November 3, 2016
Six Johnson State College students presented projects at the Northeast Regional Conference on Undergraduate Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity sponsored by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), Oct. 21-22. The event, hosted by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, celebrated the work and research of undergraduate students at COPLAC-member campuses.
JSC was one of eight colleges represented at the conference. Students Lily Johnson, Rachel Lemay, Joshua Lemay, Kali Covell, Forrest Mattern and Brady Rainville represented the college in the fields of art, behavioral sciences, creative writing and humanities. Students were selected to present their projects based on faculty recommendations.
Art major Lily Johnson presented her art exhibition “Calle Cuba,” a collage of photos from her trip to Cuba in spring 2016. During her trip, she collected photos using three disposable cameras. She then cut each photo by hand with an X-acto knife and combined them with magazine clippings. Johnson said that while memories often fade, her photos and collage help her re-visualize her experiences on the transformative trip.
Art major Rachel Lemay presented “A Game of Thrones Alphabet: Death Edition,” an alphabet book she created that is based on “Game of Thrones” characters. Her book includes 26 pen-and-ink drawings, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each letter includes a different character from the book who dies, and a rhyming scheme is employed throughout.
Creative writing major Joshua Lemay presented “Remnants,” a science-fiction short story that follows the lives of two automated farmhands named Amy and Megan. The story takes place after humanity has vanished and a gray planet covered in ash is left almost uninhabited. Lemay focused on the quality, sound and rhythm of each sentence as he wrote the story.
Media arts majors Kali Covell and Forrest Mattern presented “Orange You Glad,” a short video they created and edited within two days for the recent “48-Hour Film Slam” competition sponsored by CATV and White River Indie Films. The video takes the old knock knock-joke and spins it with love and time travel. It won the Audience Choice Prize and the Best Film Prize. More information about the duo’s work, and a link to the video, is available here.
Psychology major Brady Rainville presented research findings on how the use of strollers vs. backpacks affects infant development. Brady has assisted Dr. Gina Mireault in her research on infant development during his time at JSC. Their most recent project has parents take a six-minute walk with their infants (7-11 months) using both a backpack and a stroller. Participants wear GoPro cameras on their heads to measure shared visual field and record differences in parent and infant behavior between the two modes of transport.
“It was a great experience for our students, especially for those who had never presented their work before,” said JSC Academic Dean Sharon Twigg. “They found it very rewarding to be part of a community of scholars and artists — to share their experiences and learn from each other.” Twigg accompanied the students to the conference.
This is the first COPLAC conference JSC students have attended since JSC was accepted as the organization’s most recent member last spring. Established in 1987 and based in North Carolina, COPLAC now comprises 30 colleges and universities in 28 states and one Canadian province. Its mission is to support member institutions and raise awareness of the value of high-quality, public liberal arts education in a student-centered, residential environment.