Participants in the 2024 Student Research & Inquiry Symposium

Roosevelt University recently hosted the 6th Annual RU Student Research & Inquiry Symposium. The multi-day event featured student research presentations representing all four colleges from the University. This year, the symposium included the “Celebration of Academic Excellence at RU: Living Our Mission,” featuring a student panel discussion followed by a faculty awards ceremony. This event was organized by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion “to celebrate academic excellence at RU through the lens of the RU mission.”

The occasion began with opening remarks from interim provost and executive vice president of academic affairs Dr. Mike Maly and director of student research Dr. Laura Nussbaum-Barberena that celebrated the importance of student research and the importance of fostering a passion for curiosity. The DEI Student Research Panel was presented by DEI Office leadership members Dr. Michael Ford, Dr. Charmaine Connor and Dr. Heather Dalmage. Panel participants included students Aubry Wood, Samayra, Toribio, Cyrus Sandlin and Mason Peebles. Representing the Clinical Psychology, School Counseling, Political Science and Business programs, respectively, each student gave insight into their experiences at Roosevelt, and how the University’s foundation of social justice impacted their success. One common sentiment shared was Roosevelt’s commitment to equitable access to education for all. The student panelists come from diverse backgrounds, but each found a home at the University and were proud to attend an institution that didn’t just talk the talk but walked the walk. While each student is on a different step of their academic journey, each was able to explore their chosen field of study in a supportive environment that encouraged them to use their individual life experiences to inform their academic goals. The discussion was charged with excitement, as the panelists shared their burgeoning understanding of DEI and how it impacts their work. An education foregrounded on social justice also helped the students to illuminate the ways Roosevelt can improve and continue to become more inclusive for all its community members. The resounding outlook was that of students grateful for the academic support they’d received and an eagerness to take all they’d learned into the next chapters of their lives.   

To acknowledge the Roosevelt community members whose work helps to ensure student success, the event also debuted the first Faculty and Staff Awards Presentation. These Roosevelt faculty and staff members were nominated by their peers as well as their students, and represented professors, academic counselors and other integral community members. Biology professor Dr. Jessica Allen won the Innovative Course Design Award for her Microbiology Laboratory course. Professor Mary Williams was awarded the inaugural Assessment of Student Learning Award in recognition for her excellence in assessment of the Math general education curriculum.  Creative Writing program director and professor Jessica Anne Chiang won the Mentor Award, while Honors Program Director Sarah Maria Rutter received an honorable mention. There were multiple recipients of this year’s Research Award. Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Peter Hart  won for his 2022 publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on cell-cell signaling in the tumor microenvironment. Together, La Vonne Downey, Laura Nussbaum-Barberena, and Dr. Susan Torres-Harding also received the Research Award for their collaborative research project, “Naloxone Landscape for Cook County: Ensuring Access to Life Saving Drugs.”  Head of Instruction and Learning in the Roosevelt University library, Dr. Barbara Anderson, was awarded the University Service Award, in recognition of her successful development of Open Educational Resources in collaboration with faculty. Finally, Associate Registrar Luis Barahona won the University Service Award for creating valuable processes to support students in registration, including this year, our large international student population. Each award was presented with an introduction of their triumphs and was accompanied by accolades from the people who nominated them. 

The event was an excellent and joyous occasion for Roosevelt students, faculty and staff, and a welcomed addition to the RU Student Research & Inquiry Symposium. 

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