The 13th WNMU Academic Symposium will take place in conjunction with the Career Fair at Western New Mexico University on Nov. 30, 2017. The events last from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be on the third floor of the Student Memorial Building. Keynote speaker ASNMU President Tim Stillman will present at 9:10 a.m.
“Many students don’t have opportunity to travel off campus, so we’re bringing a symposium to them,” said organizer Dr. Bill Norris, a biology professor who helped found this event and still heads the unofficial steering committee. “This way, they get to practice at communicating what they’re doing in class, a skill that is key in the real world. They will eventually be communicating professionally with stakeholders, clients, and even employers, so need to be able to summarize what they’ve done.”
The symposium, which gives WNMU students opportunity to present their work, has existed as a grassroots event for 13 years. It is organized by a committee of volunteer faculty and staff members, who chip in their expertise and fractions of their departmental budgets to make these end-of-semester symposiums possible. Twice a month, they meet over pie in the cafeteria.
“We have no budget, just a bunch of dedicated people,” Norris said.
The event has always been held on the same day as the career fair and is only half a day long. “They really pack a lot into those four hours,” Norris said.
Seventy students presented during last fall’s symposium, while up to 150 students present during the spring symposiums.
“We have presentations from all around campus,” Norris said.
Most of the presenters are seniors preparing to graduate and begin their professional careers, while some aren’t as far along in their degree programs but want the practice. For example, students in Associate Professor of Communications Dr. Benjamin Cline’s public speaking class are required to present.
“These students are generally presenting on some aspect of their degrees and are enthusiastic about their research,” Associate Professor of History and steering committee member Dr. Scott Fritz said.
Of the regular participants, some departments stand out. “The occupational therapy program students consistently put together outstanding projects,” Norris said.
The setting is professional but still low-pressure. “Students can expect to present in a respectful setting,” Norris said.
Attending the presentations is a chance for campus and community members to come out of their bubbles and share their work with one another, according to committee member Michael Acosta. “The interaction between departments, faculty and students, is important,” he said.
For more information about the WNMU Academic Symposium, contact Dr. Bill Norris at 575-538-6625.
For more information about the Career Fair, contact the Center for Student Success in the Juan Chacon Building or call 575-538-6400.