Symposium — a student-run science and mathematics academic journal filled with research, studies and projects conducted by Cal Poly students — has plans to become much more.
The birth of Symposium
The journal released its inaugural issue last year when its first editor-in-chief, then-biology senior Lauren Young, founded Symposium as her senior project.
“It is a professional academic journal that students manage, edit and review where the articles inside share an inside look on the research endeavors of Cal Poly students,” Symposium managing editor and microbiology senior Nasim Delavari said.
Delavari most appreciated that the journal promoted an intellectually stimulating environment.
“It allows students to read about how their classmates featured in the journal are taking full advantage of their undergraduate education by exercising their curiosities through research projects and, as a result, it allows its readers to think critically and perhaps spark inspiration,” Delavari said.
Managing editor and kinesiology sophomore Jenna Vacca said Symposium is an academic journal for students, by students.
“It connects like-minded students and faculty by sharing research while promoting a sense of pride for their college,” Vacca said.
The content is usually written by seniors and graduate students, though Symposium’s review staff is open to work done by all Cal Poly students.
“It’s usually seniors who are doing their senior projects,” Symposium editor-in-chief and electrical engineering junior Wilson Shao said. “We do target graduate students, but if you’re a junior and you have some experience doing a specific project with a professor, something that’s very well-documented and detailed, you can submit it to us and we’ll publish it.”
Evolving into something more
Symposium hopes to gather more content for its second edition set to come out May 2015.
“Last year, all of our content was basically bio with some psychology and physics,” Shao said. “But we’re trying to broaden our range so we include everything from College of Science and Mathematics, and it can include business, too, like statistics and economics to accounting. So we’re trying to include every major out there so that students have a chance to see their work be published.”
Before any work is published in Symposium, however, it is meticulously reviewed by an executive team and checked for error by a review team of students, professors and copy editors.
Symposium is also working to collect funds to make its second print publication more accessible.
“Last year, since we didn’t have any funds, we only printed out as many as people ordered them,” Shao said. “But this year we’re trying to get a fund, so we’ll hopefully be getting $1,000 and then we can publish a lot more.”
As of now, print copies of Symposium are only available upon purchase, though copies can be checked out at the Robert E. Kennedy Library.
“We’re still deciding, but we do want it to be free for students to pick it up and read what other students are doing,” Shao said. “But we’re still trying to get more funds, and each copy is expensive to print. Eventually it will be free, but for now it will cost a bit of money.”
Symposium is also available online, where Shao said it receives most of its readership.
Shao hopes to publish the journal bi-annually once adequate funds are available and a steady stream of content begins to flow.
“Symposium is a great place for students to see their work published and be acknowledged for their hard work,” Shao said.