April 20, 2024

California Baptist University had its 15th Annual Natural and Mathematical Sciences Research Symposium on March 25 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Business Building. Approximately 300 students, faculty and guests were in attendance this year.

The main goal of the symposium was to give students experience in presenting their research in the style of professional conferences. The event featured poster sessions, oral presentations and a keynote speaker.

Dr. Tom Ferko, professor of chemistry and associate dean of the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (NMS), organized the event with the help of the NMS faculty.

“Originally, when we started, the goal was to just give our students some experience with research,” Ferko said. “So we didn’t have many students do research when we started, just a couple with our faculty. We had a mix of outside speakers and our students. Now we have over 110 students who are presenting their research.”

The symposium had sessions where students presented their research through slideshow and oral presentations, as well as poster sessions of student research from the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. The poster sessions had 21 groups of students present their research on subjects ranging from “Observations of Brood X Periodical Cicada Emergence” to “The Influence of Game-Based Learning.”

Abigail Semple, junior biochemical and molecular biology major, along with Annika Haugan, Kimberly Alva and C.J. Wood presented their research on “The Influence of Game-Based Learning” in the poster session.

“We went and taught some honors chemistry students from Ramona High School,” Semple said. “We were focusing on an active-learning approach to a high school lecture. We did this by doing an interactive lecture, with demonstrations of reactions that were really cool and exciting, and they pertained directly to what we were teaching them. We talked about balancing reactions, [and] predicting products, solubility rules and reaction types, which are four general chemistry concepts. We also had them do an interactive puzzle that was going to help them balance reactions physically in a more tactile manner so it would be easier for them to interact with the information.”

After the poster sessions, the slideshow and oral presentations had 28 groups of students present their research to guests, faculty and fellow students in subjects ranging from the “Study of Deep Sky Objects via Astrophotography” to the “Inclusion of Kinetic Friction in the Classic Comparison to Predicting Happiness Factors in OECD Countries: Does Money Buy Happiness?”

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Joshua Swamidass, who talked about his research in reconciling the theory of evolution and universal genealogical ancestry with a literal reading of Genesis. He wrote a book on the topic called “The Genealogical Adam and Eve.”

“What I want students to get out of this is whether or not evolution is true. Jesus rose from the dead, so follow him,” Swamidass said. “That’s how we know God is good, exists and wants to be known. And because of that confidence, we can actually approach evolution with an open mind to see whether or not it could be true, particularly because it’s not in conflict with even a very literal reading of Genesis.”

CBU has given science and mathematics students valuable experience in conducting and presenting research that has grown from its small roots to a vibrant symposium.

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