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Pepperdine Celebrates Seaver College Students' Academic Excellence at Annual Research and Scholarly Achievement Symposium

Two students playing violin at the symposiumOn Friday, March 25, 2022, the Pepperdine community came together on the Malibu campus for the annual Seaver College Research and Scholarly Achievement Symposium, an afternoon celebrating the scholarly and creative works of Seaver College students hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost. The event featured the works and presentations of more than 130 students across all eight of Seaver College’s academic divisions.

The afternoon opened with an introduction from Lee Kats, vice provost, and opening remarks from Michael Feltner, dean of Seaver College. Feltner shared his experiences as a researcher, highlighting the joys and challenges that can be found in scholarship.

“I know all of you in the room have engaged in scholarship, and that requires perseverance and sacrifice, and all the information can be tedious and exact and incredibly frustrating,” Feltner shared. “Today is a day of joy and celebration, a day of fun. My hope is you reflect on the fun you had in the midst of the work that culminated in your presentations here today.”

Following Kats and Feltner’s opening remarks, attendees had the opportunity to view student researchers’ posters and hear from students about their scholarly projects. The poster presentation featured more than 65 students, highlighting such topics as the effects of social media content on body image and the influence of post-exercise exposure to high altitude on calorie intake and expenditure. 

During this time, attendees also had the chance to view the student art exhibition. The exhibition featured mixed media paintings and sculptures from 29 students.

Student looking at artworkAfter the poster presentations, attendees dispersed to the oral and performing arts presentations. The three oral presentation sessions––moderated by assistant professor of biology Leah Stiemsma, professor of political science Brian Newman, and associate professor of communication and religion Christina Littlefield––covered topics such as “Examining the Role of Folic Acid Relative to Anxiety and Cognition in Mice” by nutritional science senior Courtney James, “Under what Conditions do Multi-Ethnic States Avoid Ethnic Conflict?” by political science senior William Bacon, and “Deliberation and Divine Foreknowledge” by philosophy senior Julianne Carter.

In the performing arts session, moderated by professor of music Ryan Board, 27 students performed a wide variety of musical genres, including classical guitar, arias, art song, musical theater, instrumental solo pieces, and instrumental chamber music.

"These students spend considerable time developing their technique and mastering the art of expression, and each performance is informed by significant research on the composer and the composition," shared Board.

All Pepperdine University faculty, staff, administrators, and students are invited to participate in the annual symposium. This year’s event was the first in-person symposium since COVID-19 necessitated the cancellation of the 2020 symposium and the virtual format of the 2021 symposium.

“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into scholarly and creative activities in the academy,” Kats said. “Today is just one day where we try to celebrate it at Seaver College.”

To learn more and browse the contents of the event, visit the Seaver College Research and Scholarly Achievement Symposium page.