Student symposium highlights academic scholarship

For Immediate Release


Student symposium scholarship

REDDING, Calif. -- More than 30 undergraduate and graduate students presented talks and posters at Simpson University’s first academic symposium, held on campus April 9. The daylong event, attended by an estimated 75 people, was designed to showcase student achievement and give presenters a taste of the professional events their professors frequently attend.

“We wanted to celebrate scholarship and promote the good academic work our students do by providing a public forum for them to share that,” said history professor John Ayabe, who organized the symposium with professors Isaiah Lankham (math), Susan Monteleone (biology) and Michelle Engblom-Deglmann (psychology). Jill Kendrick, program coordinator for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program, also helped.

At the start of the school year, Dr. Ayabe broached the idea of a forum for history and other Humanities students to share their work -- much of it original research -- outside the classroom. Professors from other divisions expressed interest, and planning began for a spring symposium. In early March, students were invited to apply by submitting a short abstract of their work. Organizers were very pleased by the level of student interest, especially given the short timeframe, and look forward to expanding the event in 2012, Dr. Ayabe said.

The symposium was divided into six morning and two afternoon sessions (some of them overlapped), as well as a poster session. A professor facilitated each session, which included up to four student presentations (10 to 30 minutes each) and question-and-answer/discussion time for the audience. In the poster session, students stood by posters outlining their research projects and answered questions as viewers came by.

“We wanted to create the experience of what it’s like to be at a professional symposium,” Dr. Ayabe said. When possible, organizers sought to combine topics that had common threads. For example, one session included business major Daniel Clarke discussing why the U.S. does not need to be bailed out economically, history major Cassandra Heath talking about the relationship between the U.S. and former Soviet Union in the ‘80s, and history major Caleb Sanders talking about “Death Behind the Bamboo Curtain” in communist China.

Students from Tozer Seminary and the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program also presented.

Topics throughout the day included such titles as “Religious Shame: The Fruits of Toxic Faith,” “Christian Zionism, the Cross, and Violence,” and “A Performance and Discussion on Composing Original Music,” among many others.

Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential programs. Simpson's academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson's recent curriculum expansion includes degrees in biology, nursing, outdoor leadership, and a master's degree in counseling psychology. For more information about the university, or to arrange a personalized visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737