Students to present research at conference 

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference, formally known as Showcase EIU, will take place at 12 p.m. Friday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Showcase EIU ran for about eight years, and the new additions to the conference include graduate students who were invited to come and present their research.  

People will be welcomed to the conference with opening remarks and faculty awards. The opening remarks will be followed by poster presentations, oral presentations and artistic performances.

The poster presentations will begin the event in the Grand Ballroom and there will be two sessions. Session A will begin at 12:35 p.m. and they will be offering free pizza to those who come. Session B will begin at 1:40 p.m. and go until 2:40 p.m.  

Dr. Richard England, dean of the Honors College, spoke about the kinds of presentations that will be taking place on Friday.

“The oral presentations range from scientific papers, history or literary papers, to public speaking kind of performances, to set pieces by communication students,” England said. “We have a theatre major who is going to be playing a play that he staged.”

There will be three sessions of oral presentations in the third floor meeting rooms of the Union. The first session is from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., the second session is from 1:20 p.m. to 2:10 p.m., and the third session is from 2:20 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.

“One (goal of the conference) is to give students an opportunity to actually share their research for their creative work,” England said. “They have spent a lot of time investigating issues or coming up with interpretations or practicing their performance skills, so this is a capstone kind of experience for many of them.” 

The artistic performances will take place at the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The first performance is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre and the second performance begins in the Recital Hall at 6:30 p.m.  

England sees this opportunity as a chance for students to get questions from people and to practice their communication skills.

“The other general goal is to inspire other students to get involved,” England said. “Many of the students who will be presenting here will be graduating, although we also have freshman, sophomores and juniors presenting as well as graduate students. Sometimes students don’t really understand what research is, and they don’t understand what research looks like in other disciplines.”

England said being able to present your research is a good way to build your resume and capability to a future employer.

“The value of undergraduate research and creative activity is sort of twofold to gain. One is, it really helps you focus your attention and get your mind around a topic,” England said. “It’s one thing to do well in class, but you also have to really be able to dive deeply into a subject to really get good at it.” 

England said he likes this conference because students can learn something from their peers and can also learn what other students have been doing to conduct the research that they will be presenting. 

“The reason I like it is partly because I’m a curious guy, but also because their passion for the subject, their intensity, seeing what difficulties and challenges they’ve had to overcome to get to this stage is inspiring,” England said. “If it can inspire me, it can certainly inspire their peers so that is why I hope that lots of students will come out and see what is possible for them and support their fellow students.” 

With the rough patch that Eastern is going through right now, England wants to use this event as a celebration of the hard work done by the students here.  

“We’re in a tough time for the university, (so) this is a high point. This is a time to say, ‘we’re going to celebrate, let’s go for it,’” England said. “We have got good students being mentored by excellent faculty, let’s really try and get a good celebration of their work here.”


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]