Undergraduate showcase

Sheldon Hatlen, Staff Writer

All students should mark their calendars for April 7, as it’ll be the last day the office of Essential Studies will be accepting applications for students to participate in the undergraduate showcasing on Tuesday, May 2 through Thursday, May 4.

Dr. Ryan Zerr, the university’s director of Essential Studies as well as a mathematics professor, is expecting a large number of students to attend this year. This year’s event is incorporating more programs than ever before.

“I’d expect hundreds of students,” Zerr said. “Last spring was the first spring we did the essential studies capstone version of this, and there was something like 200 students in attendance. I’m nearly certain we’ll have more than that, probably double if not triple those numbers.”

This will mark the first year the showcase will incorporate the honors program, college of engineering and mines and students who are musically inclined to participate in the event. 

“What will happen this May is the first sort of full-blown undergraduate showcase,” Zerr said. “The idea focused on essential studies capstone courses. What we’re looking to do is to expand upon that idea.”

From past showcases, students have primarily used posters as their visual for the presentation. Zerr believes the inclusion of the various programs will diversify the presentations.

“The goal is to accommodate pretty much anything one might want to do,” Zerr said. “I fully expect there to be some live musical performances. I think it’s also the case that there will be some recorded performances; the presenter will engage with the audience as to what is going on, while at the same time, incorporate his/her piece in the background.”

The showcase itself will be take place over several days. Day one will exclusively handle presentations within both the honors program and the college of engineering and mines, while day two will be available for university-wide undergraduate presentations.

In past events similar to the showcase, Zerr has witnessed many different presentation from the departments involved in this semester’s showcase. This allowed Zerr to know what the new incorporations will bring to the table.

“Last spring, there were a number of students from the computer science or engineering that had an actual design project,” Zerr said. “We also had students from the visual arts capstone who had artwork displayed in the library and discussed the nature of the work they did.”

There is still plenty of time for students to submit applications for the showcase. With the deadline more than a month away, Zerr encourages students to jump on the opportunity. In addition, Zerr believes there are benefits to being involved in the showcase.

“It can also be an opportunity to give a presentation that one could put on a resume,” Zerr said. “To perhaps better distinguish oneself from others on campus; to provide better employment opportunities.”

With the event taking place closer to the end of the school year, there can be pros to attending, even if one isn’t presenting anything. Primarily early year students would benefit the most from this event, Zerr believes.

“On one hand you might be a freshman looking to know what you could be doing in your field come senior year,” Zerr said. “You could also be an undeclared searching for something that might interests you. I think the showcase would be a good place to do that.”

Students interested in applying for the showcase can find it on the university’s website if you search 2017 UNDergraduate Showcase.

Sheldon Hatlen is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]