Higher temperatures kept Xavier students in closed doors seeking cool air, and one event that offered indoor exchange was the 2019 Annual Festival of Scholars on April 11-12. This research exhibit allowed students to show their creative works and individual research projects. Students from different majors participated, from computer science to engineering, and aspiring cardiologists, neurologists and medical physicians came under one roof at the University Center to showcase their work.
While research presentations discussed topics like heart disease and immune system dysfunction, part of the Festival of Scholars was also the “Art on the Lawn.” This section of the festival exhibited student artwork in the sizzling sun, where organizers, students and even local residents participated in the showcase. The Art department’s top artists created portraits of African American men and women.
“The variety of collective knowledge that me and my fellow Xavierites bounce off each other,” said Kanhiya Dickenson, a senior, neuroscience major at Xavier.
“Its like fun in a way and competitive because we all want the same thing at the end but we get to display our research knowledge on what we want to do or be in the future to other students and hopefully they gain interest,” Dickenson said.
The presenters each took turns giving their individual presentations while others took breaks and enjoyed food and drinks prepared by staff and catering services in the University Center hallways.
“It’s the little things that matter to students. Things like letting us get our names out and talk out stuff and prove to the audience that we are ready for whatever comes our way,” said Brianna Tyson, a junior, computer science major at Xavier.
Students said that at the university, they get to conduct their own research and that faculty members provide them with support and mentorship to conduct research on important topics.
“You know what? The department got me with the heart disease talk,” said John Harrison, a freshman, who wants to become a cardiologist.
“It was hard because I didn’t know what I wanted to be at all. Like I was going for anything. But when I went around the school and asked questions I was given legitimately great answers that I wouldn’t pick to go with. But Professor [Thaddeo] Babiiha influenced me the best,” Harrison said of his journey to discovering what he wanted to do with his life.Residents near the university said were very impressed with the experience at the exhibit allowing them to see both student talent and knowledge.
“For people to show up that don’t even go to this university and live in the East, it’s amazing showing you guys credibility and that can’t be denied,” said Judith Triplett, a local New Orleans resident, who attended the festival.