First Annual TMCC Student Achievement Symposium

Rebecca A. Eckland

Student Achievement Symposium logo

What is a Symposium?

On Friday, Nov. 16, students, faculty and staff from multiple departments gathered to engage in a longstanding academic tradition: a symposium. The word, which comes from the Greek symposion, referred to a “gathering of the educated.” While students shared what they have learned from their experiences in higher education, the Student Achievement Symposium at once embraces and breaks with traditional ideas about who participates in symposiums and why.

Conceived of and organized by Laura Wilhelm, the event showcased the work of TMCC students. “So many people think that community college students just show up for class and then go on about their lives,” Wilhelm said. “This event is modeled on traditional symposiums that feature rigorous, academic work. What is different about this event, though, is that it is open to whatever topics our student are studying and it is interdisciplinary. It will include all sorts of projects from very different disciplines: research papers, proposals, traditional academic papers—but also community-based projects like independent films.”

What to Expect

The event, which began at 10 a.m., opened with presentations that highlight student-driven work. Among the topics guests expected to see included: how greenhouse gas emissions from livestock and agriculture affect climate change; germination and growth of the milkweed plant; the historical, anthropological and commercial significance of kosher salt and the challenges of going to college immediately after high school.

The Student Achievement Symposium was open to students, faculty, staff and the community. In addition to the presentations (which will occur in RDMT rooms), the event featured a networking area in the Student Center where participants and guests can mingle, partake in refreshments and engage  in meaningful discussions.

Why Attend?

Sponsored by the TMCC Foundation and TMCC Grants Office, the first-year event received support from nearly every department whose contributions made Wilhelm's vision of an interdisciplinary, professional event a reality. Wilhelm envisioned the Student Achievement Symposium growing in future years to include more students, as well as employers from the community. “As a professional conference, participating in the Student Achievement Symposium is something our students can put on a resume—it's something that shows their commitment to their education and to their academic and professional growth.”

The event embraced the purpose of higher education, which traditionally focuses on not just the acquisition of knowledge, but the art of sharing it. Participating students can be sure that they will challenge themselves with the demands of presenting their work; likewise, attendees will be sure to learn something new.

Event Details

  • Where: Student Center, Dandini Campus
  • When: Friday, November 16, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

For more information about the Student Achievement Symposium, contact Laura Wilhelm.