was the inclusion of presentations from three students nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, including our staff writer, Mia Arciniegas, presenting on hyper-femininity in old Hollywood films, and our Editor-in-Chief, Shelby Paulgaard, presenting on sexual assault representation in the Media, along with Leif Hvenegaard presenting on beaver occupancy in ponds and the effects on biodiversity. 

I was personally invested in the research regarding a study done on female rats, particularly observing seizure activity after intracerebral hemorrhage during their estrous cycle. This was a long-term study conducted by Jenessa Doctor (a 4th-year student) in collaboration with Ana Klahr et al. After Jenessa’s presentation, I had the chance to interview her regarding her experience with SAC. When asked about what motivated her to take on this project, she replied that this offered her research experience for her future in grad school. “I’m hoping to go and study psychology in grad school,” she said. When looking for a topic to research, she took on the advice of her professor, who was working on a project and offered to make her a part of it, having Jenessa report on the research and analysis.

Jenessa also mentioned the highlight of her participation in this project: “I’ve learned a ton about seizure and stroke. It was such an excellent major problem. And so that was probably like a big highlight, just the knowledge I gained.” she said. 

She also emphasized how SAC helped her overall: “I think this project definitely helped with my presentation ability. I think that it’s nice to get that experience for future purposes. So again, just for the experience in terms of the study, I learned a lot about the research process, which is interesting and the amount of work that goes into it even before the experiment takes place because all of this work that I’ve done this semester is going to obviously help facilitate what I’m doing next semester. But just the preparation really made me appreciate my research.” she said.

All in all, this was an experience worth presenting and sharing, and I hope to be a part of the panel of the SAC in the future.

Images from Fall Semester SAC 2022. Photos courtesy of Gurmehar Bajwa.

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