In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Steinmetz Symposium, a special luncheon was held behind Reamer Campus Center on May 8 at which the keynote speaker was John E. Kelly ’76, Senior Vice President of Solutions Portfolio and Research at IBM.
Kelly received his bachelor’s degree in physics at Union before going on to a master’s program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in materials engineering. Kelly is also the vice chair of the Board of Director’s at Union. President Stephen C. Ainlay and Mayor of Schenectady Gary McCarthy were also both present at the luncheon.
In Kelly’s address, he praised the value of a Union education and the emphasis that is placed on research in a wide variety of disciplines.
Kelly read the titles of some presentations that have been given at Steinmetz throughout the years in order to demonstrate how students on campus are always researching topics that closely relate to issues going on in the world at the time.
Many of the presentations he mentioned were ones that veered from the traditional research fields of the sciences, instead focusing on issues in the humanities and social sciences.
He stated that he highlighted these projects because they demonstrated the unique variety of undergraduate research going on at Union.
President Ainlay also spoke at the lunch. He not only praised students for their hard work and innovative research projects, but also encouraged all the alumni and guests to visit the poster sessions and the presentations to get a better sense of the type of work being done by the students.
Yi Cao ’15 was the only student to speak at the luncheon. Cao, a double major in mechanical engineering and chemistry, will attend a graduate program at Stanford University in the fall and explained how the many opportunities to conduct research at Union have helped her to achieve her goals.
“My experiences at Union have prepared me to face future challenges and to make a difference in the world’s energy problems.”
The symposium has grown from 130 students in 1991, the first year of the symposium, to 500 students this year.
The events of the day began early, with poster sessions and presentations occurring throughout the day. There was also a dance recital in Nott Memorial at 4 p.m. in which 70 students participated.
Prize Day was held in Memorial Chapel the day after the symposium. Students were presented awards for outstanding achievement in academics and campus involvement.
Two of the top awards that are given at Prize Day are the Josephine Daggett Prize, awarded “to a senior of the best conduct and character,” and the Frank Bailey (1885) Prize, which is awarded “to a senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.” These prestigious awards were given to Caelan Lapointe ’15 and Chetna Prasad ’15, respectively.