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What to Expect from LASS 2018

Every year Oglethorpe University hosts the daylong Liberal Arts and Science Symposium, LASS, in which students can present their analytical, creative or research projects that they have been working throughout the year. The daylong event, taking place Wednesday, April  25, aims to bring students and faculty together to celebrate the original and exceptional work of students.


This year’s LASS will kick off with keynote speaker Dr. Katherine Keib, professor of communication studies, delivering a research talk entitled, “Fake News, Real Consequences: Understanding individual responsibility in a digital world”.  This event takes place at 9 a.m. in the Trustee room. The rest of the day is broken into four sessions and leaves a lunch hour in which students can meet with professors of their major. The full itinerary can be found on Oglethorpe’s website: https://oglethorpe.edu/symposium/.  


The highlight of the day will be the student presentations, which include projects such as honor thesis, work for an honors course, research on specific topics and exceptional internship experiences. In order for a student to present at LASS they must first submit a proposal that includes an abstract of their work. The student’s work then goes to a blind committee to be reviewed for approval.


“Presenting [research] is a great opportunity to talk about an interesting idea and practice laying out thoughts how I think people would best learn them,” said Robert Dougherty-Bliss, a mathematics student. His presentation “Go Straight to Jail” will be on his work on Markov chains,  “a probabilistic structure that develop random according to certain rules,” that helps analyze the probabilities in the popular game Monopoly. The presentation will take place during the first session from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in the A_Lab Exchange.


Dougherty-Bliss spent this past fall semester working on this project under the supervision of Dr. Nardo, professor of mathematics and associate provost. This is typical of projects presented at  LASS in which students take the lead to immerse themselves in a topic and a faculty member will serve them as a mentor.


“The value of this project was intellectual,” said Dougherty-Bliss, “I learned more about the analysis of random systems, though there is still more to learn.” This types of projects can be very valuable to a student’s growth in their area of studies and can also strengthen the student-faculty relationship.


In addition to student presentations the day includes the Poster of Research in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) display on the first floor of the TLCC. Faculty, staff and interested students can walk poster to poster and learn about intricate subjects from the students who worked on the project themselves.


For those who are not presenting, it is highly recommended by all faculty and staff  that they attend, learn and show support for fellow students. “Everyone knows how to play Monopoly. Everyone was forced to play it at least once,” said Dougherty-Bliss, “wouldn't you like to learn how math can exploit the game?”


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