The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Fourth annual GUS captivates campus

(Douglas Reyes-Ceron)

Hege Library was unusually noisy on Feb. 25 with the steady ebb and flow of professors, students and community members partaking in the spread of presentations and performances. The fourth annual Guilford Undergraduate Symposium was underway.

Begun in 2008, the Guilford Undergraduate Symposium (GUS) is a venue where students from across disciplines and majors can present projects and theses about anything and everything to the Guilford community.

According to Professor of Chemistry and member of the 2011 GUS Organizing Committee Rob Whitnell, the idea was born after he and Associate Professor of Biology Melanie Lee-Brown attended the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium.

“Melanie and I co-founded GUS after a conversation we had while attending SNCURCS in 2007,” said Whitnell. “After that, we ran it the first year ourselves.”

This year, panel discussions and oral presentations were held in King Hall on a range of subjects, including artistic vocabulary, texting while driving and the anti-bullying policies in North Carolina schools. Posters were also displayed in the Carnegie Room, advertising projects from chemistry, biology and religious studies majors alike.

Senior and biology major Ellee Stapleton presented her findings on exotic invasive plant species, focused on edge influence and distribution, using the Guilford College woods as her research platform.

“It’s really easy to get absorbed in the research element of a thesis,” said Stapleton. “It was wonderful to get beyond the initial research phase and present my findings to the Guilford community, not to mention GUS was the perfect environment to practice my presentation for future conferences.”

Alongside posters of scientific theses was also a selection of student artwork. Junior Leah Netsky had a series of photographs entitled “ghostbabies,” which were eerie photographs of her childhood toys.

Netsky described in her abstract how she admired her porcelain dolls as a child, but upon recently finding them at her parent’s house, she was struck by their fragile and unearthly appearance.

“My dolls were no longer beautiful, flawless idols,” said Netsky. “They were disheveled, ghostly figures of the past. These photographs are my attempt to … explore the disturbed, haunted quality of abandoned childhood toys.”

Later in the afternoon, musical performances were also given. Among other students, junior Michael Luciano, junior Laura Boswell and senior Andrew Bracken performed guitar solos in the Art Gallery.

Boswell performed two waltzes and a tarantella.

“I really enjoyed playing (the music pieces),” said Boswell. “They pushed me to learn new techniques and become a better musician.”

Following the guitar performances, Part-time Lecturer in Music James Bumgardner conducted the Guilford College Chamber Singers in “Water Night” by Eric Whitacre.

“We all enjoyed sharing our art with the community,” said Bumgardner. “Music is vital to human culture … and the dramatic power outage in the middle of our piece really gave us a sense of the ‘now’ — something we’re always striving for in art performance.” 

When GUS first started in 2008, 60 students presented 50 different presentations. According to Rob Whitnell, this year tallied a total of 84 presentations and 124 student presenters.

“(This year’s GUS) left the planning committee in awe,” said Lee-Brown. “The electricity, buzz and excitement around campus in the days just prior to and on the day of the symposium was both touching and inspiring.”

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