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

Student Researchers’ Digital Project to be Featured in MacArthur Memorial World War I Exhibit

By Noell Saunders

Graduate student Maggie Kontra-Emmens and her research team decided to take a different approach for Old Dominion University's 7th annual Graduate Research Achievement Day (GRAD) by doing a digital presentation about American soldiers who were part of the 42nd Rainbow Division during World War I.

"It's a new age of technology and we wanted to present this project in a way that would resonate with our audience," Emmens said.

In collaboration with the MacArthur Memorial for the grand opening of their World War I exhibit, students from the University's History 660: World War I class presented a slide show with music to tell the untold stories of soldiers who are buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France. The project will be featured on a touch table at the MacArthur Memorial on Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

"Students will not only be contributing to the public exhibit at the MacArthur Memorial, but will also be able, in the future, to demonstrate their research skills and the outcomes using the multi-media presentation," said Maura Hametz, graduate program director for ODU's Department of History.

About 100 students participated in this year's GRAD Day event on March 23, which was created to honor and celebrate the excellent research of the University's graduate students.

This was the first time GRAD day featured the use of new technology. In addition to a digital poster, some online students were provided an opportunity to present their work by web conferencing from Illinois. Bryan Porter, associate dean of Old Dominion University's Graduate School, said using digital presentations could be a new theme for other GRAD Day events.

"We are looking at different ways to expand the reach of this event and give distance students, who don't usually have an opportunity to present, to do so," he said.

During the morning session, 39 students gave oral presentations in the River rooms of Webb University Center. During the afternoon, 55 students shared their research using posters in the North Mall of Web University Center.

"Students are going to be doing this in business, science and other careers. Think about pitching an idea. You've got five minutes - go," Porter said. "The question is how do you educate an audience that's not in your discipline? These are skills students are going to need in multiple modalities for a career."

The students' oral presentations and posters, representing five of ODU's academic colleges, addressed a variety of issues. In addition to World War l history, other topics included: The role of internet memes in society; the impact of student involvement on graduate student retention; using waste oil for jet fuel production; and understanding coastal flooding.

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