While Centre College’s annual RICE Symposium provides students a great opportunity to present work they have been engaged in over the past academic year, be it research, internships or creative endeavors, some students take it one step further and present their work at conferences throughout the nation.
And then there are students who don’t stop at just one national conference.
Students like Sidney Katie Rogers ’17 and Allyson Scott ’16, who presented their work at both the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research in Asheville, N.C., on April 7-8, and at Posters on the Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.
The project they presented is an offshoot of research Rogers and Scott began with Eva Cadavid, associate professor of philosophy, and David Hall, associate professor of religion and philosophy, in the summer of 2014.
That project focused on the underrepresentation of women in philosophy in general, and Rogers and Scott gave a presentation on this topic at the Hypatia Conference at Villanova University in Pennsylvania last spring.
Following that conference, the two decided to start their own project to look more closely at schemas about philosophy and, specifically, the underrepresentation of women and minorities in philosophy at the undergraduate level.
“There is some existing theory as to why this is the case,” says Scott. “These groups are radically underrepresented when compared to other humanities fields, but there wasn’t any hard data to back up any one hypothesis.”
While conducting research with Cadavid and Hall, Scott and Rogers collected feedback via a survey of Introduction to Philosophy students at Centre, accompanied by several focus groups.
Their current project has involved a more detailed survey sent out to all students on campus. The survey asked about schemas—essentially, what it means to be a philosopher—and classroom climate, as well as perceptions of what philosophy is in general.
Cadavid is proud of the work Scott and Rogers have done, and she plans to continue their research in the future.
“The project that Ally and Katie have presented at both of these conferences is their own,” says Cadavid. “They developed the idea last summer and have done all the work themselves. Their survey and focus groups have been so successful that David [Hall] and I will modify their survey to be sent out to several institutions of higher learning.”
Despite its intensive nature, Scott and Rogers’ current project is not part of either student’s major or minor studies, although Scott is a philosophy major. “We’re just regular research assistants,” she says.
The National Conference on Undergraduate Research is open to students from all fields and disciplines, providing a great opportunity for students from institutions across the country to network and learn from one another.
Posters on the Hill, also sponsored by the National Council on Undergraduate Research, is a highly competitive event. Rogers and Scott’s project was one of only 60 accepted out of more than 300 applications.
Above: Allyson Scott ’16 and Sidney Katie Rogers ’17 meet Congressman Brett Guthrie at Posters on the Hill.
by Mary Trollinger
April 28, 2016