RU undergraduate research projects get Hollywood treatment at SCORE film festival
The Radford University research community rolled out the red carpet at the inaugural Scholarly Outreach and Research Engagement (SC.O.R.E.) Film Festival April 25.
"Knowledge, information and science can be fun and that came across today," said Jason Davis, assistant professor of biology and SCORE program director. "The ability to communicate these topics shows how deeply these students are into their work and their valuable ability to translate it to the public."
Sixteen three-minute videos rolled across the big screen on biology, chemisty, anthropology, art, nursing, geology and geophysics and health and human performance. Homegrown superheroes, giant roaches, California crabs, artists at work and the Juneau glacier fields were among the stars of the show. An authentic Radford bobcat captured on film while hunting at the Selu Conservancy by Will Dowd, a senior geospatial sciences major, closed the show.
Eleven of the filmmakers watched their films from the front row on the big screen and answered questions afterward from more than 100 students, faculty, family and friends.
"Doing the science, planning a film and then seeing my work on the screen was not as hard as listening to my own voice over and over as I edited," said Cassie Bonavita, a senior biology major whose film recapped her summer research initiative to capture mosquitos in Costa Rica and then analyze them for bacteria in Radford University's Arbovirus and Medical Entomology Lab.
Emily Guise, a senior biology major, talked about the importance of sharing research with the public, saying, "It is about finding something important about your life, and telling you about it."
Davis introduced the festival and the filmmaker/researchers, saying, "We are in an incredible age of scholarship, with new discoveries, experiences and learning being created every day. It is not enough to make discoveries, it is about sharing the discoveries in the discoverer's own voices and ways," he said. "These guys are creative, funny and super smart."
Another Radford University first, the inaugural Sigma Xi Science Café, preceded the screenings. Hosted by Assistant Professor of biology Sara O'Brien's BIO 460 Science and Society class, the Science Café featured a science trivia contest touching upon current scientific issues such as vaccinations, coral reef depletion, fishery health and the economic impact of the ecosystem.
The contest was won by the Ballin' BioBoyz, a team of biology students, captained by Kevin Flood, who said, "We had fun thinking about some of the things that are affecting the world we live in."
SC.O.R.E. assists undergraduate students from all academic disciplines in developing and producing multimedia products that showcase their original scholarship and research.
Sigma Xi is a 125-year-old international scientific organization of scientists and engineers, whose research spans the disciplines of science and technology. Today, Sigma Xi has nearly 60,000 members in more than 500 chapters in the United States, Canada and other countries, including Switzerland, Thailand, Lebanon, New Zealand and Australia. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been Sigma Xi members. RU's chapter began in 2014.