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Conference lets seniors reflect on passions

This year’s Theories in Action presentations focus on social justice, study abroad insights

Serving as an opportunity for graduating seniors to share experiences and studies across their four years at Brown, the sixth annual Theories in Action conference will take place in various locations around campus Sunday. The conference will offer students a chance to present their theses, research and capstone projects in a group setting to attendees from the Brown community and beyond, said Peggy Chang ’93 MA ’13, director of the Curricular Resource Center.

Over 60 seniors will participate in this year’s conference, some through themed roundtable discussions and others through individual presentations. Topics vary widely, though many are oriented around issues of social justice. 

“Theories in Action is a moment for seniors and for others to listen to what students are saying about a culminating experience for them,” Chang said.

This year’s organizers attempted to place emphasis on an “idea exchange,” Chang said. Rather than having solely one speaker talk on the panel, organizers will encourage audience members to voice their opinions and knowledge on the matters being discussed, she said.

Interested seniors applied using an online form, in which they described their projects and how they would benefit audiences, said Sophia Dalce ’15, a conference coordinator. Applicants also had to explain how they would uphold the conference’s mission.

Dalce said she hoped the applicants would report on activities outside of their academic fields, especially extracurriculars and projects.

Sophia Tsang ’15, a geology concentrator, said she decided to participate in Theories in Action because she wanted to share her study abroad experience with a more general audience. Tsang will present on the effects of changes in land use and earthquakes on Christchurch, New Zealand, where she studied abroad. “It’s a bit of a challenge to myself to see how well I can connect with a larger audience and explaining the geological phenomenon happening,” she said. 

Nora Aimee McDonnell ’15, a double concentrator in Africana studies and comparative literature, elected to participate in the conference after feeling inspired by last year’s event. She will share her thesis, entitled “Where Personal and Political Merge: Locating Women’s Prison Narratives in a Legacy of Female Slave Memoir,” as part of a roundtable discussion.

“I am looking forward to seeing the way in which the different presenters present and how the presentations will change the way we look at our own work,” McDonnell said.

Theories in Action will kick off Sunday with an opening reception featuring remarks by Maud Mandel, dean of the College, followed by an all-senior public art night in the Petteruti Lounge and the Leung Family Gallery. The conference will conclude with a celebratory dinner Tuesday at the Faculty Club.


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