Mercer to Hold First BEAR Day Research Event on Thursday;
More than 200 Students Scheduled to Present

April 13, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or vanderhoek_m@mercer.edu

MACON — Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts will hold its inaugural 2011 Breakthroughs in Engagement, Arts, and Research Day – or BEAR Day – on Thursday. The College has cancelled all classes to facilitate this daylong celebration, giving undergraduate students from the Macon campus the opportunity to present their scholarly and creative works in a wide range of venues to faculty, staff, administrators and fellow students. The event will be highlighted by Dr. Gabrielle Foreman’s keynote address at 10 a.m. in Willingham Auditorium.  Dr. Foreman is the Ned B. Allen Professor of English at the University of Delaware and is internationally known for her work in 19th century literature, American studies and African-American studies. The lecture is free and open to the public.

BEAR Day combines and expands on two research events held last spring, the Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Undergraduate Research Conference. The combined event will include a poster session, oral presentation sessions and venues for digital storytelling, performance and display. Projects will include undergraduate research and creative writing, as well as student reflections on service learning, internships, study abroad and Mercer On Mission. In all, the event will include 104 oral presentations, with 124 student presenters, and 43 posters, with 93 student presenters.

“We’ve built momentum in undergraduate research and we’re merging the two events into one cohesive day highlighting all the outstanding undergraduate work being done in the College,” said Dr. Kevin Bucholtz, assistant professor of chemistry, founder of the Undergraduate Research Symposium and a BEAR Day organizer. “In doing this, we’re showing the culmination of five years of work to promote undergraduate research and development of that culture across campus.”

Dr. Lake Lambert, dean of the College, said he hopes the event will serve to showcase the research and creative work of upperclassmen, while also building the next generation of student researchers from younger students who observe the presentations.

“We’re hoping this continues to build on itself, and we get the entire student body excited about undergraduate research and creative work and participating in that culture, which is now a distinctive feature of a Mercer education,” Dr. Lambert said.

Dr. Foreman will speak in Willingham Auditorium at 10 a.m. She is the author of more than a dozen essays and three books and editions, including Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century and the Penguin Classic’s reissue of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black. She is currently at work on a project titled “Disruptive Narratives: Harriet Wilson and the Politics of Place, Race and Religion.”

The winners of the competitions will be recognized on Friday at a luncheon following Mercer’s Board of Trustees meeting.

BEAR Day Schedule

9 a.m.-10 a.m.         Oral Presentation Session 1, Knight Hall
10-11 a.m.               Keynote Address, Willingham Auditorium
                              Dr. Gabrielle Foreman, Ned B. Allen Professor of English at the University of Delaware
11 a.m.-12 p.m.       Oral Presentation Session 2, Knight Hall
11 a.m.-12 p.m.       Art Show Reception, Hardman Hall Gallery
12 -1 p.m.               Family Meet and Greet, Godsey Administration Building
1-2 p.m.                  Oral Presentations Session 3, Knight Hall
1:30-3:30 p.m.         Poster Presentations, University Center
2 - 3 p.m.                Oral Presentations Session 4, Knight Hall
3 - 4 p.m.                Oral Presentations Session 5, Knight Hall

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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