Scholars Symposium 2023

2023 Schedule of Events

All Allegheny Community members are invited to join as we gather to celebrate student research, scholarship, and creative activities on campus. The Cook-Lahti Scholars Symposium will take place on Tuesday May 2nd; however, there are a number of Affiliated Scholars Symposium events that are taking place in the days leading up to the main event. Please view the schedule of events below and keep in mind that this website will be updated as we add, revise, and finalize details… so please be sure to check back frequently.

For more information, please contact Dr. Matthew Venesky (, Director of URSCA.

Monday April 24th-Tuesday April 25th

Biology Department Senior Project Symposium. 1:00PM-4:30PM, various rooms in Steffee Hall of Life Sciences

The Department of Biology is pleased to host its 25th Annual Senior Project Symposium to celebrate the biological research accomplishments of the Class of 2023. All members of the college community are invited and welcome to attend. Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen who are majoring or intending to major in Biology are especially encouraged to attend and participate. Follow this link for the full schedule of Biology Senior Presentations.

Monday May 1st

Reception for Graduating Students Accepted into Graduate and Professional School Programs (RSVP Required). 5:00PM-6:00PM, Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center

We invite graduating students who have been accepted into Graduate and Professional Schools to join Allegheny College Administration in a celebratory reception recognizing their achievements and celebrating next steps in their educational journey. If you are a graduating student, please contact Dean Jonathon May ( to RSVP.

Tuesday May 2nd

Mentor Breakfast (RSVP Required). 10:00AM-11:00AM, Campus Center Lobby

Are you a first or second year student interested in opportunities to engage in research, internships, civic engagement, or other Allegheny opportunities like these? Would you like to talk with students, faculty, or staff who have participated in such opportunities in the past? If so, please complete this Google Form to RSVP for the Scholars Symposium Mentor Breakfast. The Mentor Breakfast is a casual, catered breakfast where first year and second year students can mingle and talk with graduating seniors, professors, and representatives from the Maytum Center for Student Success about how to get involved in these opportunities at Allegheny.

Student Spotlight Session. 11:00AM-12:30PM, Campus Center

During this session, students from across all years and disciplines will present research projects and creative activities that they have completed during the 2022-2023 academic year. Recognizing that the outcome of scholarship doesn’t always fit nicely on an academic poster, we’ll have student projects being presented concurrently in various locations in the Campus Center — be sure to check out all of the different venues during this session!

Opening Performance. Be sure to get to the Campus Center lobby right at 11:00 so that you can listen to an Allegheny College student vocal ensemble as they kick off the Student Spotlight Session with a vocal performance!

“The Tipsy Waltz and Wedding Duet” from La Pericholé
Music by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)

La Pericholé – Laura Haney, soprano
Piquillo – Matthew Dugan, tenor
Don Andrès – Ryan Sesler, bass
Company – Olivia Alexander, Jacob Beaudoin, Madison Boring, Graham Carr, Tony Ennis, Evelyn Griffith, Grant Haggard, Rae Robison

“The Battle of Jericho”
Music arranged by Moses Hogan (1957-2003)

Allegheny College Choir
Evelyn Griffith, soprano

Session 1. We invite you to join and casually browse through the Campus Center lobby to view posters poster by, and converse with, Allegheny students across all academic years and disciplines about the work that they did during the past academic year. We’ll have posters from students who did summer research, internships, independent studies, and capstone projects from our Bonner Program.

Session 2. Swing by CC301 & 302 to chat with students that are part of the Global Citizen Scholars Cohort V. For the past three semesters, this cohort has been working on an oral history project focused on less commonly heard voices during the COVID pandemic and explores how pre-existing inquiries in society were exacerbated or made more visible during the pandemic. Students that are part of this project will be sharing a website that they have been working to create that contains with all of the interviews that they conducted.

Keynote Session. 1:00PM-2:00PM, Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center

Please join us during this session to hear from this year’s Keynote Speaker (Dr. Lauren French) as well as 3 graduating seniors. These students were nominated by their respective department or program and selected by the Director of URSCA to share brief oral presentations about their Senior Comp work.

