Celebrating Excellence in Research: The 2019 Student Research Conference

28 June 2019, 3:27 pm

The 2019 Student Research Conference

Roughly 100 students, faculty, staff and well-wishers gathered to celebrate student excellence in research, community service and leadership during the 9th Annual Student Achievement Day, which was held on May 24, 2019 in the Roof Garden of the Massalias 22 building.

The ceremony combines two special events in the life of the University community. One is the Student Research Conference, a forum featuring student presentations of research papers and poster sessions. The other, which we have reported on in a separate news item, is the Award Ceremony, at which the recipients of this year’s Campus Compact of New Hampshire Presidents Awards were announced.

This year’s Conference featured presentations by students in the English and Applied Linguistics programs, as well as poster sessions by Information Technology and Engineering students.

The Conference opened with Christos Aktypis-Galanos, BAELL ’20, who presented his analysis of Donald Trump’s presidential inaugural speech. Using the tools of critical discourse analysis and the raw material provided by the speech, the speaker showed how Trump used specific discursive practices and linguistic strategies to construct a political identity. He demonstrated how the President’s use of certain words and images to frame his argument, his choice of metaphors, and frequent evocation of the inclusive ”we” served a strategy that enabled him to position himself on the side of ordinary Americans and in opposition to the political establishment.

The paper presented by Aphrodite Skordalou, MAAL ’19 investigated the extent to which instructors of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) perceive communicative speaking competency to be worth testing and whether their teaching methodology reflected this priority. Her investigation, which involved both survey data and classroom observation, revealed that while ESOL instructors perceived communicative competence as important they encountered difficulties when implementing it in their classroom assessment holistically.

Dionysios Rigopoulos, MAAL ’19, who was awarded the prize for Best Research Paper, discussed the ways in which the English version of Greek online press have framed the refugee crisis. His research drew upon the Appraisal Framework, a tool of systemic functional linguistics to analyze how language resources are used to evaluate behavior and express emotion. Using texts and visual material from English-language editorials and commentary in online media, the speaker showed how journalists attitudinally positioned themselves vis-à-vis their subject matter through their choice of lexis and use of intensifiers and quantifiers to convey positive or negative evaluative stances.

The Conference also featured poster sessions by the following students:

  • Alzahraa Muneer Sabri Al-Haddad,, BSE ’20
  • Denis Plaku, BSE ’21
  • Sofia-Michaela Triantfyllou, BSIT ’21
  • Apostolos Drakakis, BSIT ’21
  • Nida Abel Girma, BSIT ’20

For a list of all conference papers and the titles of the poster sessions, please consult the conference schedule (.pdf 234.16KB).

Image: The 2019 Student Research Conference

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