The college experience often consists of many things: fun times shared with friends, tons of coffee, classes that start entirely too early and, of course, plenty of research. While the thought of research may send many students into a stress-induced panic, Millersville consistently finds ways to make research and learning more fun and applicable to one’s future. One of the most blatant examples of this is Made in Millersville, an annual event that showcases a creative variety of research projects Millersville students have done.
“It’s really the best place to see what your peers are doing,” said Katie Stewart, Adjunct Research Librarian at Millersville University. “We have performances, singing, engineers showing off what they have made… There are no restrictions on the kinds of things that are showcased; it would appeal to anyone.”
Made in Millersville will be held Thursday, April 21 in McNairy Library. Project proposals are due Friday, Feb. 12 at 11 p.m..
The event will feature prizes, raffles and snacks. But, more than that, it will feature valuable experiences for students. “It’s good for freshman if you don’t know what you want to work with,” said Elizabeth Nelson, Adjunct Research Librarian. “It’s also a good chance to network and to find people in your area, especially if you’re close to graduating.”
Nelson and Stewart are on the Made in Millersville committee; this is Stewart’s third year and Nelson’s first. “There were so many different things that could be done with this… I couldn’t not get involved,” Nelson said.
The event attracts more and more people every year, with the 2015 Made in Millersville conference attracting enough people to fill the entirety of the first floor of McNairy Library; however, there could always be more involvement. “This year is going to be even bigger. It’s open to the public. We tell departments to invite companies… We try to get potential employers and people from the community to come,” Stewart said. “I feel like if people knew what it was, more students would come.”
Both Nelson and Stewart addressed the opportunity that comes from an event of this capacity. “I think opportunity is the key word. An opportunity to practice presentation skills… connect with other people. It’s an event that includes every discipline and connects students and teachers that wouldn’t usually interact… Learning for the sake of learning, not just for a grade,” Stewart said.
“It gives students an opportunity to do something with their work outside of classroom assignments… to have some sort of practical experience with what they’re doing,” Nelson said. “…A chance to feel and be more like a researcher, not just a student researcher.”
The Volkswagen Electric Bus will be featured at Made in Millersville, as well as an undetermined-as-of-yet Keynote speaker. There will also be a Scholar’s Cup, which awards $3,000 to the school or department that yields the most presenters. Prizes will be given to presenters and attendees alike.
“It’s so easy to abstract the idea of research, and it becomes very bland,” Nelson said. “It has no dimension. Actually getting to see the things students are doing with their time is really exciting.”
For more information about Made in Millersville, contact René Muñoz, Director of Sponsored Programs and Research Administrations, at (717)871-4457, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Made in Millersville also has a blog with more information: blogs.millersville.edu/madeinmu .