Second Annual CREATE Conference
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — The Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University was transformed into a lively display of scholarly and artistic activity on April 15 for the second annual CREATE conference. CREATE stands for Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern, and is the University’s premier conference showcasing student research and creative activity.
The one-day conference featured more than 250 students who presented professional posters, live music, dance performances, artwork, photography, documentaries and panel discussions. “CREATE encapsulates the essence of the liberal arts in one afternoon,” said Professor Dickson Cunningham, conference co-chair, during the opening ceremony. “We have an intellectual smorgasbord; enjoy the feast.”
Eastern President Elsa Núñez praised the faculty for making the conference a reality, and for mentoring students. “When I became president 11 years ago, I really wanted Eastern to become a premier university. A president can have a vision, but there needs to be good people to implement that vision. I thank the faculty for CREATE.”
Two members of the faculty were recognized at the opening ceremony with faculty mentor awards. “Mentorship is such an integral part of undergraduate research.” said Núñez. Economics Professor Jennifer Brown was nominated by student Ian Peters ’16, who mentioned the amount of time Brown has invested in him and his project. He mentioned how if not for her, he would not be preparing for a Ph.D. program at the University of Delaware.
Psychology Professor James Diller was the second awardee. Student Brett Gelino ’16 nominated Diller and said that because of him, he decided to not drop out after freshman year, and has been accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Kansas. “The relationship between the faculty and student defines what we are,” said Núñez.
For the following six hours, the Student Center crawled with activity. Students in professional attire addressed their peers, faculty and family. In the café, ensembles performed; in the theatre, student-produced documentaries were shown; in the Betty R. Tipton Room, aisles of posters depicting scientific research were displayed; across the hall, a gallery-worth of paintings lined the walls; and on the ground floor, panel discussions and oral presentations about the humanities took place.
In celebration of students’ exemplary research, experiential learning and creative activity, CREATE serves to reinforce high-impact practices such as mentored research; increases the number of students presenting their work in a professional forum; raises public awareness of Eastern’s liberal arts mission and student accomplishments; and contributes to the intellectual richness of the campus community.