IUPUI’s mission since the very beginning has been to advance the intellectual growth of its students through teaching, research, and civic engagement. While such a goal makes itself known through many of the day-to-day actions and activities of its staff and faculty, there is no better showing of this statement in action than the annual Engaged Learning Showcase. Happening just last Friday, the event displayed the depths of student excellence across a variety of academic disciplines all under one roof from 10 am – 2 pm.
Hosted on the top floor of the Campus Center, the event was ablaze with projectors and poster boards as far as the eye could see. Many projects, such as “Inhibition of Thrombin by Benzamidine Derivatives” and “Processing and Mechanical Characterization of Potato Starch-Based Plastic,” would require a dictionary if not for the student presenters proudly perched next to the manifestation of their hard work. While nevertheless impressive within their respective schools, other great projects spoke to the Office of Community Engagement’s dedication to extensions into the community at large.
Rebecca Abate’s project “The Impacts of Lack of Diversity in Engineering” shined a spotlight on the continual battles within the academic community. Citing that only 3.85% of all engineering degrees were awarded to Black graduates, Abate was able to ascertain that such underrepresentation created disparities within product design. Her work culminated in an exemplary case of soap dispensers being unable to recognize darker skin colors.
Addressing a larger issue in an out-of-the-box way, there was also the presentation of “Opioids: The Action & Reaction” by students of the School of Informatics and Computing New Media Arts and Science program. By creating a game based on opioid use, the team aimed to show the negative effects such substances can cause and how one might manage the effects. The team enlisted the help of Robert “Bob” Gold who specialized in drugs and adverse drug reactions to help spread proper information to combat the 500% increase in the number of opioid poisoning deaths the state of Indiana has faced over the past 20 years alone.
The culmination of this ceremonious melting pot of ideas came in the form of the awarding of the Plater Civic Engagement Medallion recipients which happened earlier this week. This honor is dedicated to those who have excelled in their commitment to volunteerism, social issue advocacy, and/or political engagement had 25 students walking away championing the spirit of the IUPUI community as a whole.