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Virtual showcase celebrates student scholarly work

In a virtual celebration of scholarly work, TCNJ students showcased the fruits of their academic labors with paper presentations, panels, poster sessions, and more during the Celebration of Student Achievement on Wednesday, May 6.

“TCNJ’s Celebration of Student Achievement is an annual student symposium that highlights both the research and creative activity that our students are actively engaged in,” says Curt Elderkin, director of faculty student collaboration.

“When the coronavirus pandemic caused the campus to close, we immediately began planning a virtual event and asked the department chairs if the faculty and students would be interested in a virtual event,” he says.

Nearly 100 students presented throughout the day. The students typically shared work that they have already prepared or presented for another purpose, such as independent research, a senior design, thesis, or capstone course, a conference presentation, or some other outstanding scholarly/creative experience during the past academic year

Marissa Willox ’20 and Nickolas Kleftogiannis ’20, elementary education majors, presented their research, “Help Math Not Seem Like a Foreign Language.” Their work was born from assisting bilingual second graders at Carroll Robbins Elementary School in Trenton to build their number sense, counting skills, and basic adding abilities.

“We saw their confidence increase immensely and it became their favorite part of the day,” Willox says.

The virtual presentation required the pair to adapt how they were going to showcase their work, which included hands-on materials that explained the games they used with the second-grade students.

“We had to add captions for our pictures and describe the games in more detail than we were planning on for the in-person presentation,” she says. “It would have been nice to be able to show the games so those who joined our presentation could have a more engaging experience, but we made do.”

In person or from afar, Elderkin hopes that the Celebration of Student Achievement will continue to be a successful signature event on campus.

— David Pavlak