The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech combines three of its strengths in one event by hosting its first “Undergraduate Research Symposium on Diversity:  Improving Local and Global Communities Through Advancing Diversity.”

The all-day event, which will be held in the Torgersen Museum on Friday, May 3, highlights the college’s dedication to diversity, its flair for international initiatives, and its emphasis on undergraduate research.

The opening panel kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and features presentations from the college’s international undergraduate research group, including two exchange students from Morocco’s École de Gouvernance et d’Economie, Mohamed Berrada and Nada Heddane.

Jake Collick of Suffolk, Va., a senior political science major, has teamed up with Berrada and Heddane over the last two years on a joint research project that focuses on international terrorism. They will present independently on key political and social justice issues.

Four other student panels will tackle issues of inclusion in educational spaces; social and cultural impacts of religious practices; criminal justice and law issues; and four topics that “Contest Inequality in the Global Sphere."

“These presentations will set the stage where symposium attendees can have candid conversations about identity formation, equitable access to goods and services, and the deconstruction of privilege and social hierarchies as they pertain to diversity in the broadest sense,” said Ryan Rideau, director of undergraduate diversity initiatives in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Eighteen student participants represent a diversity of disciplines including the biological sciences, economics, and psychology in the College of Science; aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering; and communication, history, international studies, political sciences, religion and culture, sociology, and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

This symposium of student scholarship is open to family, friends, those affiliated with Virginia Tech, and the greater community.

This first-time event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ diversity committee; the dean’s advisory committee on international initiatives; and the Undergraduate Research Institute, which serves to familiarize undergraduate students with investigation, inquiry, and creative expression in the liberal arts and human sciences. The institute publishes Philologia, an annual research journal that is written and reviewed by students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.