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Confluence – Where Work and Critical Thinking Meet

On March 11, 2016, the Community College of Aurora hosted its first Confluence, a Student Academic Conference of the School of Liberal Arts.

Leading up to the Conference, faculty members from the School of Liberal Arts submitted the best student work from the 2015 spring, summer, and fall semesters. A panel of faculty members then judged the submissions for final inclusion for the conference. The work submitted determined the themes of the concurrent sessions. Both current and former CCA students then gave presentations that covered a wide range of topics from societal problems, sexuality and historical perspectives, to philosophy and the gaming culture.

Dr. Geoff Hunt, History Faculty in the Social Sciences Department, said the Confluence’s goals were twofold: “to showcase the very best student work of the past year, and to engage students in an actual academic conference as they advance in their academic careers.”

Crist Whitney’s presentation, “Thomas Jefferson: A Presidential Narrative” focused on the former president’s tenure and his impact on the country. Whitney is a writer who loves history and hopes to become a history professor; his presentation was one of two he gave during Confluence. Other students gave presentations on a personal level like Nikki McConnell (pictured above), who presented a paper titled “The Analysis of Gender: Self Exploration Project” about gender roles in the military. She was able to express discrepancies in gender expectations while talking about her own experiences in the military.

Casey Hodges, a former CCA student invited by his former faculty member Vicki Graham, presented his position on aquatic conservation as he told the story about Snuffy the Seal and the issue of aquatic endangered species.

“This was an awesome day,” Hodges said. “The Confluence gets people engaged. There’s a hundred other things students could be doing on a Friday. To show up and listen is a growing experience, but you get so much out of these presentations.”

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