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Students Compete in 2018 ACC Meeting of the Minds Competition
A group of Syracuse University students, along with a faculty advisor, recently traveled to Massachusetts to take part in the 2018 ACC Meeting of the Minds competition held at Boston College. The conference highlights the research and creative work of undergraduates from the ACC’s 15 schools.
“The ACC Meeting of the Minds showcased six of our undergraduate students’ research,” says Provost Faculty Fellow Rochelle Ford, professor and chair of the Department of Public Relations in the Newhouse School. “They represented Syracuse well, demonstrating our broad range of disciplines and interdisciplinary focus, along with the important contributions in research and creative work they bring to their classrooms, labs, studios and fields of interest.”
Genesis Felizola ’18 from the College of Arts and Sciences and a 2017 Meredith Scholar, was among those chosen to present her research. She investigates the experiences of Hispanic families who have children with autism spectrum disorder, particularly with regard to physical activity and communication. We asked her four questions about the experience.
01How were you selected?
The Syracuse University ACC Meeting of the Minds committee selected me after I responded to a call for applications. I submitted my research abstract with an application, and my faculty mentor also submitted a recommendation. Along with five other SU undergraduate students, I was selected to represent Syracuse University at this year’s ACC Meeting of the Minds at Boston College.
02What did you do while at the event?
While there, I presented my research and results on “The Experiences of Hispanic Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Regarding Physical Activity and Communication.” I also watched other brilliant scholars and some of the best minds from universities such as Florida State University, Duke University and University of Notre Dame present their undergraduate research. I networked with faculty members from different universities and informed them about all of the wonderful work we are doing here at SU. I spoke about the Communication Sciences and Disorders department and they were so impressed and pleased that SU has students working on this kind of research and looking into these issues.Faculty were excited to hear about my research findings. I felt proud to represent us. Go Orange!
03Can you describe the experience?
As a senior about to graduate from SU, I was starting to have a “quarter-life crisis” (thanks for the new terminology, Danielle Schaf!). I know, you might think I am too young to feel that way, but I was starting to doubt my abilities and myself as a scholar. There was a speaker at the conference who mentioned this, as if she knew this. She told us that the best minds in the world doubt themselves and their abilities, and that it was completely normal and that we were not alone. As I sat there, stunned at how much I could relate, I saw every head in that room nod in agreement and realized: I am not alone. These students have worked on their research for two or more years and are doing amazing things like finding ways to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy, and improving language apps such as Google Translate (which we all know, if we’ve tried it, is not the best). We are not alone, and we are changing the world by being brave enough to try things that scare us, seek out criticism, being okay with making mistakes and growing from them, and spending our free time in the weekend talking about and presenting research.
I was proud of myself for presenting my research and being a representative for not just SU, but also as a Hispanic woman in science. After I presented my research, other students came up to me, and told me I was “engaging, passionate and inspiring,” and were impressed that I was conducting research that hasn’t been looked into in detail before. I was also proud of the other SU undergraduate researchers who were with me. We presented our findings with poise and eloquence, and cheered each other along. We made new friends while leaving a positive impression of Syracuse University behind.
04Since we're talking about Meeting of the Minds, anything else on your mind regarding the competition?
After leaving Boston College and coming back to SU, I was reminded yet again just how much I love SU. The atmosphere, academics and students here are unparalleled. My sense of pride as an Orange was bursting, and I felt thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this conference. I want to say thank you to SU and the ACC Meeting of the Minds committee for allowing me to pursue this path to scholarship and success along with the other five undergraduate researchers, who I now call my friends and fellow “Minds”.