G.R.E.A.T. Day displays stellar student achievements

On Tuesday, April 17, Geneseo held its first annual day dedicated to showcasing student research, creativity and other scholastic accomplishments, known as Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement, and Talent (G.R.E.A.T.) Day.

G.R.E.A.T. Day was a day-long, College-wide symposium that hosted students, faculty, administration and community members interested in viewing the work of 426 of Geneseo's students. It showcased two dance performances, 23 artwork pieces, 124 presentations assembled into 38 concurrent groups, and 157 poster presentations.

Associate professor Michael Rozalski from the School of Education thought that "G.R.E.A.T. Day was a wonderful idea and was really well-organized." He went on to say, "I feared that this might just be a day for faculty to catch up on some work. But, I have seen a few faculty members at presentations, which is encouraging. I'm really glad that they are taking interest in some of the fantastic work that our students produce."

In addition to the student presentations, there was a keynote address delivered by Dr. Lynn Weber, director of the women's studies program and professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina. In the words of President Christopher Dahl, "Dr. Weber delivered a challenging and truly multifaceted talk."

In her keynote address, entitled "Through a Fly's Eye: Addressing Diversity in our Creative, Research, and Scholarly Endeavors," Weber focused on the importance of recognizing the disparities that exist in society so that everyone can overcome them and be equally successful.

"It was a great pleasure to be at Geneseo for G.R.E.A.T. Day," said Weber. "I am truly honored to speak at this amazing event displaying the widest array of talent among undergraduates that I have ever seen. The students, faculty and administration of Geneseo should be proud of the great work that they are doing," she said.

For a number of years now, G.R.E.A.T. Day has been a tradition in the making. According to Dahl, "this event comes from a distinguished lineage of activity in undergraduate research here at SUNY Geneseo that stretches back 20 or so years." He continued, "for years, we have had annual science and math symposiums, annual poster sessions that took place at Family Weekend, and even concerto competitions in music and Honors exhibits in art, showcasing our creative activities on campus. SUNY Geneseo has had a long and wonderful tradition in research and creative activity and I think that G.R.E.A.T. Day really brings that all together nicely."

Professor of English Thomas Greenfield, who was one of the eight faculty members on the planning committee for G.R.E.A.T. Day, said that "the idea of a full day dedicated to student research represents an ambitious change from our previous approach, which gave humanities, the sciences, and other disciplines their own separate research events operating independently from one another." He said the biggest obstacle in planning for such a noteworthy event was being able to "retain the enthusiasm and energy of those earlier events and transfer those qualities to the larger, College-wide celebration."

In addition to the enthusiasm for the day from faculty and administration, many students were impressed with the outcome of the symposium as well. Amanda Tennis, a senior communicative disorders and sciences major who presented her research work as part of the poster presentations, said that "it was really rewarding to see your all of your hard work be acknowledged by others in the community." She continued, "I think G.R.E.A.T. Day is a fantastic idea because it gives you the chance to see how knowledgeable the students here really are. It's quite phenomenal to see all of the amazing work."