First GV Chalk Art Symposium Brings Research to the Streets – Grand Valley Lanthorn


Grand Valley State University Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS) held its first annual chalk art symposium which showcased student research through chalk art writing and images.

At the event, each participating student presented their research using chalk art to share their work and progress with the rest of campus in a creative and unique way.

OURS provides advice, programs, and grants that support faculty-led undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative work. Additionally, they connect with faculty researchers to brainstorm possible research topics.

OURS wanted to give students who have participated in research projects the opportunity to share their findings visually and expose the student body to new opportunities to engage.

“We were looking for creative, non-traditional ways to engage the broader GVSU community in research and scholarship,” said Director and Center for Undergraduate Academic Engagement Dr. Susan Mendoza.

OURS’ inspiration for this idea came from a similar approach to University of Colorado-Boulder. Since 2017, CU Boulder has hosted its own “Sidewalk Symposium” through its Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) where students can create visual presentations of their work with the assistance of a professional artist .

Likewise, Emily Miller, a teacher, artist, and GVSU alumnus, has worked with students, faculty, and research teams to translate research from traditional posters and sidewalk talks.

“We were thrilled to bring Emily to the event because she loved the idea of ​​connecting research to visual arts,” Mendoza said.

Miller began exploring chalk art in 2020 and worked to create drawings, quotes, and puns to lift his neighbor’s spirits during a difficult time. Someone even left her a box of chalk on her porch so she could continue her work.

“Some of my designs I started drawing in college,” Miller said. “My style is inspired by some Vera Bradley designs and now it’s become my style.”

Miller serves on the GVSU Alumni Council and is active in the GVSU community. She also participates in chalk art competitions in the West Michigan area, such as the West Michigan Chalk Art Festival, Zeeland Chalk Fest, and Grand Rapids Chalk it Up.

The Chalk Art Symposium is one of many programs organized by OURS throughout the year. The Undergraduate Research Fair is scheduled to take place on October 4 from 5-7 p.m. The event will take place in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center on the GVSU Allendale campus.

“This is our biggest event of the semester and the goal is to connect students to all opportunities for research and creative practice, including meeting professors, learning about job opportunities and grants and connect with other programs on campus,” Mendoza said.

OURS aims to help students achieve their academic goals and explore their chosen fields more deeply. More information about programs, events, and how to start research can be found on their website.


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