Mini-University Sessions

Get a feel for the acadmic environment at Willamette by attending a mini-uniersity session led by faulty or students. 

Saturday October 13

Mini-University Sessions 1
Deep Time Natural History at Willamette, Ford 122
How many species of birds, bees, flowers, and trees live on campus? How many are free living and wild versus exotic and ornamental.  What is the Nature of Willamette University? In this class session we’ll go back into the evolutionary and ecological past to consider how deep time has shaped the biodiversity we see everyday.  We’ll elevate some of the indigenous knowledge that preceded the colonization of campus and note how generations of students, faculty, and staff have changed this spot since 1842. If the weather favor us it is certain part of class will include a short walk outside.
-David Craig, Professor of Biology
Math University Session, Smullin 129

Graph pebbling is a fun collection of puzzles and an active field of mathematical research.  In this session we'll play some versions of the graph pebbling game and discover some pebbling theorems recently published by Willamette students.

-Josh Laison, Professor of Mathematics

The Examination of the “Other:” An Insight Into The Asian Pacific Islander Experience in the Prison Industrial Complex, Eaton 209

In the official report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the incarcerated population is broken down into four major groupings: Black, White, Hispanic, and Other. This vague category of “other” is an amalgamation of over 6 distinct races: American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Native, or anyone who identifies as two or more races. This category is filled with diversity and unfairly homogenizes a fraction of the population incarcerated. Due to their portrayal as one monolithic race and their small numbers, there has been little research done surrounding their incarceration because it is assumed to be too insignificant to research. As a result of the lack of data and the overall societal neglect of the “others”, there is a lack of knowledge about this category of people especially the Asian Pacific Islander (API) population. This project aims to address the disparities of knowledge present within political science with regards to the API group. The analysis of ethnographic interviews, that were conducted with incarcerated persons who belong to a cultural club inside a prison in Oregon in conjunction with the analysis of certain sociological constructions with regards to the API community as a whole, allowed me to further shed light on the incarcerated persons’ experiences and how the creation of a club helps them to surpass barriers in the formation of a community and retention of their cultures.

-Michelle Hicks, Class of 2020. 

Mini-University Sessions 2
Facing Fame: Renaissance Praises for Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo., Ford 122

This lecture will examine the early biographies dedicated to these three artists, focusing on the emergence of a critical vocabulary that could effectively stress the novelty of their creations.

-Ricardo De Mambro Santos

The Big Bang and Beyond: Making Sense of the Universe, Eaton 209
Ever wonder what’s out there? This session will start with a tour of the universe and a discussion of how cosmologists get their heads around it. We’ll then turn our attention to understanding how the universe evolves in time and what it means that the universe began in a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Finally, we’ll discuss some recent discoveries that give us confidence that the Big Bang theory is correct while also presenting us with new mysteries.

-Richard Watkins, Professor of Physics

Mini-University Sessions 3
Student Research Presentation: Un-ruined: How ISIS Sought to Destroy & How Yazidi Survivors Are Fighting Back, Eaton 209

In August of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIL/ISIS) enacted their plan to decimate the Yazidi ethnic minority population in the Sinjar region of Northern Iraq. Almost three years after the invasion that sparked the beginning of this ongoing genocide, the United Nations Security Council voted to pass Resolution 2379, which established an independent investigative team whose sole purpose was to search for and collect evidence relating to these crimes. Through my research, I examine critiques of the institutions at play, and I seek to understand the mechanisms that made this resolution possible, as well as those that hindered, and may continue to hinder, its ultimate success.

-Abrian Sabo, Class of 2019

175 Years of Birds, Bees, Flowers & Trees at Willamette, Ford 122

How wild and exotic is the nature of Willamette University? In this class session we’ll go back in time and consider what we can learn from the oldest trees on campus. We’ll look at global maps and learn how local migratory birds connect us to both the high Arctic and deep tropics of the Equator.  We’ll learn about some of the extraordinary diversity of flowers on campus and the types of bees and other critters that visit them.  We’ll learn how our campus has changed in the last 175 years and imagine what it might be like another 25.

-David Craig, Professor of Biology