By Kevin Fleming, Professor of Psychology
The Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences was organized in October 1965. The purpose of the Academy is to foster wider and more intensive participation in the arts, humanities, and sciences within the State of Vermont, to make these fields more accessible to the people of the State, and to promote excellence of instruction in these areas.
The annual spring Intercollegiate Student Symposium provides an opportunity for students at the various colleges and universities of the State, as well as student members of the Junior Academy of Science, to present the results of their original research before an audience of their peers and members of the Academy. 2017 is the 51st year of the annual symposium and the second time that Marlboro College has served as the host institution.
Nineteen students from Norwich University participated in the VAAS Symposium on April 22. There were sixteen Psychology majors, two Political Science majors, and one Criminal Justice major. Each presenter was given 15 minutes for an oral presentation of their work and about 10 minutes for questions, answers, and discussion. All of the discussions were lively, and audience members gave excellent feedback and infused the discussion with new ideas for future research. Every student, whether a presenter or an audience member, was able to contribute and learn.
One of the best outcomes of this Symposium is that students are empowered to share ideas with their peers from other colleges. This quite rare opportunity (which should not be as rare as it is) can lead to new bonds formed between students and renewed inspiration for future scholarship. My best analogy for these gatherings among students is the old “Charlie Brown” comics where the kids do all the talking and activities, while the adults are neither seen nor heard. This is a place where students, coming together, re-create the atmosphere of a collegiate learning experience for themselves and give each other the support and encouragement and even challenges that are an integral part of learning and professional scholarship.