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BCTalks Showcase Research

Eight Undergraduates Share Knowledge At The Third BCTalks

Heights Staff

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01


Eun Hee Kwon / Heights Staff

On Sunday, Nov. 4, Education for Students by Students (ESS) presented its third series of BCTalks lectures. BCTalks is modeled off of the famous TEDTalks, a conference that combines technology, education, and design disciplines and educates the community on “Ideas Worth Spreading.” BCTalks is designed to give undergraduates an opportunity to share research, passions, and knowledge in a social setting.

BCTalks was co-founded by Lisa Piccirillo, A&S ’13, and Conor Sullivan, LSOE ’13, in collaboration with ESS. BCTalks was inspired by the success of other ESS programs, such as BC Splash and the foreign language night classes now offered on campus for undergraduates. The overall goal of the event is to spread information and passions from student to student in a setting that is less conventional than a classroom.

The lecture series has shifted and developed since its first series, cutting the number of speakers from 14 last fall to the current eight and hiring a videographer due to a budget increase. The topics of the talks also span far beyond research findings, and lecturers have also discussed topics including volunteer experiences and being involved in start-up programs.

The application process to be a BCTalks speaker is extensive, in order to ensure that the lectures fit exactly into the goal of the program. Narintohn Luangrath, director of BCTalks and A&S ’14, explained how applicants are chosen.

“We recruit lecture applicants through an online application which is sent out to all the department listservs,” Luangrath said. “We also ask faculty members to review applications, giving a greater level of legitimacy to our selection process.” Luangrath explains that the help of faculty members makes the process that much easier because these teachers can gauge the level of expertise of the speaker in the specific field.

Luangrath also conducted interviews with potential lecturers to measure their level of interest and passion in the subject and see if they would make a compelling speaker. After the speakers are chosen, pictures and flyers of all the participants help advertise the lecturers, as the biggest pull for audience members is the speakers’ friends being able to see them speak passionately about a field or interest that gets overlooked in casual conversation.

“I tell the speakers, BCTalks, in the spirit of the popular TEDTalks series, aims to provide a stage for students to extend the conversation about their topic beyond the traditional classroom setting,” Luangrath said. “It is important that their talks are accessible to the educated person and the team, and I work with the lecturers to make sure this is the case.”

The lectures ranged from a wide variety of topics, including Corey Streitwieser, A&S ’13, who spoke about rhetoric in Athenian democracy, to Lizzie Jekanowski, A&S ’13, who offered her opinions about the importance of feminism in today’s society. All speakers had expertise in their field, ranging from spending time in hospitals in Nepal like Alana Fruauff, A&S ’14, to being actively involved in BC Students for Sexual Health like Jekanowski. Other topics ranged from voter identification rights, by Jovalin Dedaj, A&S ’13, to using a post-natal care system at home and abroad, by Christopher McLaughlin, A&S ’13. Ailis Peplau, also A&S ’13, presented on the experiences of the underrepresented in her lecture titled “From Africa to Boston College.” Minje Shin, A&S ’13, spoke about the dialectic of Plato, while Alejandra Rodriguez, A&S ’14, presented “Mexico: A Culture Trapped in Time.”

In the spirit of TEDTalks, the videos taken of the speakers will be available on the BCTalks website after the event so that the information is accessible to peers.

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