News Feature

Shining ‘StARS’

Annual symposium draws nearly 1,100 student participants

Wondering what effect international students have on the local economy or what the ideal length of a hockey stick is?

Attendees to Bridgewater State University’s annual Student Arts & Research Symposium found out the answers to those questions and many more. The annual event, known as StARS, showcases the talents and research of students in a wide variety of areas.

“You can open your mind up to new ideas,” said Morgan Rowe, ’17, G ’18, who is studying special education.

Morgan examined special education classrooms with and without regular movement breaks, such as jogging, as she sought to see whether the breaks affected student behavior.

She was among almost 1,100 students who presented their projects at Monday’s 18th annual showcase, which was hosted by the Center for Transformative Learning and the College of Graduate Studies. Some students showed posters or artwork while others delivered oral presentations or performed theatrical works. Topics ranged from the causes of opioid use and addiction in professional athletes, to technology in early elementary classrooms, to redesigning BSU’s website.

“We know that when students have a chance to share their work there’s a higher level of engagement with it,” said Dr. Jenny Shanahan, assistant provost for high-impact practices. “They put in more effort. They take great pride in their work when they know there is going to be an authentic audience.”

The event, in which about 10 percent of the student body participated, celebrates accomplishments and shows students how their work can influence others, Dr. Shanahan said.

Graduate students Jenniffer Jimenez, G’19; Danya Marhamo, ’17, G’18; and Colleen Zapcic, G’19; explored the economic effects of BSU’s international students on the local and state economy. Over the past five academic years, international students contributed about $11.1 million to BSU, $1.6 million to the town of Bridgewater and $3 million to the state, their poster shows.

The estimates take into account tuition, housing, transportation and other factors, said Colleen and Danya, who hope the research helps make the case for increasing the international student population on campus.

“It was interesting to know the impact international students have on the economy,” said Jenniffer, an international student herself, from the Dominican Republic.

Undergraduate student Christopher Lipari, ’18, who is studying physical education, turned to his passion for hockey. Christopher assessed how the length of a stick affects passing by having a player make passes with three different sized sticks. The longest stick worked best, and allowed the player to be in a more comfortable position. Bending too low hurt performance, he concluded.

“I’ve been playing hockey all my life,” Christopher said. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to do something I love and further explore it.” (Story and photos by Brian Benson, University News)