As dean of Eastern Illinois University’s College of Sciences, Harold Ornes could use his annual State of the College address as an opportunity to show data and discuss declining resources or the renovation needs of some of the older buildings on campus.
“But I’m not going to talk about any of that,” Ornes said. “Rather than focus on data, I’m going to talk, in generalized terms, about everything we do in the College of Sciences and what we do that makes our students so valuable.
“Our secret weapon is…,” he began, stopping with a smile, vowing to say nothing more until he presents his actual address at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, in 7th Street Underground (aka, the Rathskeller), located in the MLK Jr. Union basement (east wing).
Ornes’ address is a small part of the college’s ScienceFest, an annual celebration of both faculty and student excellence in teaching, service and research. An additional highlight of the afternoon’s activities will be a mini-symposium – “Understanding Poverty: Local and Global.”
“With 11 different departments within the College of Sciences, we consider ScienceFest a rich opportunity to pick a subject important to society, as well as to campus,” Ornes said, regarding this year’s theme choice. “We want to show the community, and the region, that our work here is not just a philosophical approach to certain issues, but that it has an applied value, as well.”
Poverty, he continued, is a subject that affects far more than economics. “It affects what you eat, what you do, how you vote, and whether or not your child falls asleep at school or arrives full on energy, ready to learn.”
The symposium, scheduled to begin at 1:20 p.m. in 7th Street Underground, will feature Charles Delman, mathematics and computer science; Michael Gillespie, sociology/anthropology; Melinda Mueller, political science; and Mukti Upadhyay, economics. Gary Bulla, biological sciences, will serve as moderator.
Additionally, undergraduate and graduate students, along with their faculty mentors, are recognized during ScienceFest for the individuals’ outstanding research accomplishments in the awarding of Scholars in Undergraduate Research (SURE) and Graduate Student Investigator (GSI) awards. These students are invited to share their research with a poster session (12:35 p.m., Charleston/Mattoon Room, MLK Jr. Union) that allows ScienceFest attendees to recognize and appreciate their hard work.
The day’s activities will conclude beginning at 2:55 p.m. with the recognition and update of the COS Student Advisory Board, followed at 3:15 p.m. with a Recognition of Excellence event. Multiple awards are presented to outstanding faculty who are nominated and chosen by their peers. These two events are also slated to take place in 7th Street Underground.
For a full schedule of ScienceFest events, please see http://www.eiu.edu/colsci/departments_sciencefest.php.