The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) and Arts Showcase at Loyola Marymount University is a chance for undergraduate students across LMU to present their research experiences to an audience of peers, mentors, faculty, and administrators. As the university moved online this spring semester, so did the URS and the Arts Showcase, requiring a significant pivot from students who had worked for months on their presentations.
The students selected to participate have been immersed in research on some of the most thought-provoking questions and challenging global issues. For the Arts Showcase portion of the URS, which happens in late-March, student works of graphic design and performances of dance, music, theatre arts, and spoken word represented the research/creative activity of our undergraduate students. Presentations happened online via Zoom, and were moderated by Garland Kirkpatrick, professor of studio arts and Macha Suzuki, clinical assistant professor of studio arts. All LMU undergraduates involved in research are encouraged to apply to the showcase, and students who attend are able to learn about the broad range of opportunities available at LMU.
“The process for inclusion in the URS and the showcase is rigorous,” said Andrea Odinov, clinical assistant professor of theatre arts and a faculty mentor. “In the fall semester, students are recruited and accepted students are assigned faculty mentors, and are then supported in the drafting of abstracts, development of critical theory, presentation design and execution. Presentations from theatre arts this year included performance role research and development; research for directing; costume and set design; and social justice papers and performance.“
Once campus closed due to coronavirus concerns, mentors and mentees continued holding online meetings to rethink and strategize how to present the work in the new format. The actual presentations took place on Zoom, and gave the students the opportunity to not only present their research, but to respond to audience questions, which is a critical part of the academic process. This year’s Zoom showcase was well attended by a variety of LMU community members, from students and faculty to staff and administrators.
“To be honest, I was skeptical of how it would translate to the online format,” said Suzuki, one of the showcase moderators. “The students did an amazing job adapting to this less-than-ideal situation we are in and really took ownership of the new platform. Their projects and their presentations were engaging, thought-provoking and, at times, challenging. I could sense all the hard work that went into them, and we I hope that this experience will assist our students in future creative endeavors.”
To view the 2020 LMU Arts Showcase visit the link and use the password: W0%05Jb*