At MindExpo last week, students presented their research on a variety of subjects and interests.
From the growth in the population of Asian groups in Nebraska, to the usage of mosquito screens in Zambia to the ethics of immigration, students were free to give their presentations on topics that spark their passion and interest.
Many of the fields are science or mathematics based. Art and graphic design, theatre, and philosophy, among other fields, also made appearances.
Junior Jack Wagner was the only student presenting with a background in theatre. He said he felt slightly out of place but still enjoyed participating in MindExpo.
“The being out of place actually made the experience even more fun,” Wagner said. “It was great being the only theatre exhibit at the expo because it caused people who might not normally engage with my kind of creative content to really stop and look at my work, even if it was just for a moment.”
Wagner presented his scenic design Doane's production “Ubu the King," and how his set design worked with the themes of the play.
Wagner said, although it was isolating, more theatre students should consider participating in MindExpo.
“I think more theatre students should because it’s great practice presenting our work,” Wagner said. “We regularly present and compete with our works at festivals like KCACTF and USITT, so answering challenging questions and holding comprehensive discussions about our own works are definitely skills we need to sharpen as artists, and the MindExpo is a great place to practice that.”
Senior Maddy Ten Kley’s project on mosquito screens took her out of American borders.
“I went to Africa to see whether or not a business could be created making and selling mosquito screens,” Ten Kley said. “I had been to Africa previously in between my junior and senior of high school.”
Ten Kley said her work with her professor Brad Elder was crucial to getting to work on this project.
“Brad Elder has been working with the Power of Love foundation which is an organization in Zambia that works with women who have been affected by HIV/AIDs,” Ten Kley said. “Brad created these screens that are made out of plastic bags, he saw that people were interested in these screens as a way to protect them from mosquitoes and malaria. He wanted to know why, if the interest was there and the knowledge on how to make these screens were there.”
Ten Kley said this was when her research became the story.
“I went to see if the surrounding community was interested in these screens and whether or not a business could be created making and selling these screens,” Ten Kley said. “I created a survey with the help of Danelle DeBoer in the Sociology department. Then, I traveled to Lusaka, Zambia and with the help of two volunteer translators, went out and conducted the surveys. The two translators read the questions to the respondents and then recorded the respondent's answers.”
Ten Kley said her research found that many survey respondents would be willing to quit their current work to create and sell these screens.
Other projects focused on issues around Nebraska. Senior Jackie Lewis’s biology presentation focused on corn growth.
“I presented a poster in my senior Biology research which was looking at how different manures, based on what the cattle were fed, affected the growth of corn plants,” Lewis said.
Lewis said she felt her presentation went very well, and those in attendance were interested in her work.
“Many of the people that stopped at my poster seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying,” Lewis said. “I had been working on this research since the beginning of the first semester and put a lot of work into the research itself, but also into the poster and into the preparation of presenting my poster, so having people interested and asking questions about what I did was exciting for me.”
Lewis said as she prepares to enter the workforce, MindExpo will be a helpful event to have participated in.
“I plan on continuing with some sort of research-based occupation, so learning how to effectively communicate science to the general public and phrasing it in ways that make it understandable and interesting for everyone is important,” said Lewis.