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Ideafest 2006

By Julie Ooms

On Thursday, April 27, over forty Dordt students seized the opportunity to present some of the work they’ve done over the semester to an audience of students, faculty, and visitors. These student presenters come from a variety of departments and majors (theater, English, philosophy, foreign language, biology, mathematics, and political studies, to name a few) and presented anything from papers they’d written about a specific subject, to posters explaining research projects or concepts, to original skits and short films. The event is called Ideafest, a two-and-a-half-hour celebration of learning that Dordt has held for the past three years.

History Professor Paul Fessler is Ideafest’s organizer, and he has a distinct vision for the event.

“Ideafest encourages cross-disciplinary understanding,” Fessler says. “Students get to see what their peers are doing, as well as learn about what’s happening in disciplines other than their own.” Someone attending Ideafest had the opportunity to hear Nate Gibson’s paper about Dutch immigration to the United States before listening to Robert Kangas’s engineering presentation, titled “Programmable Logic.” Several theater students performed their own short scenes in the Humble Bean Coffeehouse while others read papers about the decline of reading in America or the psychological problems that might face left-handers.

Presenting students certainly benefit from their experience at Ideafest. “Ideafest encourages student research on the college level,” Fessler says, “and it’s a chance for students to see themselves and their peers not just as learners, but as scholars.” He hopes Dordt’s young scholars have walked away from Ideafest with new knowledge—not just of their subjects, but also of themselves and their peers.