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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Research by 82 Old Dominion Students on Display at Undergraduate Symposium

By Noell Saunders

Growing up, Shakia Robertson said she felt isolated as the middle child in her family. So the Old Dominion University art student, who majored in painting, drawing and design, conveys her thoughts by painting murals.

"I couldn't express how I felt through words when I was younger, so I did it with art. I struggled being the middle child because I always felt I got the short end of the stick. I'm hoping to reach others who were like me and inspire them to use their thoughts with art as well," Robertson said.

Robertson was one of 82 undergraduates who participated in Old Dominion University's ninth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Learning Commons @ Perry Library.

Undergraduate researchers in disciplines ranging from art history to physics showed off their burgeoning research skills at the Feb. 18 event. Robertson's adviser, Elliot Jones, associate professor of art, said being in a venue with such diverse undergraduate research excellence is inspiring.

"I'm struck by how much time and effort students are putting into the work and their preparations. They are all fantastic," said Jones, who is chief adviser for ODU's Department of Art.

Nathan Gonda, an undergraduate studying modeling, simulation and visualization engineering, displayed his project "Visualization of Event Execution in a Discrete Event System." Gonda's simulation helps outline how software implementation works.

"I'm happy to present this project to show how simulation works and demonstrate how we analyze a system to solve problems," Gonda said. "I'm hoping to have other students use it and also to have software developers use it to help fix their programs or make sure their simulations are built correctly."

David Metzger, dean of the Honors College, said Old Dominion offers undergraduates unique access to get involved in research projects. The outcome of these faculty-student partnerships was on display at the symposium.

"Now in its ninth year, the symposium has showcased the creative and scholarly work of over 1,000 ODU students," Metzger said. "Knowledge supports knowledge, so what a student discovers in one discipline is reinforced by what a student has explored in another. If you want to see idea fusion at work, the symposium is a good place to start."

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