Engaged Learning

The Show Must Go On

In year-end exhibits, students put their scholarship and creativity online

by Claire Jacobs ’21

Adapting to the new normal, undergraduate and graduate students found novel ways to present their year-end scholarly and creative work online, sharing it with the USF community all over the world.

CARD in the Cloud


Painting of a woman

At the first-ever online Creative Activity and Research Day (CARD) on May 1, students presented their research on topics ranging from the blubber mass of seals to COVID-19’s impact on higher education.

Bresh Merino ’21, a psychology major, shared the beginnings of a project focused on how to encourage unbiased judgments in the classroom. “Having to prepare an explanation for a webinar actually made me describe the project more concisely and clearly than I would have in person,” Merino said.

Ymari Stephens ’20, a philosophy major, saw CARD as a way to share her curiosity with the USF community and exchange insight with her peers and professors. Her research on nature and apathy is particularly relevant during shelter in place, she said, because “people are finding that getting outside is a luxury and they are appreciating time outside breathing the air.”

Psychology major Andrew McReynolds ’20 conducted a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education and found that students and faculty from all over the world sought better support in the transition to online learning.



Pen and ink drawing by student

Other students presented creative work as part of "Chrysalis: The 21st Thacher Art + Architecture Annual Exhibition," which opened May 1.  “Despite the fact that we were not all physically together, the online awards celebration assured me that no matter what the situation, our community is there for each other,” said art history and museum studies major Delaney Gibbons ’20.

Collette Golden ’20, a fine arts major, said she connects with the theme of the show. “Chrysalis is meaningful to me because I identify with undergoing an uncertainty to have a beautiful result.”

Design, Online

In "Please Don’t Touch: A Design and Fine Arts Show" that opened May 15, design major Julia Nolfo ’20 presented a thesis project, programmable_poetry, in which she comments on the often negative relationships people have with technology.

CARD booklet

“With programmable_poetry, I wanted to utilize a raw and human expression of emotion, poetry, to create an experience of transparency and understanding between human and machine. The program is designed to promote a positive and intimate relationship with technology through collaboration,” she said.

Carson Burns ’20, another design major, found motivation in the Please Don’t Touch thesis class despite the initial shock of no longer having an in-person community.

“Once I started working again, I actually found that working on my project was kind of a little escape from the reality of everything else happening,” she said. “I was able to slow down and really focus on something I enjoyed doing.”