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Pictured is a psychology student presenting at the 2014 Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium. | Photo by Amanda Dabbs
Psychology student Mariah Miller discusses her research proposal on "The Experience of Mothers and their Decisions to Vaccinate their Children."

Undergraduate students at Point Park University's Fifth Annual Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium presented research and creative readings on an impressive range of topics — from Victorian environmental issues to gay identity to experiencing Pittsburgh geography.

This year's symposium kicked off with students presenting poster displays and digital exhibits of their research proposals.

Transfer student and senior psychology major Byron Gramby's research proposal was titled: "A Nation Combined: The Experience of Being a Mixed Race Individual and the Process of Identity Formation."

Humanities and Human Sciences Symposium 2014

"The professors have been amazing and are very knowledgeable," said Gramby. "It has been an enlightening experience."

Senior behavioral science major Tira Brown also praised Point Park's faculty. "I love the professors and diversity at Point Park. I also like the small classroom sizes and convenient class schedules," she remarked. Brown's research proposal is on "Media Stereotypes of African-American Women: A Phenomenological Analysis."

Following the poster and digital exhibit session, Don Mitchell, Ph.D., distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University, gave the keynote presentation based on his extensive research on the political uses of public space. His talk was titled: "The Promise and Danger of Public Space: Three Struggles for the Right to the City."

"I thought his analysis was pertinent to Pittsburgh's public spaces, as well. It made me think differently about the implications of commercialized sidewalk space, in particular," said Megan Ward, Ph.D., assistant professor of English.

After Mitchell's keynote presentation, student panel sessions, moderated by Department of Humanities and Human Sciences faculty members Robert Alexander, Ph.D., Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., Kirstin Hanley, Ph.D., Jehnie Reis, Ph.D., Robert Ross, Ph.D., Sarah Perrier, Ph.D. and Megan Ward, Ph.D., took place throughout Academic Hall.

This year's panel topics were:

  • Adventures in Marxism
  • Challenging Canonicity: Subverting the Norms of Literary Tradition
  • Creative Writing and Visual Art
  • Experience and Experimentation
  • Evolution of Gender
  • Gender and Sexuality in Global Cultural Studies
  • Global Feminisms: Re-presenting (Post)Modern Womanhood
  • Historical Politics of Conflict and Change
  • Poetry: Vision and Revision
  • Reading: Creative Writing
  • Re-envisioning Jane Austen: Novel Interpretations of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility
  • Responses to Social Problems
  • Retelling History and Analyzing Identity
  • Revisiting the Classics: New Perspectives on British Literature

The symposium wrapped up with a live music show on campus and a networking reception with representatives from local community organizations including Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Operation Safety Net and Strong Women Strong Girls.

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