Keynote address by Dr. Lauren French, Associate Professor of Biology, on “Building Confidence and Breaking Down Barriers with Collaborative Research”

Student: Erin Magnus
Major/Minor: Philosophy Major; History Minor
Title of Talk: Cybernetic Self-Curation
Abstract: My project explores the possibilities for self construction and presentation in the twenty-first century. Through an examination of identity construction spanning from the beginning of the modern period in the sixteenth century to the present day, I argue for a new understanding of self-presentation that is rooted in the material conditions of the digital era. These conditions are shaped by the internet as a public, cooperative worldwide network, as well as influenced by late-stage American capitalism. Online activity facilitates the creation of virtual selves, social media in particular providing a framework for people to curate their own identities and present themselves to others. I propose curation as a way to conceive of selfhood. This account of selfhood holds the potential to imagine new forms of embodied existence that go beyond the problems of a modern, unitary self. Additionally, in conceiving of themselves as curated selves, people become engaged in a liberatory project where humans are not at odds with digital technology, but rather learn to exist with it. This project contributes to ongoing conversations in philosophy by exploring ways persons may conceive of themselves, providing a framework for understanding selfhood in the context of digitized capitalism.

Student: Lilly Noel
Major/Minor: Global Health Studies Major; Music Performance Minor
Title of Talk: The Relationship Between Maternal Education and Child Health Outcomes Relating to Diarrheal Disease in Ghana
Abstract: Maternal health and education affect child health outcomes relating to diarrheal disease in Ghana. Risk factors such as the mother’s education level, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and access to care impact diarrheal disease prevalence and child health outcomes. Standard Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) from 2003 and 2014 showed an increase in family planning methods usage in rural populations and a decrease in urban areas. Additionally, the surveys showed an increase in family planning as educational attainment increased. Higher educational attainment was also associated with decreased child diarrhea prevalence. Between 2003 and 2014, there was an increase in individuals seeking treatment in government hospitals, health centers, and drug stores. The highest prevalence of child diarrhea was found to be in breastfeeding children. The trends concluded that maternal education had a significant impact on diarrheal prevalence whereas family planning usage did not show as significant an impact.

Student: Raina Semenick
Major/Minor: Chemistry Major, Studio Art Minor
Title of Talk: Development of a Self-replicating Molecular Scaffold Utilizing Dynamic-Covalent Chemistry and Chalcogen Bonding
Abstract: Exploring self-replicating molecular systems which are not DNA-based are important to the pursuit of exobiotic life. This can be achieved by covalently attaching two complementary compounds to form a larger, self-complementary template molecule. We designed and synthesized a new molecular scaffold that utilizes sulfur interactions as part of its replication mechanism. The key scaffold-forming step acts through dynamic equilibrium. The synthesis of the dynamic template molecule and the subsequent kinetic studies to confirm self-replication are presented.

Senior Project Poster Session. 2:15PM-3:45PM, Main Floor of the Pelletier Library

For the past 17 years, Allegheny College has held a Senior Project Poster Symposium to highlight work from nominated students across all departments and programs. At this session, you can learn about research and scholarly activities from graduating seniors in the humanities, natural and social sciences, interdisciplinary pursuits, as well as seniors that have participated in internships, civic engagement projects, and international experiences. More information about this event will be provided in April. Light refreshments will be provided.

Honors Convocation. 4:00PM-5:00PM, Ford Chapel

At this special ceremony, student prizes are announced and awarded by representatives of all the departments and programs at Allegheny College. In addition, the valedictorian of the 2023 graduating class will speak.

Final Poster Viewing. 5:00PM-6:00PM, Main Floor of the Pelletier Library

We invite you back to the Main floor of the Pelletier Library after the Honors Convocation for one last chance to mingle, look at posters, chat with colleagues, and to celebrate student success and scholarship during the 2022-2023 academic year. Light refreshments will be provided.

Senior Project Film Screening. 7:00PM-8:30PM, Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center

Please join us in the Gladys Mullinix Black Theatre for a screening of senior project films conceived and produced by students across several academic programs:

Garrett Baker:  A Walk in the Park (Experimental Documentary)
Barry Crentsil: Untitled (Experimental Narrative)
Owen Isham: How does it Sound? How Does it Feel? (Documentary)
Christina Kljunich: Roma Tomatoes (Experimental Narrative)
Jessie Nunoo: Between My Hair and Me (Narrative)
Russell Rohan: A Long Road to Home (Documentary)
Samantha Russell: Appreciating French Creek (Documentary)
Dawson Thomas: Music Box (Narrative)