Annual Environmental Science Student Symposium To Feature Over 600 Presentations

Oct. 24, 2013
Please join us on November 12, 2013 for the second annual Environmental Science Student Symposium in the Ohio Union’s Archie Griffin Ballroom on the campus of The Ohio State University.  Students from ENR 2100 – Introduction to Environmental Science will present scientific research findings through a poster to their peers and the public.This year, the symposium will feature over 600 student presentations ranging across hundreds of topics in environmental science. 
According to Brian Lower, assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) who co-teaches the course with Steven Lower, associate professor in SENR and the department of Earth Sciences, the symposium is “designed to give young students the opportunity to be scientists and engineers, even if just for a few days.” Lower elaborated that the job of being a scientist is broad, as “scientists and engineers work in a variety of areas, and fulfill many responsibilities and undergraduate students often only witness the teaching part of a scientist or engineer’s job,” which Lower notes is “really just a very small part of being a scientist or engineer.” In missing the rest of the aspects of the job, students "miss the heart and soul of what it means to be a scientist,” Lower said.
The symposium marks the culmination of a semester of learning, application and hard work. Each student in the class chooses a topic to focus on within environmental science, researches the topic, and designs a poster summarizing the research to present to their peers at the symposium. In the research process, students learn how to navigate scientific search engines and discern whether resources are reliable. 
Once at the symposium, the students have an opportunity to experience what the peer-review process might be like in reviewing each other’s work, which is according to Lower “extremely important to the scientific process, publications, and grant funding and the system the students use for the project’s peer review closely mimics the real process for journals to accept work and for funding to be allocated.”
The symposium also allows students to practice presenting publicly in an “informal, open setting,” encouraging students to interact with each other without the pressure of presenting formally in front of the entire class.
ENR 2100 is the introductory class for all environment and natural rsources undergraduate majors, but it also is used as a general education course throughout the university. Lower said that this project allows non-science majors to “experience the scientific process first hand and become more informed citizens,” which is important because each student’s "future decisions will have profound impacts on the future of our Earth.”
Student presenters and reviewers at the inaugural 2012 Environmental Science Student Symposium.