Previewing the Steinmetz Symposium


By Greg Brenn

The Steinmetz Research Symposium will be held this Friday for the 23rd year of undergraduate research presentations, creative work and performances.

The first Symposium was held in 1991, and featured only 130 students. This year’s symposium has close to 450 presenters from all disciplines, with presentation titles ranging from, “Optimization of Autoinduction for the Expression of Metacaspases from Schizophyllum Commune” to “The Impact of Marriages and Extramarital Affairs on Political Careers: Case Studies of Julius Caesar and Bill Clinton.”

The namesake for this annual day of scholastic presentation comes from Charles Proteus Steinmetz, who was  head of the electrical engineering department and professor of electrophysics at Union from 1902 to 1923.

His most notable accomplishments in the field of electrical engineering include the discovery of the law that leads to electrical power losses due to magnetism and the creation of a simplified analysis method for alternating current systems.

Steinmetz encouraged his students to participate in hands-on experiments and professor-mentored research: a teaching approach that can culminate with a presentation on Steinmetz Day.

Matthew Wetzel ‘13, an economics major, whose Steinmetz presentation is entitled, “Which Business Group is the most Efficient in the Pharmaceutical Industry, a DEA Metafrontier Approach,” appreciates the opportunity to present his thesis work in front of students, professors and his family. “I’m actually not that nervous for the presentation but rather excited to present my research. The overall scope of presentation topics is amazing, so it should be a great day,” he said.

This past year’s Minerva Fellows will also be presenting their experiences from their travels abroad. Fellow Jessica Sarrantino ‘12, said, “It felt like yesterday that I was presenting my thesis at Steinmetz, but now I have the opportunity and challenge of explaining my nine-month experience in Bagru, India. I look forward to sharing my stories with the Union community and I hope that students, faculty and staff will come to learn and ask questions about all of the Fellows’ time abroad.”

When asked his thoughts about the event, President Stephen Ainlay said, “I begin looking forward to it weeks before it actually happens. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing students engaged with ideas.”



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