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Volume 72, Issue 28, Thursday, September 28, 2006

News

Student research gets the spotlight

Organizers hope to involve more professors, bolster UH's image as a research institution

by Louie Vera
The Daily Cougar

The Latin American Cultural Activities and Studies Arena Student Editorial Group and the Spanish Graduate Student Organization will host the second annual Graduate Student Conference at noon Friday at the Roy Cullen Building.

"Basically, the purpose is that we are sharing ideas, and lots of people are presenting pieces or works they have done in the past through classes or seminars," Ana Marie Medina, president of the SGSO, said. "So it's an intellectual exchange and we are having professors from the University and other people from other universities come and mediate the panels and give them their feedback. And the people that are going to come can give their feedback."

All presenters are UH graduate students who will present their own research on subjects, including peninsular studies, Latin American film, cultural studies, and linguistics.

One of the moderators for the conference will be renowned Costa Rican author Rima De Vallbona, who wrote Flowering Inferno: Tales of Sinking Hearts, La Narrativa de Yolanda Oreamuno and Noche en Vela.

Everyone at the symposium will present something noteworthy, Medina said.

"I think every panel is a highlight because these are all graduate students, and for one, they are all my friends and colleagues, and I respect all of their work," Medina said. "Most of them are doctorate students; if not, they are doing their masters. They are going to be the future educators of universities within the United States or outside the U.S., because a lot of them are foreign."

Craig Dennison, LACASA president, helped put together the conference and said it is an opportunity to parcel out ideas that students have worked on.

"We have some pretty good talent in this department and people are doing some pretty interesting stuff," Dennison said. "The idea is that we want to share it with each other, but obviously we want input and feedback from other people. 

"We want to get our professors involved and then we want to open it up to the University at large so that they can see what we're doing. We all want to see from each other and we want the University to see."

Dennison said he wants the conference to expand to other universities and even internationally, which could also help UH's image as a research institution.

"We hope to make it a little bit bigger next year and include other universities. The idea what we want is to get the name of UH out there more," Dennison said. "So if this is successful then next we can have one that includes other universities. That way, it'll bring more prestige to UH. 

"And if (we) can make it international in a couple years, it'll make a name of for University of Houston and the department."

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