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The 2019 Academic Showcase: A New Take on One of Siena’s Long-Standing Traditions

Written collaboratively by Kiera Mitru and Alexis Oldfield

The end of the semester is a time to commemorate many achievements at Siena – the graduation of the current seniors, the survival of finals, the beginning of the summer and the close to oftentimes busy school years. This year, on Friday, April 26, 2019, the Siena community will gather to celebrate the Academic Showcase, an event sponsored by Dr. Daniel Moriarty and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) in a way like never before.

Dr. Moriarty, as a professor in the chemistry department, has been able to participate in and witness the impressive research conducted by his students for years. As a Siena alumnus, he has developed an appreciation for the similarly impressive research being conducted by students throughout the various schools and departments on campus and felt that the rest of the campus was missing out on these accomplishments, especially those of students in the School of Liberal Arts. Although the Academic Showcase had been observed for years, Dr. Moriarty felt that there are only so many aspects of one’s tireless research that can be communicated by a posterboard in a gym. It was time to change.

“How do I make this happen?” Dr. Moriarty recalls asking himself. His goal from the beginning was to make the Academic Showcase a “fun event that is inclusive of all forms of academic research on campus.” In order to properly honor the work of students and faculty leading research efforts at Siena, Dr. Moriarty decided to amplify the importance of the annual Academic Showcase to the entirety of the campus community by honoring the event on a day without classes. Alumni, faculty, students and of course our local community members have been invited to campus to share in the academic festivities.

The new and improved Academic Showcase will expand beyond the walls of the MAC. In order to meet the needs of all of the fields of research being displayed, expansion across campus was necessary. Rosetti, Roger Bacon, Foy, Siena Hall, the Beaudoin Theatre, the Sarazen Student Union, and even the Standish Library will be home to events throughout the day. The event will last from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and will encompass presentations, discussions, performances, and of course, the classic posterboard display session in the MAC.

A few of the new events to be showcased include “Basics of Singing Coffee House,” facilitated by Dr. Timothy Reno, “Building Bridges: An International Dialogue,” facilitated by Br. Brian Belanger, and “Chemistry in the News: Climate Change,” facilitated by Dr. David Wos. This list only skims the surface of what is in store. There is an emphasis on First-Year Seminar presentations as well. Dr. Moriarty explained these presentations specifically aim to encourage first-year students to continue improving on their research with each year they are at Siena.

“As long as we have awesome work to be showcased, we will continue improving this event, and as long as we have Siena students, we will have awesome work being produced.” Dr. Moriarty plans to grow the Academic Showcase in the coming years, and even hopes to include more guest lecturers from the community to join in the celebration. As for this year’s monumental expansion, he feels confident that it will prove to be a positive addition to the Siena College experience. For a full list of the Academic Showcase’s itinerary, visit Siena’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) webpage. Each day is a chance to learn something new, and with the sense of renewal the spring season evokes in all of us, it is only appropriate to celebrate the innovation and achievement of our fellow Saints.