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BCTalks Highlights Undergrad Research Interests

Heights Staff

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013

Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 01:04

BCTalks Highlights Undergrad Research Interests

Emily Sadeghian // Heights Staff

“The big thing [BCTalks] is trying to highlight is that BC has a number of students who have a variety of passions,” said Tommy Steichen, co-director of BCTalks’ most recent event. “It’s more than what just your major is because you can have research and passion outside of what you normally study at school, and there’s a lot more that goes into each individual person than what is just on the resume.”
On Thursday, BCTalks hosted a lecture series in the Boston Room of Corcoran Commons that gave undergraduates an opportunity to showcase their personal research, interests, and wisdom. Timothy Peterson, CSOM ’14, was also co-director of the night’s event.

The event consisted of seven undergraduate talks on a wide variety of topics.

Conor Sullivan, an original co-founder of BCTalks and LSOE ’13, spoke about an alternative approach to bridging the academic achievement gap between privileged and underprivileged kids. He explained that recent efforts consisting of increased pressure on school districts, standardized testing, and competition have been largely unsuccessful at closing the gap. He advocated for a “full-service” alternative method that aimed to improve and nurture the whole child, not simply his or her academics.

Brianna Fitz, A&S ’13, showcased her recent research in psychology about multitasking. She investigated whether or not multitasking is actually possible, whether or not multitasking affects memory test performance, and also whether or not there was a correlation between intelligence and the ability to multitask.

Michael Dillon, A&S ’13, is passionate about storytelling. His talk explored how social media has introduced us to a new form of storytelling, where the authors and heroes are one in the same. This new type of story telling is, he explained, both powerful and dangerous because of how directly these new narratives impact our lives.

Lisa Piccirillo, A&S ’13, also a co-founder of BCTalks, gave an introductory talk on abstract mathematics, using the classic video game, “Asteroids,” as her teaching tool.

Elizabeth Pion, A&S, ’13, spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, describing her recent trip to Hebron, a city she described as “a microcosm” of the conflict.

Jeb Thomas, CSOM ’13, spoke about leveraging your personal network to achieve your personal and professional goals. He used his own personal experience of founding his own company and getting an internship to show that networks really matter and can help people achieve their dreams.

Barron Flood, A&S ’13, gave a lecture on the architect Oscar Niemeyer. Specifically, his focus was on his most famous work, the Cathedral of Brasilia. Flood described the different interpretations of the cathedral’s design and also explored Niemeyer’s personal life as it related to the work.

 BCTalks was launched by ESS, a program founded to promote “Education for Students by Students.”

According to BCTalks’ mission statement, “The goal of BCTalks follows the mission of ESS: ‘to instill a sense of excitement in both learning and teaching.’ We believe  there is a dichotomy at Boston College between a student’s academic and social life, which programs like BCTalks aim to close. BCTalks gives undergraduates a platform to share their research, knowledge, and passions, while opening dialogue about diverse topics in a social setting.”

BCTalks has many similarities to TEDTalks, an organization that puts educational and inspiring videos on the Internet for easy viewing.  BCTalks also hosts videos of their lectures on their own website.

“We’re also filming all of the talks,” Steichen said. “Putting them online and we’re hoping to build up our own library so that eventually, after a few years, you can go onto our website, search something that you’re interested in and we’ll have a talk on it from a BC student.

BCTalks and ESS hope to plan more lecture events in the future. Steichen was hopeful of at least one lecture event per semester.

BCTalks is not affiliated with TEDx talks, the TEDTalks independent component, which has occurred at BC in the past.

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