By Jennifer Park | Layout Editor
The Judith K. Winn School of Honors held its 9th Annual Honors Student Conference on Thursday, April 4, showcasing papers from Bergen Community College students, as well as students from neighboring schools, including Passaic County Community College and SUNY Ulster.
The topics covered ranged from policy to literature to advancements in science. Selected papers, in addition to being presented, are considered for publication in the biennial Bergen Scholarly Journal.
The conference consisted of three panel sessions in which papers in similar groups were presented by a panel and used as a springboard for deeper discussion among the panelists as well as the audience.
“The conference is here to celebrate all of the excellent work being done by students,” said the Director of Honors, Seamus Gibbons.
He expressed that there was insufficient space to recognize the academic achievements of BCC students.
“You have the Beacon Conference every year, but it’s so competitive,” which he said makes it difficult to see the full scope of excellence.
Since its inception nine years ago, the conference has grown from only 12 presenters to 36. Last year was the first that the conference opened up to submissions from other colleges.
Gibbons said that he envisions a continuation in the expansion of the scope of the JKW Honors Conference through increased participation from partner schools, an expansion in represented disciplines and increased involvement from BCC students.
Panelist Dylan Jian Barrick, whose paper on Shakespeare’s sonnets was also accepted to the prestigious Beacon Conference, stated that he was grateful for the experience. He continued to state, “I absolutely feel more prepared for Beacon having had this experience. Beacon is really intense from what I’ve heard and presenting here helped me ease into preparing for Beacon.”
Barrick also expressed hope for an increased stress on the availability of the conference to non-honors students. “I’m not an honors student, so I wasn’t sure if I could submit. I wish that information was more clear. This experience might have been denied to other great non-honors students because they thought they didn’t qualify.”
In addition to honoring academic work, the conference honored excellence in art by displaying artwork from BCC students and featured musical performances.
Ally MacConchie was one of the students who performed music with Dr. Krikun’s Honors History of American Pop Music course. She stressed the importance of the historical information component of the performance.
She expressed that performance added an educational element that can’t be accessed in the classroom. She said that “performing in front of an audience lets you connect to others and share knowledge directly”.
Dylan also hopes for increased representation of the arts. “The arts representation we had was from honors classes. I think it would be nice if the gallery and performance components were both open submission to display a greater range of work.”
Student Francisco Camacho who attended the conference said that “it was a pretty good event outside of the cringey white people. I would attend again in the future.”
Director Gibbons expressed thanks to Vice President William Mulaney’s office, the Honors Committee and of course, the students who have and will continue to make the JKW Honors Conference a success.
The Annual Honors Student Conference is held in the spring semester. All students are welcome to submit.
A previous version of this article contained a quote that was contested as factually incorrect. The Torch was unable to independently verify the information and thus, the quote was removed.