Annual BEAR Day and Engineering Expo to Showcase Student Scholarship Across Mercer’s Schools and Colleges


MACON – Mercer University will hold its sixth annual Breakthroughs in Engagement, Arts and Research (BEAR) Day and 15th annual Engineering Expo April 7-8 to showcase outstanding student research and special projects from the College of Liberal Arts, Stetson School of Business and Economics, Townsend School of Music and School of Engineering.

The festivities begin with poster presentations throughout Heritage Hall in the University Center on Thursday, April 7, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

This year's BEAR Day keynote speaker is Dr. Mark VanLandingham, Thomas C. Keller Professor in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. 

Dr. VanLandingham received his Bachelor of Arts from Mercer and went on to obtain a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

His current research interests include investigating the social antecedents and consequences of the AIDS epidemic in Thailand, rural-to-urban migration in Southeast Asia, the health of Vietnamese immigrants and the social and health consequences of Hurricane Katrina for New Orleans residents. He has received major funding for his work from the National Institutes of Health, Russell Sage Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Mellon Foundation. 

His keynote address will take place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room inside the University Center.

BEAR Day poster and paper presentations and art exhibitions continue throughout Friday, April 8, in locations across campus, including the University Center, Knight, Stetson and Hardman halls, and McCorkle Music Building.

The Townsend School of Music's brass choir will perform on the patio from 10-11 a.m., and poster presentations will be on display in the corridor from 1-3 p.m.

The Art Department's annual student awards ceremony will take place from 2-3 p.m. in Hardman Gallery, and the University Honors Convocation will follow from 4-5 p.m. in Willingham Auditorium.

The senior art show and reception at the 567 Center for Renewal in downtown Macon and the release party for Mercer's literary and arts review The Dulcimer in the Religious Life Center, both of which begin at 6 p.m., round out the schedule of events.

“BEAR Day demonstrates and honors the achievements of students and highlights the depth and breadth of the academic experiences at Mercer,” said Dr. Wayne Glasgow, senior vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies. “I trust that BEAR Day will spark intellectual curiosity and inspire further scholarly pursuits.”

The Engineering Expo will take place on Friday, April 8, in the School of Engineering building. The annual freshman design competition will be held from 9-10:50 a.m., followed by a presentation by Dr. Samantha Riley, director of the Mercer Innovation Center, from 11-11:50 a.m. regarding opportunities to develop new local businesses. Poster sessions and presentations will be offered from 1:15-3 p.m. featuring design projects and research activities.

“The Engineering Expo is a showcase where our students share their research and design activities over the last year,” said Dr. Wade H. Shaw, dean and Kaolin Chair of Engineering. “The School of Engineering is proud to share the work of seniors completing their capstone projects, honors student projects, master's thesis projects and the design competition that our freshmen use to test vehicles that they have built. Each year we celebrate our students' mastery of creative design and share their success with the community.”

More than 150 students will offer more than 100 poster and paper presentations during BEAR Day, while some 90 freshmen, 70 seniors and graduate students, and 65 honors students will participate in the Engineering Expo.