Campus News

Human Connection as Activism

April 24, 2013

Liv Combe

poster with information about the Senior Symposium

All members of the campus and community are invited to take part in Oberlin’s annual celebration of the academic and artistic accomplishments of members of the graduating class. The 2013 Senior Symposium is set for Friday, April 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Science Center.

Oberlin OnCampus is offering a series of sneak peeks of the presentations that will be made during the symposium. Today’s pick:

Human Connection as Activism: Analysis of a Student Movement for Global Health

An anthropology major and a native of Minnesota, Julie Christensen has spent the past two years involved with an world health organization called GlobeMed, founding an Oberlin chapter that works in partnership with an organization in Vietnam. As a participant and an observer, Christensen has “learned about the complex idea that is global health and the part that students in the United States play in confronting global inequities.” Her project focuses on this grassroots student activism, presenting narratives of the young people involved and the social dynamics within the network. Christensen plans on attending medical school within the next few years. She wants to focus on the health of those with HIV and the queer community and become a primary care physician for the urban underserved.

Christensen will make her presentation during the symposium’s second session (2:45 to 3:45 p.m.) “Written on the Body: Inscriptions of Gender, Racialization, and Student Activism” moderated by Greggor Mattson, assistant professor of sociology. Download the full 2013 Senior Symposium Schedule.

Doing What Academics and Artists Do

This year, 50 students will present their independent and collaborative work to the Oberlin community. Topics range from the reproductive rights movement at Oberlin in the 1960s to groundwater storage in China and Tibet; the effect of heavy metal ions in Huntington’s Disease to themes of obsessions and incest in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Participating student majors and concentrations run the gamut from archaeology and geology to ethnomusicology and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies.

Opening remarks by Associate Dean of the College Arts and Sciences Joyce Babyak will take place at 1 p.m., with panels beginning at 1:30, 2:45, and 4 p.m. The symposium is divided into three section, each section consisting of five to six panels. The panels feature three students offering 12-minute presentations, with 15 minutes reserved at the end of each panel for questions. The reception for the event will begin at 5 p.m. in the academic commons of the Science Center.

Babyak sees the senior symposium as an opportunity for graduating students to share their work with their peers, the faculty, and staff who have supported their educations aspirations, and the broader Oberlin community.

“It is a culminating experience in which students do just what academics and artists do:  present their work, whether in the form of a research presentation or a creative performance or show, and engage in open conversation about that work,” says Babyak.

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