G.R.E.A.T. Day showcases creativity and intellect

The fifth annual Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement and Talent Day showcased the work of hundreds of students across multiple academic fields on Tuesday.

The event both recognized the hard work of students and provided the opportunity for exploration of new ideas presented by peers.

After a continental breakfast and a welcome from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Long, the presentations began. Art exhibits were arranged in the Kinetic Gallery, posters in either the Union Ballroom or Milne Library, and presentations throughout the academic buildings.

Olivia Cammisa-Frost, a senior art history major, presented her research on art during the Nazi regime, covering topics ranging from the Nazi theft and looting of art to the party's restrictions on modern art.

James Bates, a senior chemistry major, focused his research on the Geneseo western humanities requirement, presenting a brief history of the program, where it stands now and where it could possibly go in the future. Bates offered a variety of proposals which included examination of the INTD 105 writing course, making humanities mandatory freshman year, and the potential implementation of lecture series, workshops and service learning opportunities.

While Cammisa-Frost, Bates and many other students gave classroom presentations, the Union Ballroom was swamped with posters, presenters and spectators.

"I got what I put into it and I learned because I wanted to," said sophomore Gedney Mosher, who viewed presentations and posters in the Union Ballroom.

Senior chemistry and psychology major Tyler Boshers explained his research on apocynin, a plant extract shown to inhibit a common cause of diabetes and asthma known as NAPDH oxidase,.

"There are a lot of different opinions," Boshers said. "It's not so much controversial as it is that nobody is sure what's happening … So far, everything we've wanted to happen has happened."

A brief Banghra performance was staged during the presentations, diverting attention from the complex research posters and offering a different kind of entertaining expression of student work.

While students in the ballroom displayed their research, students in the Kinetic Gallery showcased their artwork. A variety of artists' works adorned the walls and sculptures were set up around the room.

"[The artwork] obviously took just as much effort as the research posters and presentations, but it seems underappreciated," said junior Lauren Healy. "It's just not fair that [the studio art] program is being cut."

Upstairs in the Fireside Lounge, a variety of musical performances were organized by sophomore Erin Pipe. Exit 8 performed an a cappella performance and the Menotti Trio played the "Suite for Two Cellos and Piano" by Gian Carlo Menotti.

"I'm so happy with how everything went," said Pipe. "Being able to share with the campus – that's what G.R.E.A.T. Day is about."

The keynote speaker, Thomas Seeley, professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University, was a hit with students who listened to his lecture on "Honeybee Democracy."

"I think it was a really good talk, and it's one of the few times I've heard a scientist keep the audience engaged," said junior Daisy Luma-Haddison. "He did a good job linking [honeybee democracy] to real life."

Seeley described the democracy of a honeybee colony, in which the bees work together to find a home – a lesson, he pointed out, that we all will have to face. The decision to choose a home does not belong to the queen bee, but to the workers.

"Supreme power … that is all vested in the workers," Seeley said.

"Many leaders could apply the ‘retire and rest' policy," Luma-Haddison said. "Once they have to start fighting to keep their position, they've stopped leading."

According to President Christopher Dahl, who introduced Seeley, this year's G.R.E.A.T. Day was one of the best yet. He described the day as a "celebration of creativity and intellect" in which we can "benefit from the fruits of everyone's research."