For the first time since 2019, Celebrating Student Achievement Day (CSA Day) was held in person on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
CSA Day is an all-day conference during which students showcase the research they have conducted over the year in poster and oral presentation sessions to their peers, professors, and the Meredith College community. With more than 45 presentations held this year, attendees heard about a wide range of topics from biology to art and design.
Students were also recognized for their contributions to the Meredith community through awards ceremonies, honors society induction ceremonies, and performances.
Carolina Perez-Heydrich, associate professor of biological sciences and director of undergraduate research, said the in-person format of this year’s celebration was welcome.
“Walking through the Arts Showcase at noon, seeing people engaging with the interactive art installation, taking in the student dance and music performances, and just hanging out over lunch outside, it was all so energizing,” she said.
She noted that much of the programming was student-run.
“The arts showcase was coordinated by event planning students under the leadership of Courtney Hopper; PR techniques students, with the guidance of Mindy Sopher, helped to create marketing campaigns to promote more student engagement at the event; and COM students did a great job serving as student moderators at each of the oral presentations,” said Perez-Heydrich. “It was definitely a community effort.”
The Undergraduate Research Program promotes collaborative projects involving students and faculty from across the campus, representing all academic disciplines or departments. Students have the unique opportunity to build research partnerships directly with faculty who encourage and support the students’ research and creative endeavors.
Students in all academic programs may earn course credit for approved research work. Academic advisors and faculty who share a student’s interest can offer further information and guidance.
Although many projects are singular efforts by students, others presented at CSA Day provide opportunities for students to collaborate with peers.
For example, seniors Caroline Garland, Morgan Maddocks, Meredith Ezzelle, Hannah Brittain-DuBois, Ashleigh Millinder, Sarah Moore, Chapel Bartee, and Kristina Cardenas worked together on a study titled “Relational Red Flags and Green Flags and the Behaviors Behind Them.” Their faculty advisor was Carla Ross, associate professor of communication. The project came out of a final research class that combined communication students in all of the concentrations: interpersonal, public relations, and mass communication.
Hannah Brittain-DuBois,’23, said the interaction among students in the group contributed to their project.
“The environment in the classroom was great because we were able to bounce ideas off of each other and usually you’re not able to do that with normal research. Being able to have everyone else’s opinion was very beneficial.”
Morgan Maddocks,’23, said working with Ross was “wonderful.”
“She was very supportive the whole time. While she was the overarching guide, she was also like, ‘This is your research.’”
The students also have plans to host a podcast that elaborates on their research.
According to a recent survey, 24% more seniors at Meredith worked with a faculty member on a research project, compared with other college students nationally.
In addition to CSA Day, Meredith supports student research through research grants, travel grants, and summer partnerships. Students may go on to present their research at regional, national, and even international conferences.
Perez-Heydrich said she thought the strong turnout at the presentations made the students feel supported by the Meredith community.
“All in all, the day really felt like a celebration: A celebration of the high-quality work our students have accomplished, as well as a celebration of the faculty mentors who guided them through their respective journeys. It also helped that it all took place along the backdrop of a beautiful spring day at Meredith.”
Celebrating Student Achievement (CSA) Day at Meredith College is a day-long annual celebration of student achievement that includes research presentations, posters, performances, creative projects, awards, exhibits, and more. The day is a showcase of student research. The Meredith College CSA YouTube Channel will make all presentations available after the event. Last year’s presentations are also available on the channel.