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Eric Sean Weld   Date: 4/10/09 Bookmark and Share

An Opportunity to Practice Presentation

Hannah Jaris ’09, who worked with Laura Katz, professor of biological sciences, presents her poster on "Genetic Diversity of Ciliates in Coast Sediment" at Celebrating Collaborations 2008.

Giving an effective public presentation—one that is concise, informative and at least a little entertaining—is an art that requires a set of skills not easily obtained. For most, gaining comfort in making presentations comes only from making presentations.

Partly with that goal in mind, nearly 250 Smith students from all classes will hone their presentation skills during “Celebrating Collaborations: Students and Faculty Working Together,” a showcase of work resulting from collaborations between students and faculty members.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, April 18, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in various campus locations. The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair-accessible.

In the opportunity it affords students in all disciplines and levels to develop presentation skills, “Celebrating Collaborations” is a unique event within the undergraduate curriculum. Now in its eighth year, Smith’s showcase has become a model for similar events at peer institutions.

Students will present in a range of categories, including the sciences, literature, performing arts, sociology and language studies. The presentations—representing senior theses, independent study and research—will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a science poster session in the Smith College Campus Center, second floor. Subsequent sessions will take place in various locations from 10:45 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and 2:45 to 4 p.m.

View a complete schedule.

Participating students will have an opportunity to rehearse their presentations during a series of preparatory workshops the week before the event, hosted by faculty and staff members. There, they can glean methods for “How to Jazz Up Your PowerPoint Presentation with Animations and Transitions,” for example, “Creating and Delivering Effective Presentations,” and “Presentation Presence: Breathing, Posture, Projection.”

Behind the presentations by students in “Celebrating Collaborations” is the cooperative guidance of more than one hundred Smith faculty members. And while some of the presentation titles, especially in science and technology, reflect highly technical subject matter, others are pertinent to modern social and psychological issues.

Consider these titles from the morning science poster session: “Have Rail Trails Increased the Value of Your Home?” a presentation by sophomore Ella Hartenian and first-year student Tanya Hakim; “Ethnic Differences in How Mothers Describe Their Children,” by senior Wendy Roman; and “I’m a Perfectionist! Can I Blame My Parents?” by senior Shana Dooley and junior Emma Thomas.

Some of the science-related research may have important impact on current problems. “The Effects of Jet Lag and Shift Work on Sleep: How Shifting Light Dark Cycles Affect Sleeping Patterns in Mice” is a poster presentation by sophomores Alayna Liptak and Tsz Wong, and junior Catherine Castillo; and “Comparing Children’s Views of the ’04 and ’08 Presidential Elections,” a study by first-year Monika Valecic and sophomore Sarah Billian.

Afternoon sessions range from “Hollywood News: The Image of Broadcast News on Film” by graduate student Sarah Padioleau, to “The Unique Gentrification in Northampton” by seniors Annie Rosen and Kaden Fund. Several performances of music, poetry and dance accompany the presentations throughout the day.

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