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William O. Douglas Honors College

CWU's Observer showcases SOURCE

Victoria Shamrell, Staff Reporter (Observer)

May 13, 2015

The Symposium Of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE)—a university-wide forum that showcases the research and work of students and faculty from various departments across Central—is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

On May 21, 34 different departments are participating in over 350 presentations at SOURCE. In addition, SURC 137A will be live streamed online to allow people from around the state to see what’s going on.

A key experience of students presenting at SOURCE is the chance to work and grow under a mentor.

Finding a mentor

Meghan Gilbert, junior psychology major, is a student presenter who is working under a mentor for her SOURCE presentation. According to Gilbert, to find a mentor for SOURCE a student usually has to take the initiative and actively seek one out.

“It’s more of a student seeking out opportunities in their departments. You have to seek that out yourself; it’s not given or provided for you,” Gilbert said.

Dr. Jesse James is a lecturer in the psychology department and Gilbert’s mentor. James said that he always encourages students in his research methods class to join a professor’s lab and participate in research.

“I strongly recommend you be proactive and go approach someone that is researching in an area that is similar to your own interests, but I rarely have students take the initiative from that invitation to actually go and approach another professor,” James said. “We can just keep encouraging and keep hoping that students will take advantage of that opportunity.”

An amazing opportunity

Jamie Gilbert is the SOURCE coordinator this year. The one-on-one time students can spend with their mentor is priceless, Jamie Gilbert said. Though mentors are there to help students, they wait for students to ask for their help before they give it.

“One of the best things about Central is our smaller classrooms and being able to get know your professors more and learn from them,” Gilbert said. “I believe Central is all about mentorship.”

Meghan Gilbert said that having a mentor has allowed her to be a part of the whole process of putting together an individual project for SOURCE and expanded her knowledge.

“I’ve also had like different relationships; when it’s been more like I’ve had mentors who will sit there and talk at me and ask me to do really small things, but I don’t feel like I learned anything from the process,” Meghan Gilbert said. “Dr. James has allowed me to be very hands-on with it, and he’s there if I have questions or if I need to learn more. But he’s really allowed me to put together the project as a whole, and I’ve really enjoyed that, and I felt like it’s really helped me grow as a student.”

Mentoring Students

According to James, it is a wonderful process, and he loves mentoring students. There are dull and exciting moments just like everything else; when moments are really mundane, all they can do is just trudge through because the end result is coming and that’s what makes it all worth it.

“My favorite part of mentoring students is knowing that my students are gaining new knowledge and skills that they learned in abstract ways in the classroom that they are using for the first time in a real applied kind of way,” James said. “When they start to produce something, some project, some end product, a poster, research project or new knowledge that has never been found in the history of the world, I think that’s really exciting.”

Jamie Gilbert said that all students who present at SOURCE have the opportunity to work one-on-one with their mentors.

“A lot of universities are so large that students don’t have the opportunity to work one-on-one with their professors, SOURCE and Central gives students that opportunity,” Jamie Gilbert said. ”It’s great for the professors too, because they get the chance to showcase the help on their research but to also be able help in that growth in their students.”

http://cwuobserver.com/5599/scene/source-celebrates-20th-anniversary-at-central/

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