The Paw Print
ALAMOSA, Colo – An Adams Sate College student’s life is probably one with a daily routine that rarely changes. The school day may start with a healthy breakfast, or more likely no breakfast at all, and afterward there may be some stretching and a light workout, or a race to get ready while listening to music or cartoons playing in the background. Finally, it’s time to energetically march out the door to class, or do a zombie-walk, all while trying to get a grip of where one is in the world after being blinded by whomever turned on the lights.
It’s another day of class where one of two things usually happens. One, the classroom experience is generally passive, in which the students who have decided to procrastinate are falling behind, and look down to find that they are drooling. Or two, the class is an engaging, active environment, where students respond to the academic material in an educated and energetic way. It would be safe to say that students who have the intention of being successful in life would always choose the latter when given that choice. Fortunately for Adams State College students, there is an additional choice to be active, energetic and engaged about academic material during the annual Student Scholar Days.
Student Scholar Days is a two-day conference in April for which, through the mentorship of a professor, a student has the opportunity to place their knowledge about a specific subject on an academic platform for all to see. The presentations are 20 minutes long, with a 10 minute question-answer session. The presentations give each participant and audience member a detour from the daily routine. Professors have an opportunity to be proud of their students, while also perhaps learning something new. Students have a chance to shine while performing on a large academic stage.
Students who participate in Student Scholar Days are mentored by a faculty member and may or may not work with fellow students. Those students who are nervous about presenting in front of so many people are provided with time and a strong support system. “Adams State is really cool about how students and faculty can work together, its open door policy for the most part and allows the student to connect with the faculty in an academic setting,” says Assistant Professor Cindy Whitney the current chair of the Student Scholar Days committee.
Lance Hostetter, an English/Mass Communication major, is an example of student who found himself with an opportunity to share an interesting presentation based on a paper he wrote for his JOUR 255 Media in America class. After submitting the paper, it was recommended to Hostetter by his professor that he should take his paper and transform it into a presentation for Student Scholar Days. With the mentorship of Assistant Professor Beth Bonnstetter, a Mass Communications professor, Hostetter gave an analytical presentation about the ability of Saturday Night Live and late night shows to disseminate information through satire called “Sarah Palin and the SNL Effect.”
The Student Scholar Days conference was just another event on Hostetter’s schedule, and after preparing for it for months, Hostetter came away from his presentation excited, proud and rewarded. “It was very rewarding because you felt like people respected your work, and felt like they were interested in something you had done.”
Another student who was given the chance to shine was Ashlie Cogburn. She gave a presentation called “America’s Youth Behind Bars” with fellow student Adam Jennings. Cogburn, despite characterizing herself as someone who is comfortable with public speaking, felt like Student Scholar Days gave her a chance to escape her comfort zone. During her presentation, Cogburn found that her audience which consisted of professors, students and community members, was somewhat different than what she was used to in a regular classroom setting.
“It’s not only open to one group of students, or one type of student, its open to anyone who wants to present on something they are passionate about,” says Cogburn. Academic freedom granted by Student Scholar Days is not something Adams State College Students have always had access to. After positive experiences by both Hostetter and Cogburn, students should take into consideration the benefits of such an opportunity.
Student Scholar Days, which was originally started by Assistant Professor of Psychology Brent King four years ago, is an event that seems to be growing every year. Assistant Professor Cindy Whitney, the chair of the Student Scholar Days committee, expresses enthusiasm over the growing diversity of subjects being presented during Student Scholar Days. “Last year we had 16 presentations, we’re going to have 19 this year.”
Creative freedom in presentation formats is something else that Whitney feels Student Scholar Days awards its participants. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a paper; it just has to be something that’s academic in the field. Last year we had someone do a piano performance for us because she was a music student; we also had a photography student give a presentation, someone talked about a novel they read, and someone presented on the subject of child soldiers.”
The fourth annual Student Scholar Days is an event where Whitney expects students, professors and the Alamosa community to have an easy time finding interesting presentations to attend because of the variety being offered. “This year we have everything from chemistry, physics, and geography, to a salsa instruction and the educational aspects of it. I think the salsa presentation is going to be really cool.”
The college life and experience of an Adams State College student can be one where routine days become routine weeks or months. The days can start to blend together, as one day may be like the last. On the Adams State College campus however, there are academic dirt roads to be taken. Because of an event like Student Scholar Days, there are ways to keep the journey through academia a fresh and creative one. Whether it’s to sit in the audience or give a presentation, Student Scholar Days presents a unique experience for all. The fourth annual Student Scholar days takes place on April 7 and 8 starting at 9 a.m. in the student union building’s banquet room, SUB A131.
**Grab the printed version of The Paw Print to find the Student Scholar Days Schedule!