Symposium highlights multiple disciplines

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Symposium highlights multiple disciplines

"Hidden Beauty" Alexis Maxfield

"Hidden Beauty" Alexis Maxfield

"Hidden Beauty" Alexis Maxfield

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Johnson State College’s second annual student symposium went off without a hitch, prefacing several full-length performances and presentations that will close out the semester for a few dozen seniors.

The symposium provides a unique opportunity for students to learn and practice professional etiquette that transcends the various disciplines they may be studying.

Students filled up about half of the seats in Dibden Auditorium for the performing arts session, which began the day’s events.

Following former-Blue Man-turned-professor Isaac Eddy’s introduction to “his house,” Spencer Perry got things started by conducting a choral group in the performance of Frank Tichell’s “Earth Song.”

Two JSC a cappella groups lightened the mood with solid performances of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Shut Up and Dance With Me,” performed by all-female group the Badger Pitches and mixed ensemble the Johnson State Badger Beats, respectively.

Senior Cody Logan then rocked the house with the opening scene from his senior recital titled “Let Me Entertain You,” a piece originally by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim. His performance included song, dance and even a tap number to round things out.

Logan’s recital will take place this Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day), in Dibden at 3 p.m.

Makaylah “Mak” Vaillancourt was joined by Troy McCabe to deliver a well-executed performance of a scene from Anton Chekov’s “The Seagull.”

“This scene really challenged me and pushed me to my limits,” Vaillancourt said to Basement Medicine before the performance. “I am quite proud of how it came out.”

Next was a powerfully delivered monologue from Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit,” performed by actress Anna Sargent. Sargent played Estelle in the production, directed by theater and drama major Chelsey Staples, who directed the show for her senior theater project. Staples could not be in attendance for the symposium.

Katelyn Shaw and her partner, Caleb Eugley, wrapped up the performing arts segment with a scene from “Antigone: Red Feed | Blue Feed.” While Shaw’s emotionally charged performance slightly overshadowed Eugley’s, the pair received ample applause for their segment.

The day then progressed to the first session of oral presentations held in Bentley Hall. The most attended of these were two presentations by the classes of Assistant Professor Dr. Leona Jochnowitz.

The first was an individual presentation by senior Tonya Kendall, who spoke about hyperpunitiveness in the juvenile justice system and how that leads to recidivism and lifelong criminal behaviors.

In her presentation, Kendall asserted that people of color are almost three times more likely to be affected by incarceration and that zero tolerance policies in schools lead to kids being locked up for minor “status charges” or property crimes that lead them down more violent criminal paths.

After graduation, Kendall hopes to give back to the community and advocate for keeping youth out of prisons.

“My goal is to take what I have learned from my research, especially in juvenile justice, psychology and the court system, and work in the community to help make a difference in the lives of juveniles,” Kendall said in an interview with Basement Medicine prior to her presentation.

Seniors Heather Perry and Ashley Fogg also gave an interesting presentation during the first session, recapping their work as student interns for the Clean Air Campus Initiative.

The pair said the college received a grant from the American Cancer Society to help transition to a tobacco-free campus, which will take effect in July 2018. Perry and Fogg worked throughout the year to create branding with badger-themed logos and distribute informational messages around campus, alerting students to the health-related, environmental and even financial facts surrounding tobacco use.

Other presentations in the first session included “Curbing the Opioid Problem with the Harm Reduction Model,” “Stories of Just Mercy,” “The Effects of Deep Inhalations and Increased Ventilation on Post-Exercise Bronchoconstriction in Asthmatic Adults,” “Saving Lakes One App and Website at a Time,” “Wind, Snow and Ice Impacts on Electric Utilities” and “Reactive Oxygen Species’ Production in the Holobiont of the Northern Star Coral (Astrangla Poculata).”

The highlight of the second presentation session was certainly the poetry readings, which took place in front of a packed house in the Ellsworth Room.

Rebecca Flieder began the session with a selection of four original poems that took a refreshing look at life as a freshman on Johnson’s campus. Other readers included Jody Kifner, Louis LoRe and Shane Wyman.

Also noteworthy in the second session was senior Sam McDowell’s presentation on prejudices related to postpartum weight-bias.

“I began working with Dr. [Leslie] Johnson in June of 2017,” McDowell said. “. . . Contributing to what is known about the consequences of postpartum weight-bias is important to the community, because it will hopefully raise awareness about an issue that impacts a large portion of the population. Roughly 86 percent of women will give birth in their lifetime.”

The discussion following the presentation was some of the more thoughtful during the day and was even attended by VSCS Chancellor Jeb Spaulding, who was also present for the poster session following the second presentation session.

Two vividly colorful paintings flanked the entrance to the poster area, one titled “Hidden Beauty” by Alexis Maxfield and the other titled “Colorful Bullfrog a.k.a. Chakra Garden” by Marlene Marcou.

There were 20 poster presentations, apart from the paintings, some of which included “Global Climate Change Awareness,” “Extreme Weather Due to Global Climate Change,” “Water Quality,” “Dirty Words: Sexual Diversity Beyond Cultural Norms,” “The Relationship Between Mental Health and Outdoor Physical Activity” and “A Population Viability Study of Zooplankton in Ritterbush Pond.”