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Celebration of Student Research Celebrated 20th Anniversary


Nineteen years ago, Wabash College did something highly unusual. 

It canceled classes.

Preparations were being made for the very first Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work, an afternoon event that would give students the chance to present their work to their classmates, professors, and the Wabash community.

“All of us were anxious ahead of the event,” said Wabash College Chief of Staff Jim Amidon. “We wondered if students would want to participate and if anyone would show up. It was fairly unprecedented to cancel classes for any reason, so we certainly hoped it would be successful – and it was. And it has gotten better each and every year.”

2020 Celebration of Student ResearchFriday was the 20th Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work, and Dean of the College Scott Feller said there have been a lot of changes throughout the years—from the number of participants to the number of disciplines that are represented.

"The Celebration continues to be an important moment in the life of the campus, and the way everyone steps up to pull it off is truly amazing," Chemistry Professor and event chair Lon Porter said. "Our students' focused dedication, work ethic, and infectious curiosity was on display in top form today. They should be proud of yourselves, for they've made the entire Wabash community proud."

In honor of Celebration’s 20th anniversary, three student-alumni keynote addresses were added to the event. 

The speakers were Aaron Webb ’20 with Greg Castanias ’87, Benjamin Grubbs ’20 with W. Richard McCombie ’77, and Vincent D’Angelo with John Deschner ’97. 

Students presented for 15 minutes, and a 20-minute alumni address will follow. Student presenters were selected via competitive on-campus auditions and will share the results of research projects. The alumni keynotes shared reminiscences of research/creative work completed at Wabash and how those experiences impacted personal or career development following graduation.

Following the keynote presentations, 67 students presented 29 talks and 25 posters throughout Detchon International Center.

The full schedule of presentations can be found at

“It says soJohn Kirts '20 listens to one of the oral presentations.mething very powerful about our culture that we set aside a day to allow our students to demonstrate their intellectual and creative strengths,” Wabash College President Gregory Hess said. “What’s more important is that so many students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and even trustees actively engage in the Celebration. It’s an event that truly showcases our commitment to the liberal arts and lifelong learning.”

Prior to this year’s event, the Celebration Committee announced the winners of two awards associated with the Wabash tradition: the Celebration Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards, and the Robert Wedgeworth Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards.

The Celebration Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are prizes awarded to the students who most effectively articulated their gains in professional development and personal growth as a result of their research, scholarship, or creative work. This year’s winners are listed below, in alphabetical order.

  • Joey Ballard ’20: Biology Independent Study: Fertility, Worms, and Public Health
  • Thach Huynh ’20: Relationship between Obesity Dieting Success and Measures of Decision-Making and Demeaning Homeless People’s Needs
  • Alexandru-Mircea Rotaru ’22: Monitoring Public Health in Montgomery County using GIS

The Robert Wedgeworth Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are prizes that are awarded to recognize effective use of library resources in the preparation of Celebration work. This year’s winners are listed below, in alphabetical order.

  • Nathan Biggs ’20: Wabash College Men and Voting
  • Benjamin Manahan ’21: Understanding Lethal Injection: The History of Capital Punishment, Death Penalty Legislation, and Pharmaceutical Influence