Sonoma State’s Society and Cultural Undergraduate Research Forum (SCURF), which provides students with the opportunity to present their ongoing research in a professional setting, announced its winners for best podium presentation and best poster presentation last Wednesday.
Hosted by the Anthropology Club, the event featured nine podium presentations and seven poster presentations.
Lauren Russ was announced as the winner for best podium presentation for her research titled “Cumulativeness in Non-Human Primates Suggests Cultural Capabilities” and Lacinda Moore for best poster presentation, titled “My Abuela was a Zootsuiter; We are Millennial Chican@s: Youth Unrest with the Zoot Suiters, and the Parallels between the Youth Unrest with Andy Lopez.”
“It’s not only an achievement for myself, but also for the anthropology department and its professors for all of the amazing work they do for us students,” said Russ. “This was my first time involved with SCURF, and I am of the opinion that [this] opportunity is amazing for all of us undergraduates and hope more students participate in the future from varied disciplines.”
“I am ecstatic that I won,” said Moore, who is double majoring in history and Spanish. “More extensive research needs to be done to back up my thesis, but I’ve come up with an original thesis that I think is relevant to and can be supported with already existing primary sources.”
The presentations ranged from “Ritualized ‘Magic’ in the United States and its Use in the 21st century” to “Fat Babes in Crop Tops: Representations of Race and Gender in Fa(t)shion.”
Russ and Moore were selected by a panel of four judges: assistant professor of anthropology Alexis Boutin, professor of anthropology Richard Senghas, associate professor of kinesiology Lauren Morimoto and anthropology lecturer Carlos Torres.
SCURF’s keynote speaker this year was Matthew “Mateo” Clark, associate professor and the department chair of geography and global studies.
Clark began the evening with his presentation, “Physical imprints of human activities on land cover in Latin America as observed from satellites.” In his presentation, he explained how land-cover data can be used to investigate hidden causes of change such as economic globalization, human migration and interactions with climate and landform, as well as reveal the threat to protected areas across Latin America.
“Writing a paper on your research is invaluable and it is there for the longer term, but presenting a concise version of your findings to peers in a public setting can be very challenging. SCURF offers a unique opportunity for SSU students to do just that,” said Clark.
Clark believes a critical skill sought by employers and needed in advanced academic study is the ability to think critically about a topic and present an argument in a clear and convincing way.
He said an excellent way to gain this experience is through a student-driven research project, where a student must focus on a specific question, collect data or information, synthesize results and tell a compelling “story.”
“[The event] was a great success,” said Chief Coordinator Diego Rocha. “This year we really stepped it up in regard to replicating, even if only on a small scale, the conference-like environment. Presenters were given name tags to make them stand out in the crowd, participants were presented with awards and the Student Center Ballrooms gave [it] the feel of an academic conference.”