The 2013 symposium awarded top student presenters in all academic disciplines. From left, 2013 winners Zach Martin, Abby Ficklin, Lizz Dobson, Emma Brant, Kelly Jones, professor Dalel Serda, Austin Eldridge, Matthew Suggs, professor Veronica Sanchez, Kristin Barnes and Andrew Carter.

Recognizing the inextricable link between academic research and debate, College of the Mainland’s second symposium will center on the theme “Controversy in Our Nation: Past, Present and Future.” At the daylong event, individuals can explore a contested topic through the lens of science, technology, history or art and share their findings with the community.

To enter the symposium, students and nonstudents must present an abstract explaining their work, its importance and its relation to the theme in 200-250 words by March 3 at 5 p.m. Students may submit an individual or group project in science, technology, math, fine arts, humanities, or social and behavioral sciences.

Individuals with accepted works will share them in 12-minute oral presentations at the symposium on April 4.

A symposium review committee will award scholarships to first place and honorable mention winners in each category.

“Controversy is part of academia. All research is controversial in some aspect, whether in the topic or in the methods used. The symposium is an opportunity to have intellectual conversation recreationally. It is very satisfying for students. They take ownership of their work,” said Dalel Serda, COM English professor and co-organizer of the event. “If students have an idea and want to discuss it with us, we’re open to that. We invite creative work.”

The symposium is free and open to the public 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 4. The keynote speaker is Jeronimo Cortina, political science professor at University of Houston.

The event is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium.

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