Tag: Events

Student Research Symposium puts spotlight on students


Alexander Cooper, Staff Writer

Jacksonville State University held its student research symposium on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library this week. The seminar lasted from Monday, February 14th to Thursday, February 16. Students presented throughout the day with and featured presentations on various research topics at regular intervals.

The seminar has been going on Jacksonville State since 1995, and it is meant to serve as a platform for students from all departments, both at an undergraduate and graduate level, to give presentations on topics which they are passionate about or have put time into.

The inclusion of different departments at the presentations means that the topics cover anything from music and literature to biology and math.

Wednesday’s presentations kicked off with a study on the life and death of the Biblical figure Joab and progressed into students talking about topics that included the Apocryphal book of Enoch and modern flute techniques.

“[The symposium] started out mostly just in the sciences,” said Dr. Jan Case , who has been the director of the symposium for over ten years, “students who had done some work outside of class would just present to the department or whoever was interested, but over the years it has expanded to include first Arts and Sciences, and with the recent reorganization of schools we’ve decided to open it to the whole university. This is the first year that it has been open to everyone.”

The presentations typically started out as unique or outstanding class projects but now include more out of class research.

Joshua Duckworth, who gave the presentation on the book of Enoch, says that his presentation was born out of his independent study on the Apocrypha as a whole.

“It helps to have a goal,” Duckworth mentioned, and he said he thought of his presentation as one good way to stay motivated.

“It’s nice once you’ve done all that work to be able to share it,” Case added.

While Case is the director of the symposium, she is also part of a committee that meets twice a year to help plan and tweak each year’s event.

“It’s really a group effort,” Case said when talking about what it takes to make the event happen. “I’m in charge, but a lot of other people are doing work to make it all come together.”

The symposium is open to the public as well JSU students and faculty.

“I think it builds community,” said Case. “This kind of gives me a chance to see the connections that are made between different fields.”

With the potential for a diverse array of topics being represented the symposium offers a very eclectic survey of some of the research being done by JSU students.

“It’s always my favorite couple of days out of the year because I have learned so much stuff!” said Case. “It’s so nice to see the work that is being done by our students.”

Filmmaker makes a “killing” with cold case documentary

(Image courtesy of A&E)

Brittany Robertson, Staff Writer

Hunting down leads to discover history’s most notorious serial killers sounds like something out of a horror novel, but two brave filmmakers dared to go into the belly of the beast for the sake of justice.

“The Killing Season” filmmaker Rachel Mills visited Jacksonville State University on Monday, February 13. The event took place on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library. Joseph Morgan, Distinguished Scholar for the Department of Criminal Justice, spoke to the large audience.

“There was a very high interest for [Mills]. She has talked with film students this morning and is now engaging with Criminal Justice majors here,” Morgan said.

(A&E) Rachel Mills (right) and Joshua Zeman worked together to create “The Killing Season”

“The Killing Season” debuted on A&E in November of 2016. The documentary series follows the unsolved cases of serial killers whose prime target were sex workers. Mills and her partner Joshua Zeman worked together with law enforcement and the families of the women to try and make connections.

Neither Mills nor Zeman have criminal justice backgrounds. Mills is a film expert, and Zeman was a journalism major.

“When we started making this documentary, originally, it was to follow the story and see what the process of it all was,” Mills said. “Towards the end of the series, it became obvious that our communication system between agencies is messy. With the fact that remains have traveled from one state to another, agencies try to draw lines on whose case it is and that’s the big issue right there.”

During the event, the audience was able to view an episode that Mills and Zeman shot during their series. The episode showcased a meeting between Mills and Zeman with a man who communicates with convicted serial killers who are in prison. While the shot of the man’s house was like something from “The Shining,” Mills was okay.

“Being in the basement, I was fine. It looked really strange, being surrounded by the clippings from newspapers and the mountains of letters but I felt fine knowing that at least Josh and the camera guy were there too,” Mills said.

There was a question and answer session held after Mills’ presentation where Mills talked about what she experienced and how they filmed the show itself. Mills stressed how hard it was to film the nit and grit of it all while trying to not sensationalize the story they were telling.

“We talked with the families of the victims and, I think, that was the hardest part,” Mills said. “The series doesn’t have a happy ending, it’s not wrapped up with a bow at the end, and that’s what makes it different from others.”

Morgan spoke about how having Mills speak to students was a great oppurtunity for the JSU family.

“It opens the world for them,” Morgan said. “As professors, our job is to teach the students the skills they will need, but it’s when [the students] become engaged at events like these and actually meet someone in that field that [students] get to see how they can make their mark on the world. It is by bringing such diversity in that students gain invaluable knowledge.”